Making the most of your course reps, academic advisors, and unit surveys – know your options and use your voice!
It’s that time of year again! No, not exam season (yet) – it’s time to do your unit surveys! At this point, you might already ask yourself if your feedback will actually matter. Will anything really be done about it? Well, yes, it will, and it already has! Did you know the Alan Gilbert Learning Commons was designed in consultation with a Student Advisory Board who influenced furniture, facilities and layout, and even how My Learning Essentials is developed? Not only that, but the ongoing feedback you’re giving us through surveys and suggestion boxes still helps us make changes within the Library. Have you noticed the furniture moving around to use the space better, and all those extra desks we’ve just added in the Learning Commons? You did that! Well done, you!
From unit surveys to course reps, there are lots of ways to have a direct impact on what happens from here onwards, so take a few minutes out of your revision / essay writing / presentation practice to think about what you can do!
Now: Unit surveys
This is the most visible avenue for feedback – your unit surveys are live now on Blackboard, or download the EvaluationKIT app. They’re a completely anonymous way to let your tutors know what has worked well about your course and what could be improved for next year. We’ve all taken a class we wish we could’ve changed a bit, so don’t just grumble, make it better! Maybe you wished your lectures were automatically recorded? Were there books on the reading list that you wanted as ebooks, or chapters you needed digitised as PDFs? Well then, say something! Let your tutors know what was good, too, so they can do it again next year with confidence. Even better, the University rewards your feedback, so look out for incentives promoted by Student Ambassadors around campus. Previous years have seen free snacks and printer credit for students who log in and prove their surveys are done!
Anytime: Student Reps and Student Voice
Student Voice is the umbrella term for the Students’ Union’s work to represent students, both within the University of Manchester and on a national level. Your student reps are chosen by you to be an official channel of feedback, information exchange and student representation. You have course reps, school reps and faculty reps looking out for your academic interests, plus the student life reps and executive officers you’ll recognise from their work in the Students’ Union. If you have an issue, a comment or a suggestion, your programme administrator can put you in touch with your course rep and there’s lots more information available through the Students’ Union’s website, Twitter and Facebook.
That’s not all! You can give feedback in person, use the suggestion boxes in the Library and the Alan Gilbert Learning Commons and submit comments online, or even talk to the SU’s independent Student Advice Service if you think you need help taking an issue further. Also, remember to check your email for focus groups (who doesn’t like free Amazon vouchers?) from time to time – student satisfaction is a big part of the University’s official 2020 Strategic Vision, so use all your options let us know how we’re doing and how you’re feeling, so we can keep getting better!
By Kit from the Student Team