This event was a timely opportunity for the sector to come together to review the impact of the pandemic on student engagement and to discuss how we can be better at closing the feedback loop.
Capturing student voices and closing the feedback loop has never been more important.
The impact of the pandemic has made it clear that students want to feel heard. They want their voice to be valued, and they want to see how their feedback is being used to improve their own academic experience.
In preparation for the next academic year, institutions need to use the student voice to help inform the quality of provision. How the student voice is captured and how effectively the feedback loop is closed during the next academic year will be critical.
Through this webinar the sector had the opportunity to come together to review where we’ve been and to discuss how we can be better at closing the feedback loop.
The attendees got to hear from an excellent panel of SU Presidents, and HE professionals speaking passionately about this topic and gearing up to this challenge.
Don’t miss out on any valuable insights, you can get the free recordings here.
Decision making within Higher Education over the past year has had little choice but to pick up the pace. Delivery transformed, expectations shifted and student experience changed overnight. When decisions have been made quickly, an evaluation of the change is critical. The student voice is a powerful tool in this, and when engaged effectively it enables continued refinement to what may have originally been, responsive decisions.
As the sector finds itself faced with challenges, it is engagement with our students that will help us find where the opportunities may be to enhance and transform. Evidence of an active feedback loop can have real impact on keeping the student voice engaged. This coupled with varied methods of engagement, appropriate student segmentation and a willingness to have real time conversations, can see student voice actively inform and influence the direction of Higher Education. This talk explored the approach to Student Voice at Cranfield University, and how delivery through a pandemic has changed the institutional framework of engagement.
Megan Ball is a two-term President at Winchester Student Union, representing approximately 8,000 students at the University of Winchester. In her role, she directly oversees demographic student representation, democracy, community relationships, equality & diversity, and housing.
Megan spoke about generational differences in views on feedback, and how we can better involve and engage students during the process. It included ideas around students’ understanding of the purpose and importance of feeding back their views, as well as their expectations on how feedback may be acted upon and closing the feedback loop.
Dr. Libby Farrier-Williams is a Senior Lecturer in Marketing and Lead of Student Experience at St Mary’s University.
She discussed the importance of higher education stepping towards value co-creation strategies. This is key for understanding the student voice. Libby completed a Ph.D. that explored how students are co-creating value through their engagement and the role actors play in the university ecosystem. This talk emphasized how institutions should go further than listening to feedback, instead of providing opportunities to co-create offerings through partnership.
Liz Austen is Head of Evaluation and Research (Student Experience, Teaching and Learning) at Sheffield Hallam University. Previously a Lecturer in Criminology, her role now includes externally funded research within higher education and institutional research and evaluation focused on improving student experiences. In her work, Liz critiques the ethical parameters of approaches which amplify student voices and advocates for the use of creative and innovative methodologies.
This presentation discussed some of the opportunities and challenges of listening to and acting on student voices. Initially, a typology of institutional research and evaluation (Austen 2020) was presented to acknowledge the varied methods adopted within institutions to amplify student voices. The discussion then focused on a small number of examples to highlight the methodological, ethical and practical considerations for closing the ‘voice-evidence-action’ loop in contemporary higher education.
For decades surveys have been the primary instrument for collecting feedback, yet they are so limited in their ability to close the loop. Anish and Leslie discussed how new technology focused on collecting and closing the feedback loop, such as Unitu, has enabled so many institutions to amplify the student voice. Through the past five years of Unitu and Swansea University working together, they have observed how-to and how not to use technology to close the feedback loop.
In this value-packed keynote, Anish and Sophie presented Unitu’s and Swansea’s experience using Unitu. They will look at a model in which institutions can use technology to establish an effective feedback loop that increases student satisfaction and engagement.
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Unitu helps universities to improve the student experience by effectively engaging with the student voice in real time.