There is lots happening in the world of the National Student Engagement Programme (NStEP), including the very welcome prospect of a second meeting of the network being held in Letterkenny on Tuesday, 8 May 2018.
The theme of the network meeting is “Overcoming Challenges to Student Engagement”. which provides us with the fantastic opportunity to learn from one another, while also energising us to confront some of the issues we are each facing.
NCI and NCISU have been invited to participate directly on a number of different levels, including providing a ‘lightning talk’ before lunch regarding the challenges facing part time students within the context of student engagement, while also hosting a national project session after lunch regarding progress on, and plans for, NStEP Project 1: The Role and Recruitment of Class Representatives. Indeed, the NStEP Project 1: 3rd Team Meeting is slated for Tuesday, 15 May 2018, one week after the second NStEP network meeting, so there is real momentum here.
The agenda for the second NStEP network meeting, which is being hosted by Letterkenny Institute of Technology, follows below:
It looks like a great day in prospect, with the perfect excuse of the preceding bank holiday weekend to do some exploring. Let the sun shine!
With the ISSE 2018 survey results for NCI expected to arrive later this summer, it makes sense to start taking a closer look at where we stand in terms of recently published data.
As noted previously, 847 NCI students took part in ISSE 2018, a response rate of 25.1%, while the average response rate across the sector was recently revealed as 29.4%. Thus, while our own response rate went up, with the absolute number of NCI students responding increasing significantly, we continue to trail behind the national average, as illustrated in the following PPT slide:
This is partly why we set a response rate target of 30% for NCI, i.e. to get closer to the national average; if anything, the gap between NCI and the national average is growing, so that is something which needs to be tackled with renewed vigour.
One of the ongoing projects in the weeks and months ahead will be to compare and contrast what our students are telling us with what the picture is nationally. Recently tweeted by @StudentSurveyIE, the overarching depictions of the 2017 and 2016 survey results will be among the resources we’ll be using to assess where we stand.
As illustrated below, these user-friendly gauges need to be part of the conversation that we have with our own students when it comes to ISSE specifically, and learner feedback more generally. It is also part of the ‘virtuous circle’ narrative supporting feedback from students through a process of ongoing communication and interaction, thereby enabling its promotion, completion and evaluation, as well as appropriate action in the light of what it is telling us.
Perhaps it was the Scottish shortbread which did the trick, but that really felt like it went quite well. Of course, we have yet to see the ‘To Do List’ which will emerge, and we have serious suspicions that the names coupled with actions, suggestions, etc., will not hide the fact that there is real work to be done in the weeks ahead, but it still felt like that second meeting went, err, quite well. Have we said that already?
With today’s turnout of nine people in the room supplemented by three more joining us as if by magic through a combination of Skype and speakerphone, it looks like we have quickly moved from forming to storming and just a little beyond.
As we mentioned previously in NStEP Project 1 – 2nd Team Meeting: further preparatory work …, there is a lot of goodwill. But, that can only take you so far. Much more than that, we’re also now going to be able to gauge our progress in practical terms. This means that, for example, by the time we next meet, we will need to be upfront and honest about where we are with the aforementioned ‘To Do List’. That’s putting it up to us all as project members!
Coming down from the sugar high of the all butter toffee and pecan biscuits, coupled with their all butter chocolate siblings, reality is also suddenly dawning. Indeed, looking at the scribbles in front of us, dashed as they are across today’s agenda, as well as the hieroglyphics on the minutes from the last meeting, there is a growing suspicion that these could actually turn into outcomes because the goodwill is now also translating into people taking responsibility. Bully for us!
Our next project team meeting will be in mid-/late May, by which stage we’ll have real evidence to base the hope that this project is in danger of succeeding, as well it should and as it now must.
Okay, this time we think that we may be slightly ahead of ourselves. But, that is only because we’re posting towards close of play on the Friday before the NStEP Project 1 – 2nd Team Meeting being held next Tuesday afternoon. This makes a change from blogging on the morning of the meeting (see NStEP Project 1 – 1st Team Meeting: some preparatory work … by way of comparison). So, at the very least, that’s progress, even if only of a sort.
The truth however is that, when it comes to NStEP, things are now happening thick and fast.
Indeed, the other four project teams have already met or are planning to meet very soon, which is why this NStEP Project 1 – 2nd Team Meeting is so timely. This also makes a progress report on our list of ‘To Dos’ both necessary and worrying. Where and how our efforts connect to the other four national projects and contribute to NStEP as a whole is being mapped out too (see the NStEP Projects Map). Lots happening, lots to do.
In addition, doubtlessly to help spur things along, the NStEP Project Chairs also met late last month with the support of QQI, the HEA, sparqs, and USI. They, in turn, put a plan in place to meet regularly from now on, with the second of these NStEP Project Chairs meetings scheduled for next Wednesday morning. Timing is everything.
