Student Experience Blog

Supporting staff involved with Student Surveys 

Posted by Rob Stroud | 0 comments

The University is about to launch the annual institution wide surveys for students (National Student Survey for final year undergraduates, and the Student Experience Survey for other taught students).  The surveys provide students with a valuable opportunity to provide feedback across the institution in a consistent manner.

At UWE we know that the best way of encouraging engagement with these surveys is through supporting staff in having a good understanding of the important elements of the surveys, enabling them to communicate effectively with their students.  

For 2011/2012, we have revised a significant amount of the supporting data and information that underpins the student surveys.  The results from the 2011 surveys were redesigned in order to provide a clear, yet simple view of the results both across the university, in particular subjects areas, and on individual programmes.  For the forthcoming round of surveys, we’ve already simplified the information on what students are to be included – reducing it to the key facts that colleagues have told us are important to them.  We’ll continue to do the same with the reports on response rates once the surveys go live.

For the first time ever, we are holding a general briefing session for any staff (faculty or professional service based) to come and receive an overview of the important points about the survey period.  This will be of interest to staff that are going to be actively involved with promoting the survey to students, but also those who want to have an understanding as to how the process works.  The sessions will be held on Frenchay on Wednesday 25th January at 2pm.  Places are still available, and can be booked through this link:

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Starting to take action 

Posted by Rob Stroud | 0 comments

This blog post was inspired by two things.  Firstly I spotted a student the other day musing on Twitter whether or not the University was actually open at the moment... Secondly the excellent work my colleagues over in UWESU are doing in updating people (again through Twitter) on what they are doing on a day to day basis over the summer in connection with student representation making me conscious that this blog has been a little neglected of late.  So here is a hopefully succinct update on what we’re doing over the summer, where we are most definitely here and hard at work!

When I last wrote, we had just started sifting through the data from the 2011 Student Experience Survey.  That process is now complete, and there are some really positive signs in the results.  Year on year, almost all of the themes of the survey (e.g. Teaching, Facilities) show an improvement from the 2010 results.  Particularly encouraging are the score around Assessment and Feedback, and also the extent to which students feel they can provide feedback to us on their course – in both of these areas some questions have seen double digit percentage increases.  Lots of other questions have seen rises by a few percentage points or so. Importantly this year, a higher percentage of students would recommend the University to others, and also a higher percentage said they were satisfied with their course overall.

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We also know from the data there is still more to do on those themes however, as while we are clearly improving there is still a notable proportion of students who feel we could do more, and that we need to be more consistent across the University.  We need to think about how we roll out improvements – higher scores are always welcome, though we need to remember that we also need to make sure that what we offer is something that is sustainable; we need to be able to offer a high standard of provision without disproportionate drains on our resources.  The results of the survey give us particular areas of focus such as Personal Development and the Graduate Development Programme.   These are clearly important to students and there were a number of ideas suggested in the about how we improve provision and what students do and don’t like here.  

As I can be regularly heard saying, its not what the results say but what we do about them which is important!  The results at University level have been distributed to departments already.  The local level results – showing data at department and programme level – will be available very soon for colleagues to work with, along with all of the qualitative comments! (Yes, I did read them all!)

We also have the results of the NSS available in a few weeks, which will give us a good picture of our taught provision across all years of study.  Once all of that data is distributed, departments will be forming their action plans for the year.  This year that will be recorded in their annual Monitoring and Evaluation report.  Including it as part of this wider process ensures that we cut down on separate and overlapping plans, while at the same time increasing the opportunities to review progress.

It’s very important that we involve our students in our actions – either through working with them to implement or change, making sure we tell them what changes we are making based on their feedback, or both!  We’ll continue to work with student reps this year and hopefully departments will be able to be as transparent as possible with their students over what action they are taking. 

Listening and learning 

Posted by Rob Stroud | 2 comments

A record number of students have given their feedback on their UWE experience.  Over 66% of final years students at UWE have engaged with the National Student Survey, and a little fewer than 20% of students in other years have responded to UWE’s own Student Experience Survey.    These figures represent the largest ever number of students giving their feedback through these mechanisms.

This is great news for the University and especially for us as the team looking at analysing this data and ensuring that the University makes good use of it.  In reality, it means many months of hard work ahead.  We have to turn many thousand student comments into clear, analysed data ready for other colleagues, working with student representatives, to develop actions where we are being told we’re not quite getting things right. We’ll also be looking at the many areas where students have told things have improved, and making sure we learn from that too in order to replicate success across the University.

I’ll keep this post short – there is the small matter of 2800+ comments to read from the Student Experience Survey...

3994 down - 22061 to go... 

Posted by Rob Stroud | 4 comments

It’s a been a while since my last blog, but since then we’ve been incredibly busy managing the student surveys that are now live for 26055 students at UWE.  As I write this 3994 have taken the opportunity to fill in the survey applicable to them – however this means that there are still over 22000 UWE students who have the opportunity to give us feedback through these surveys.

We can’t stress enough how important these surveys are for the University, and for students.  For final year undergraduates completing the National Student Survey we use this data to evaluate what students thought of their overall course experience in the time they study with us. Some of the data is also made publically available to help prospective students choose a course that is right for them.

For students not in their final year, and for our taught postgraduate students, then the Student Experience Survey is a tool we use to find out how things are going.  This is also important, as students can help shape the experience they have while they are still here. 

I know at this year there are a lot of competing pressures for students’ time and we are sensitive to this.  Both surveys are short, taking around 10 minutes, and we don’t ask you to write lots or fill in lots of comment boxes (but if you want to write a lot – then we’re happy to hear from you!).  I hope that if you haven’t yet completed your survey then you can spend some time over the next week or two to fill it in.

Leaving your UWE footprint 

Posted by Rob Stroud | 0 comments

Mysterious images asking students to leave their UWE footprint have been gradually appearing over the UWE campuses over the past few days – but what’s it all about? 

The footprints are there as part of our campaign to get final year undergraduate students to complete this years National Student Survey.  This survey, run independently of UWE asks final years to rate the experience they have had over their entire time at UWE.  It’s really important for the University that you fill it in – not only do we use it in order to see what course, facilities, and services are working well, and where we need to make improvements, but it is also used to prospective students to see what students who have already done a particular course think about it.

The survey can be accessed either directly from the email final year students will have had from the company running the survey, or from our own survey pages, which also have answers to a number of questions you might have.   If you fill it online before the end of February then you can choose to enter a draw to win some great prizes. It’s a relatively short survey (22 main questions) and last year over two thirds of final year UWE students chose to take part, have their say, and left their UWE footprint.  We really need as many students as possible to fill this in.

For those of you not in your final year, don’t worry.  UWE is committed to hearing your views about your experience, and at the end of February we’ll be launching our Student Experience Survey just for you.

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u+weAbout this blog

This blog is a place for all things student experience, engagement, voice and partnership at UWE Bristol. You’ll also find discussion about student feedback, surveys, quality and enhancement. We believe in students becoming co-creators of their education and our aim is to encourage a culture where students and staff work together to make UWE the best it can be.

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