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Ed Zone Blog (22.11.2017)

So it’s been a couple of months since my last update, in my defence we’ve been super busy with a whole host of different activities taking place both at Stirling and across the Scottish and UK Higher Education Sectors. I’m going to try and distil the highlights from the past eight weeks into this blog post, if you want any more detail on any of this – drop me an email (education.union@stir.ac.uk).

Module Reps

The biggest task at this stage of the year is the relaunch of our student representative system, and we undertake a lot of work to recruit and train over 500 module and programme representatives for the academic year. We’ve been blown away by the popularity of our module and programme reps roles, managing to recruit over 370 module level representatives and over 100 postgraduate programme representatives. We’re chasing up the areas we’ve not yet heard back from, but we’ve well and truly smashed last year’s total of 350 Autumn reps in total. What’s more, it’s great to see the work our reps are doing already, with a number leading changes to the way modules are taught and assessed.

Faculty Officers

I’ve also been delivering training to our fantastic team of Faculty Officers. Faculty Officers are lead student representatives who take on responsibility for improving the quality of learning, teaching and the student experience in a division, or group of divisions, within an academic faculty. They’re also a key point of contact for you, should you encounter any difficulties with your modules or degree programme. You can find out who your faculty officer is here. In addition to this, we have a team of 9 Graduate School Officers who perform the same job as Faculty Officers, but for taught postgraduate and research postgraduate students. We’ve got 6 research grad school officers (1 per faculty and 1 for internationalisation) and 3 taught grad school officers as well (1 per faculty, except Health Sciences and Sport and Social Sciences which are still vacant). You can check out your Grad School Officers here.

Education Zone Meeting

Over 150 came along to our most recent Education Zone where I got a tonne of feedback on what we need to be focusing on. These issues form the basis of our Ed Zone Action Plan and I’ll be working to get them resolved over the next few weeks.

  • Develop better Canvas training for students
  • Investigate issues with assignment submissions and turnitin similarity reports
  • Address issues with Listen Again recordings
  • Fix issues with visualisers in A5 and LTB3.

Personal Tutors

On top of this I’ve been leading a review of the Personal Tutor System alongside our Dean of Student Affairs, Tim Whalley. Reintroduced in 2014 it’s clear that both staff and students have mixed reviews of the success of the system. As such, we’re looking to realign this role to better support students with any queries or questions they may have during their studies. It would be great to hear your thoughts on the Personal Tutor system, good and bad, so do drop me an email.

Learning Spaces

Back in October we undertook a consultation with students on learning and study spaces. The University is keen to invest in developing learning and study space that meets the desires and needs of current and future students. Our Thoughts On event ran in the atrium on 19th October and we collected in over 200 responses from students on what they’d like to see. The results from this will be released in the coming weeks and will be used to steer the university’s investment. In the meantime, shout out to David Irvine, from Natural Sciences, who was the lucky winner of the £50 Amazon Voucher for giving us their thoughts on learning spaces.

Listen Again

Finally, I’ve been dealing with everyone’s favourite issue: Listen Again. After a year of work, the University approved a policy to make the recording of lectures mandatory where content was taught in a lecture style in a recording capable venue by a member of Stirling staff. Despite this, several you have highlighted that lectures aren’t always being recorded. As such, I’ve spent weeks working with senior staff in the University to chase up areas where this still isn’t happening. We’ve managed to narrow this down to a few isolated cases which we’re actively chasing up. If you still encounter any issues with this then please do let me know ASAP, so that we can get this sorted.

RATE 2018

So as you can see, it’s been a busy few weeks and there’s plenty more to come. We launched our annual student-led teaching award scheme: RATE on the 15th November. The scheme aims to recognise those members of staff who’ve went above and beyond to make a difference to your time at University, so nominating them for an award is a great way to say thank you. You can nominate via the portal until March 2018.

'Thoughts On'

Our next ‘Thoughts On’ Consultation will be coming up soon, this time focusing on identifying the kind of information you’d like to know about how you’re progressing/performing in your studies. More on this in the coming weeks.

The Big Union Survey

The last big shout out goes to the Big Union Survey which is now live. Your Union is currently in the process of developing a new strategic plan that will take us up to 2021. This new plan will be developed by the desires of you, our members, and so it’s vital that you take the time to complete the short survey. There’s also the opportunity to provide us with more feedback and ideas through one of our Strategic Planning Workshops, if you’re interested in coming along then drop me an email.

So that’s about it for now. I’ll be back in touch just before the end of exams (#4weeks).

- Matt

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