The opinions of our students really do matter as we rely on them to tell us where we can improve or what they think we should be doing in order to enhance their student experience.
We are often asked to send out survey requests on behalf of different schools and faculties and sometimes there can be lots of them coming all at once, so it is important to stagger them.
There are the obvious important surveys like the NSS that we encourage our students to take part in. The data is analysed and universities are ranked depending on the level of satisfaction they achieve in a number of areas.
If it isn’t a survey that we are asking students to spend time on filling in, then it is a request for them to take part in research projects for MA or PhD students.
Over the past few months, there have been student surveys from the environmental team, a teaching excellence survey from the student survey team, volunteer requests, course quality enhancement monitoring, filming requests and a postgraduate taught experience survey, to name but a few.
Then there are the focus groups where students are offered vouchers if they attend or food incentives, especially if the focus group takes place over the lunchtime period!
There have been focus groups on induction, CAW services and evaluating mobile apps.
However, mixed in with the surveys and the focus groups are some excellent career-enhancing or life-changing opportunities that are posted onto Moodle. There are some genuinely wonderful things going on that we want our students to know about.
The Changing Lives Programme, for instance, is one such example, where students get the opportunity to work on a community project in another country, the next visit is to Morocco.
There is also the Global Leader’s Programme with excellent opportunities to work overseas and the Chancellor’s Circle where grants are available to enhance their employability and student experience.
So with all the surveys and focus group requests, there are usually twice as many opportunities communicated to students that encourage them to learn new skills, meet new people, go to new places and work alongside communities who need support.
The opportunities that are available to students are vast; not only at Coventry, but also at other universities up and down the land. We are all in the business of trying to attract students to come and study with us and what we offer can make the difference of being either a first or fifth choice destination.
Over the course of their studies, we may ask students a lot of questions and request that they fill in surveys or be on numerous focus groups, but if we don’t ask, how can we improve the level of support, teaching and courses that we offer?
Surveys might take time to fill in and be seen as a chore, but the information they give us can shape the direction of teaching and learning and act as a blueprint for the future.