So, how ready are we for next Tuesday afternoon and the second meeting of the project examining The Role and Recruitment of Class Representatives? Well, let’s see now:
Draft agenda circulated? Yes.
Minutes disseminated? Finally!
Progress made on ‘Actions’? Hmm … not so sure, if we’re to be honest.
Room(s) booked? Check.
Technology enabled? Perhaps!?!
Biscuits bought? Not yet.
There was clearly a lot of goodwill when we first met, so let’s see where our next meeting takes us, particularly in terms of measuring progress on the outputs we’re promising … yikes!!!
It’s funny how what might have seemed amorphous can suddenly begin to take shape. Heretofore, our thinking has mostly been conscious, but clearly some of it has also been bubbling away sub-consciously too. Much of what we talk about is relatively spur of the moment, reacting and responding to ideas and flashes of inspiration. Yet more of it is planned, with bits of sectoral news and, yes, gossip thrown in for good measure. But, there is also that which is gradually revealed having been half-hidden in plain sight.
It was another good morning to be in this QA network.
The possibility raised – or was it a promise made? – at QA meeting #4 to explore how something more tangible might emerge from our conversations is suddenly firming up. Plans are taking shape. We like structure. We’re already collaborating by meeting regularly and drinking each other’s institutional coffee. But, in writing it down here in a blog post, we are also moving steadily towards an ever more public commitment to put our findings, reflections and recommendations out there. And, not just by howling at the moon, but in a more formal way. To our peers!
We each see the benefit of exploring what it is that we do, reflecting on the realities of 21st century Higher Education in Ireland, while also exploring how it impacts upon us as professionals and the institutions we represent, those who employ us and those we seek to support. So, it now looks like that will be what we end up saying, not just among ourselves, but in writing: ‘a QA network view of our world’. We’ll be sharing it within our institutions and beyond. We think that we may even have something to say. Bold of us. Watch this space.
The NCI students who were invited to take part in ISSE 2018 were told: “As a thank you for your participation, we are offering One4all gift cards worth €100 each to three participants, printer tokens worth €10 each to twenty others, and much more besides to students who take part in this survey”. Thanks to Student Services and NCISU, those additional prizes were a ticket each to the Clubs & Socs Awards Formal Ball that is being held on Thursday, 15th March 2017, to two survey participants, and a piece of NCIRL branded apparel to two other NCI students.
The organisers of the survey – i-graduate – conducted the draw for us and they have supplied us with the names of the 27 prizewinners. It should be noted that these draws promoting ISSE are not linked in any way to the answers supplied by our students through their surveys. In fact, we won’t receive our ISSE 2018 feedback until later this academic year; and, when we do receive this quantitative and qualitative data, the learner feedback is aggregated and/or anonymised as appropriate.
The full list of our ISSE 2018 prizewinners follows below:
We are in the process of contacting these 27 students to let each of them know about their little piece of good fortune … as well as how/when/where to collect their prizes!
But, for now, congratulations to Mingyang, Dana and Azeez on winning the One4all gift cards, Zuhura and Megan for receiving an invitation to the Clubs & Socs Formal Awards Ball, Stefano and John on being asked to pick up a piece of NCIRL branded apparel, and to the other twenty students who, thanks to the generosity of time and money from the Library and IT Services, will each have printer credits worth €10 loaded onto their respective accounts.
Most of all, however, we would like to thank the 847 NCI students, constituting a final response rate of 25.1%, for supplying us with their feedback through ISSE 2018. We will ensure that it is put to very good use when we receive it later this year.
In a presentation given to staff at Hibernia College this morning as part of its monthly QA workshop series, Declan Treanor (Trinity Disability Service, Trinity College Dublin) explored how, where and why to support students with disabilities, particularly though not necessarily only for those on professional courses.
Entitled “Supporting students with disabilities on professional course”, the talk began by looking at the legislative background to compliance before moving on to a deeper consideration of the data and evidence underpinning the design of policies (incl. reasonable accommodation, fitness to practice, and fitness to study), while also exploring effective practice (e.g. recording of lectures).
21st century Higher Education is clearly adapting to the needs of its students and this presentation is not only what might be termed a ‘good news’ story regarding the efforts being made in our sector, it offers practical guidance and ideas to support all of our students, particularly those with disabilities.
Sincere thanks to Hibernia College for extending the invitation to attend these monthly meetings, this morning’s offered a lot of food for thought, as one of those attending attested, but it also exemplifies the effective and practical application of our QA network! 🙂
The National Student Engagement Programme is a collaborative initiative which aims to develop student capabilities and institutional capacity to enhance engagement at all levels across the higher education system.