Our participation in NStEP across 2016-17 has allowed us to reconsider a number of the ways we do things here at NCI. In fact, with its emphasis on getting a national student training programme up and running, this specific work area has only encouraged us to look at our own processes afresh.
The truth of the matter is that this need to re-examine our class rep system was also identified at the strategic analysis workshop facilitated by sparqs on 9 November 2016 – for more details regarding that institutional session, click here.
According to the Quality Assurance Handbook regarding learner feedback, Class Representative Meetings are outlined as follows:
Class Representative Meetings
Meetings between the programme director and class representatives take place once per semester. This is a formal opportunity for Class Representatives to provide feedback to the Programme Committee on matters affecting the programme and learners on the programme. Representatives from the Support Services also attend these meetings.
Schools may arrange meetings in subject groupings etc. to facilitate meaningful discussion. Actions arising from these meetings should be reported to the Programme Committee meeting.
In a series of meetings held this spring involving student representatives and staff, a paper was developed regarding the realities of the existing class rep system. In turn, a series of eight recommendations have been put forward in relation to how this system might operate next academic year – the full report is available here.
As part of its QA Review, as well as further evidence of our ongoing NStEP activities, it is worth recording here that NCI held a Staff Feedback Forum on March 22nd, 2017, thereby in effect running a staff session in parallel with the student event held a fortnight previously (see the related Student Feedback Forum post for more details).
Attended by a dozen NCI colleagues in total, including both academic and administrative staff, as well as the QASS facilitators, this meeting offered a focus for staff to get even more directly involved in the learner feedback discussions that are taking place, dialogues which now encompass a number of stakeholders including the aforementioned students themselves. Taken together, these discussions are helping to inform the QA Review with regard to, but by no means restricted to, feedback from students.
As with the student session, a set of introductory PPT slides were again used to help frame the conversations which then followed (click on Staff Feedback Forum), but the forum itself centred on a staff discussion regarding who, from their perspective, students should be giving feedback to and regarding what, as well as how they might do it and, in turn, what needs to happen as a result.
This Staff Feedback Forum thus builds on a conversation that is already taking place across NCI, while also offering a steer regarding how learner feedback processes might operate into the future. Further staff and student feedback and reflection upon these processes will continue to be sought ahead of revised QA procedures and guidelines being introduced next academic year.
As part of its Quality Assurance Review, and in line with its participation in the National Student Engagement Programme (NStEP), NCI held a Student Feedback Forum yesterday afternoon, March 8th, 2017, hopefully the first of many such pizza’n’policy meetings.
Attended by 20 students from a range of academic programmes, this meeting was facilitated by colleagues from both NCISU and NCI. The call to students to get involved, to have their say, and to make a difference clearly resonated with those present and the feedback received will obviously help to inform the Quality Assurance Review with regard to, but by no means restricted to, feedback from students.
Opening with some introductory PPT slides to help frame the conversations that followed (click on Student Feedback Forum), the forum centred on two exercises which saw students (1) reflecting upon how they have given feedback in the past (e.g. to teaching staff, through class representatives, etc.) before (2) considering what they want to give feedback upon into the future (incl. frequency, means, etc.).
This forum is the continuation of a conversation that has already been taking place across NCI, but yesterday’s session offered an ideal opportunity to lend more focus and purpose to learner feedback processes, at the same time as embodying the concept of students as partners and as co-creators. More reflection on these matters will follow in the weeks ahead, as well as creating opportunities for more students and staff to get very directly involved.
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.