November 27, 2014, by Zoë Goodwin

Student Engagement within Project Transform

Post written by Charlotte Owen.

My role within Project Transform is Student Delivery Assurance Manager. I am responsible for gathering student input to the project, engaging students in discussions about their perspectives of their university experience and feeding this information into the project.

So far I have been working closely with the Project Specialists to find out the areas that are within the scope of Project Transform so that we can get student feedback for these relevant areas. I am thoroughly enjoying my role, especially how much contact I have been having with students. My work so far has involved (in no particular order):

–      Carrying out a survey on all campuses during ‘Week One’ to ask students about their experience of communicating with the University before they arrived

–      Reviewing existing survey data e.g. SU data, NSS, barometer

–      Running focus groups with hall tutors

–      Speaking one to one with PhD students, including students on Doctoral Training Programmes

–      Attending student events to speak with students on an informal basis e.g. the mature students ‘Coffee and Cake’ event

–      Getting in touch with LCF members and attending LCF forums

–      Helping to organise our Nottingham Advantage Award- we have 13 students enrolled who will be carrying out focused work into how we can improve various areas. This will provide them with the opportunity to develop skills in research, peer engagement and presentation skills

–      Meeting with members of staff who work in student facing roles to hear about their perspective of the student experience based on the student enquiries they receive

–      Meeting with members of the SU to share ideas about improvements that could be made

–      Attending an external student engagement conference at the University of Lincoln

–      Attending the University of Nottingham ‘Students in the Academic Community’ conference

–      Sending out emails to distance learners to ask them questions about their experience (just this morning I had a reply to my email from a student who lives in a small village in Japan and accesses our education)

–      Working with a colleague to design a focus group delivered to students at UNNC and UNMC

–      Creating a group of UNNC and UNMC ‘Student Specialists’, these students will be carrying out research into different areas of the university experience, they will be analysing this feedback and presenting it back to us so that we incorporate it into our work

–      Planning my trip to UNNC and UNMC (early December) where I will carry out several focus groups, meet with student facing staff and spend time with students on campus

–      Setting up the ‘Sharing Student Insights Group’. The purpose of this staff group will be to share best practice about getting student feedback and working in partnership with students. I hope that in future we will be able to work together to collect data and share findings

–      Contacting particular students who have already come up with some innovative ideas for improving their university experience. I have had meetings with a student who has created a proposal for a timetable app and a student who is developing an online module enrolment tool within their school. I hope to continue to work in partnership with students who have ideas like this and offer them opportunities to pursue these projects and interests further

It is very important to us to make sure that students see the positive effects of their ideas and suggestions. We are working on a communication plan to ensure that this happens effectively.

This is only the start of our student engagement activity which will continue throughout the length of the project and play a key role in shaping every development that we make. I will continue to strive to use a variety of methods to engage students and get their feedback, as well as ensuring that we are talking to a wide variety of students so that the student view is representative.

I’d love to meet you whether you are a member of staff who is interested in the work, or whether you are a student who would like to share some feedback or get involved in helping us to shape developments.

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