There has been an increasing importance of student voice in higher education due to the recent change in the National Student Survey (NSS). In 2017, there was a substantial change in the NSS questions as they added a new section regarding Student Voice. This is the first time in UK University history where universities are publicly measured how students feel they are heard and institutions respond to them.
The Psychology Department at University at Roehampton introduced Unitu in 2015 in order to improve the student experience. Qusai, a Psychology Course Representative back then, shared his experience of using Unitu as a rep. Reps are typically nominated by their peers to collate to student feedback and bring them to departmental meetings to help stall to improve the learning experience of current and future students.
Qusai talked about three ways Unitu has impacted the student experience for him and his peers.
What barriers has Unitu helped overcome for students and student representatives?
Distance and time became less of an issue as students and their representatives were able to answer urgent questions no matter where they were and anytime they needed to.
What big successes has Unitu had (e.g. impact made, enabled successful idea sharing, campaigning etc)?
Students became more engaged in classes and in the university overall and they became less confused about their school work, which means it helped raise students’ grades and smoothen the overall experience during their first academic year.
“Unitu has proven itself as the place you go to get your problems fixed and your questions answered.”
How has Unitu worked in bringing together staff, students, reps and students with their peers?
Throughout the year Unitu has proven itself as the place you go to get your problems fixed and your questions answered. As students ask questions, programme reps try their best to answer them by searching the topic, or by asking other people, this sometimes can force them to establish new relations and connections with other students and staff. At the same time, a member of staff gets to observe this process that engages students together. As a result, students get their questions answered, programme reps get rich important knowledge and connections, staff get to observe how their students are working together and at the end everyone benefits from this process.
Qusai, his peers and staff together created positive changes in their course through engaging on Unitu, an online platform, regardless of location and time as well as strengthening the sense of community.
What are the management strategies of student voice in your department? Do students have the right opportunities to raise their voice? If you’re interested in learning how other universities are engaging with the student voice through Unitu, read more more case studies here.”