Checking in survey – acting on your feedback
A message from Ruth Whittaker, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Education and Students) email sent 10am, 9 December 2020
Listening to your opinions, ideas and feedback is one of the most vital things that the University does.
At the end of October we invited all students to take part in a short “pulse” Checking-in survey which asked about your experiences of the year so far. Over 1,500 of you took part and I thank you for giving this valuable feedback.
Understandably, the move to blended learning was front of mind for many students, and I was pleased that this was a positive experience for many of you, under the challenging circumstances. Many of you praised academic staff for the thought they put into shifting to remote learning and their ongoing communication.
However, your feedback also showed that this experience was inconsistent. We are working hard to continually adapt and improve and to share good practice and innovation in digital learning and teaching to support our staff to support you. Our priority is to ensure that all students have a consistently positive blended experience.
At a university-wide level, a number of key themes came through strongly, and in the spirit of openness and transparency these are shared below. However, even more important than listening to feedback is acting on it, and I’m pleased to also share our progress below.
Your feedback and what we’re doing in response
You told us: You are finding it difficult to meet or connect with other people on your course and more broadly in the university.
What we’re doing in response: In Semester 2 opportunities will be created for you to connect with your peers, in a COVID secure way, on campus in a range of in-person co-curricular and extra-curricular activities. We are working in partnership with the Brighton Students’ Union and with your Course Leaders and course reps to plan these. We are calling this ‘Belong at Brighton Extra’ and we will be letting you know more about this soon.
Your lecturers and course leaders will also be working to provide more opportunities for you to meet and connect informally with each other on your modules, and setting-up more opportunities for chances to get together in course drop-ins. Watch this space.
Plus, there’s tips and guidance on communicating confidently in Teams.
You told us: Some of you felt that the move to blended learning had led to an increase in your workload.
What we’re doing in response: Your lecturers are busy planning Semester 2 activities now and they will be reviewing their volume to try to make sure no one feels overloaded. They will also make it absolutely clear to you which pieces of work are essential.
They will work to get the appropriate balance of live teaching, guided learning on My Studies, and independent study. Any preparatory materials on My Studies, including pre-recorded lectures, will aim to be uploaded at least 48 hours in advance of the related live session.
Guidance on helping you develop your study skills including time management is also available
You told us: Some of you weren’t clear on where to find the latest information about your course on a weekly basis, such as helping you prepare for your live sessions through pre-recorded lectures, preparatory reading and other online activities, and to help you better manage your time.
What we’re doing in response: From Semester 2, all the information you need about learning and teaching activities will be shared on your module area on My Studies on a weekly basis. This will include information about what reading, pre-recorded lectures and other resources and activities you need to undertake which will help you to prepare for live teaching (both online and on campus). This will help you easily see what you need to engage in and when.
You told us: The bookable study slots in our libraries are not really long enough, and you want more places on campus to take part in online Teams sessions.
What we’re doing in response: We’ve doubled the length of time you can spend in the library and computer rooms. You can now book up to 4 hours per day for individual study or to use a PC.
We’ve set aside some PCs that you can use to participate in remote learning and Teams sessions on campus – just search for Open Access when you are booking.
You told us: Some of you don’t have the right digital facilities to learn and work remotely.
What we’re doing in response: We have reviewed and invested in the Digital Access Fund – providing financial help for those students without access to a suitable laptop or broadband/Wi-Fi connectivity so that they can engage with remote learning.
You told us: Many of you are enjoying the benefits of recorded lectures to revisit content at a time and pace that suits you.
What we’re doing in response: There are many positives to having recorded lectures, although it isn’t always appropriate to record everything in all live teaching sessions. Working with the Brighton Students’ Union, we are reminding all staff of our new Lecture Capture policy and particularly when they may need to obtain your consent to record, vs informing you that a session is being recorded.
While it’s clear that we have more to do, we are committed to listening to you and working in partnership to create the best experience possible for all our students.