What do we want? Student feedback please!

9 May

It’s only been two and a half months since the official start of the JISC Pedestal for Progression Project and already there’s been lots of meetings and a great deal of interest from around campus.  We’ve had meetings with; interested academics from the Department of Electronic & Electrical Engineering and the Department of Politics, History and International Relations; the Pro-Vice Chancellor for Teaching, the Registrar and members of the Registry team, the Head of Internet Systems & Services and the Head of Student Information Systems in IT Services; the Teaching Quality Enhancement Officer from the Teaching Centre; and the Vice President of Education from the Student Union.

We’ve done a great deal of promotion to colleagues but now is the time to get hold of our finalists before they finish their Loughborough journey and disappear off into their future careers.   It’s been positive to see, during the recent meetings with colleagues, that the topic of student feedback is high on the priority list for the institution.  Our Student Union is very proactive, and  Alice Swinscoe the VP for Education has been working in conjunction with the Institution in reviewing the system of programme and departmental student representatives and looking into news ways of not only getting feedback from students but also acting upon it and communicating this back to the student body.  Alice and our Pro-Vice Chancellor, Prof Morag Bell, is extremely interested in the service design approach to gather and react to student feedback, so are keenly involved in the project.

My colleague and I recently attended a training session on Service Design delivered by Lauren Currie from Snook (held during the two-day JISC Relationship Management Programme meeting in Nottingham).  We’ve been inspired to obtain a variety of opinions and experiences from ‘a diagonal slice’ of the organisation in order to gain a more rounded picture the life of a final year student.  We’re particularly interested in two things:  the quality of the relationships they have with all members of staff and their skills, knowledge and experiences gained that will help them to progress to the next stage in their life – whether further study or employment.  We want to hear the positive as well as the negative but overwhelmingly we want an answer to, “How can we make it better?”

The first stage of this data gathering exercise will take place in the next few weeks when we will be holding two open sessions for finalists for students in Civil & Building Engineering and Electronic & Electrical Engineering.  I’ll be interested to see how effective these traditional focus groups will be e.g. turn up for a free cuppa and tell me views’ for an hour.   Stage two might require more guerilla style methods in the Library or the Union with a vox pops style perhaps?  Watch this space!

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