As Student Reps, we play a key role in collecting and relaying feedback from students to staff, be it through formal channels such as surveys and questionnaires or simply by communicating with our peers. Student Reps allow these opinions to be voiced and realise benefcial changes for students. Given the current alterations to typical teaching methods, collecting, collating and communicating feedback is ever more important as students and staff alike settle into a very new and alien style of learning.
During my last year as a student rep in the college of Life & Environmental Sciences (LES), I worked within my cohort to regularly collect feedback and feed this into Staff-Student Forum (SSF) meetings. I choose to collect a majority of my feedback through (very!) short online surveys on a roughly monthly basis. I can send these to my course mates via email or our course group chat; this means I can maximise the feedback I receive without taking up much time from my peers. It also allows me to easily monitor the results of the surveys and forward relevant responses to appropriate members of staff. In addition to the surveys, I leave my contact details in every correspondence to allow for any specific feedback not covered in the surveys.
A crucial part of feedback collecting is feeding the response from the SSF and any other meetings back to my peers. ‘Closing the loop’ is essential in keeping the student community in-touch with the goings-on in SSF meetings and the proposals put forward - at the moment this is especially vital to iron-out any teething issues with online teaching .etc. Closing the feedback loop also allows complimentary/responsive feedback from students on proposals/changes made in meetings previous.
The opinions of students allow for changes to be implemented to support their own cohort such as additional seminars, teaching resources, reading lists, improved assessment feedback or attention to lecture styles and recordings (to name some of the proposals I made to the SSF). On top of that, changes can be made to improve the course for students in future years. This could be through more structured support for a particular module, maintaining regular meetings with personal tutors throughout the year or improving Welcome Week for first years.
Being a Student Rep can be highly rewarding and introduces you to many of your peers. Despite my first year as a Rep being cut short, I very much enjoyed playing my role in benefitting the student community within my course and am looking forward to continuing in my role this year.
Paddy O’Neill (Year 2 EnvSci Student Rep)