HI, I'm EDMUND

VP EDUCATION

I am the Student Representative for all your academic interests. I work extremely closely with the University on ensuring that student interests are a key concern for all projects and changes within the University.

I also help support students who have issues and use this feedback to help shape how the University Works.

If you have any issues or having anything that you want to discuss then please don't hesitate to email me.

Send me an email
 

Module evaluation

This week I had an important meeting about module evaluation (those forms you fill in at the end of your module). Many members of staff at the university are very keen that the current system change and that a new system is put in place. The Students’ Union is making sure that whatever the outcome of the group, that students have meaningful opportunities to give feedback on their modules and that their voice is taken seriously. The work is not over yet so look out for updates in the future!

Listening to your voice

This week I ran a series of focus groups aimed at improving how the Rules of Assessment are written. This is currently an overly complicated document that can be very important to those students who haven’t passed everything first time round. The feedback that we got was really helpful and I will make sure that it is taken back to the University group. I’m sure that they will take the comments on board and hopefully these rules will be much clearer for students in future.

Major breakthrough for reading lists!

 

All core reading is well on the way to being easily available, in one place, free to access and not being limited by availability!

 

How did this happen?

A policy has just been passed through the University’s Senate that means that every module will have to have a reading list on TALIS Aspire. This will make it much clearer to students what reading they will be expected to do for every module. And although not guaranteed, this will also make it much easier for the Library to make sure that they have the right amount of books/e-books so that far less students will be forced to buy a text book, just to complete a module. We’re seeing rapid change across the University as departments are quickly uploading their reading lists on to TALIS, as of the 21st January 74% of all modules had up-to-date lists which is over 50% higher than it ever has been before!

 

How was the SU involved?

I’m proud to say that I helped the Library write the paper that has resulted in this great achievement. I discussed the problems with reading lists last year with Library staff but it wasn’t until we discussed it as part of the Big 5 where things really got moving quickly. When we were talking about the problems that students currently face in regards to being forced to buy text books because departments hadn't told the library that students were in need of certain books, the Vice Chancellor seemed shocked and asked myself and the Director of the Library to get started on something right away. It was a pleasure working with staff from the library to write the paper as it was clear that they were just as keen to resolve this issue and to help students as I was. Once we completed it then it was subsequently passed by Education Committee and then by Senate and we can now see the benefits of the paper becoming a reality.

 

This also helped:

At the same time as the TALIS paper was being passed, the Library was given a whopping £250,000 to buy e-books to support core reading. These two developments have worked perfectly together in making sure that we're well on the way to all core reading being easily available, in one place, free to access and not being limited by availability!

FREE PRINTING IS FINALLY HERE!

As of the 2nd January, printing is totally free from campus computers! No longer will students have to pay to print materials in order to perform in their modules. Although this may not fix the bank for many students, the fact that students were being charged for something that is either essential or very valuable towards their degrees was disappointing and this is a change that will be welcomed by all.

Paying enormous tuition fees that still can’t cover £2 worth of printing for the year has become something of a joke amongst students nationally but thanks to IT Services, the University’s Finance team and the Students’ Union, this no longer exists.

Students have been vocal about printing costs for years, causing numerous VP Educations to keep it on the agenda and campaign for a reduction of costs. When the opportunity arose, I was extremely happy to support IT services in their proposal to make it entirely free as, thanks to all students that made their voices heard, we knew that this was something that would make a difference for a lot of people.

How did this happen?

The University bought in a large amount of new printers for both IT labs and for all staff offices. These new printers are much more efficient than the old ones which over time will mean that free printing can be given to students without the costs of printing going up.

What about the money that I put on my account?

Don’t worry! Any unused credit left in your account that you have paid for yourself, will be refunded. You will not receive a refund for any unused credit that has been paid in by other means, for example by your Department.

Further information can be found here:

https://www1.essex.ac.uk/it/services/printing/default.aspx

 

Please make sure you think about the environment. Printing may not cost you anything anymore but it still costs the planet.

EXTENUATING CIRCUMSTANCES HAVE CHANGED!

Extenuating Circumstances have changed! And I promise that they’ve changed for the better.

What is an Extenuating Circumstance?

Extenuating circumstances are circumstances beyond your control which have a significant impact on your assessed work. In general, extenuating circumstances will be of a medical or personal nature affecting you for any significant period of time and/or on the day of the assessment event, or immediately preceding the time of the deadline.

If you complete the Extenuating Circumstances Process then your situation may be taken into account by the exam board which can help you in receiving the outcome that you are capable of.

What has changed?

From now on, all Extenuating Circumstances applications will be made online. This will help to make them far more accessible to students and will help to maintain their anonymity.

You can now Self Certify In situations where you could not or should not seek evidence. This represents huge change for the University but will aim to be similar to sickness periods when you enter the workplace.

There is now greatly improved guidance for filling out extenuating circumstances to help you fill out the forms. The old guidance was confusing to students and those with the most severe circumstances would often be discouraged from submitting a form at all.

Not only has the form changed but the process behind extenuating circumstances has also changed for the better. If you submit your claim during the year then it will be seen by an Extenuating Circumstances Committee which will mean that you will find out earlier if your case has been taken forward. Hopefully this will take some pressure off you about what is going on. In the past, you may have been expected to wait over 6 months to find out any information about your case!

How did this change happen?

The University has been developing the Extenuating Circumstances process for the last two years. My predecessor (Josh Gulrajani) and Chantelle from SU Advice did really amazing work such as the proposal for Self-Certification so when I joined last November I had my hands full with moving the project forwards with Chantelle. Throughout the year, we successfully negotiated some of the really good additions to the process as well as working closely alongside the University as they had excellent ideas that also got taken up and were just as keen as we were to create something amazing.

Towards the end of last year and the start of this year, the focus was on developing the webpage for Extenuating Circumstances. This was essential in being able to translate the great improvements we had made so far but with input from students and one final push, everything is now live!