Representing students during online learning

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What a term! It seems a long time since October, and as we started the new academic year nobody knew what to expect- it's fair to say it's been a mixed bag.

Across the term, here at the Students' Union we have been regularly asking our members to feed back about their experience of online teaching.

We asked the following question at the start of the year and again at the end of November:


How have your classes and lectures been so far?

Answer: October: November:
Good 545 373
Ok 764 714
Bad 298 370
Total Responses 1607 1457


Given how much had changed so quickly, in November we also asked members to comment on their experience over time:


How has your experience changed across this term?

It has definitely improved:         123       (26.3%)

It has stayed the same:             213      (45.6%)

It has got worse:                         120      (25.7%)

Chose not to answer:                   11         (2.4%)


In addition to this nearly 1000 students told us specifically why they had chosen to answer how they did.

Below are the most common themes in order of the most popular:


The Good:

  • Staff are really helpful and supportive
  • I prefer online lectures
  • Courses are better organised 
  • I like the fact I can go back and re-watch lectures
  • Communication between staff and students is much better
  • I like the use of breakout rooms to work in smaller groups
  • Moodle is really useful and well organised


The Bad:

  • I don't like online lectures
  • Technical Issues
  • The quality of lectures is poor
  • Communication is really bad
  • This isn't good value for money 
  • Timetable Issues 
  • Too much work
  • Organisation is poor
  • Moodle is hard to use
  • Hard to engage due to time zone issues


We have shared this information with Departments, Senior University Staff and the Members that fed back to us in order to try and identify best practise and improve the experience for as many students as possible.

It goes without saying that this has been a really tough start to the Academic year and everyone has put in so much work and effort to try and make the best of a challenging situation.

We are so grateful to our Members, colleagues at the University and Students' Union staff for pulling together and keeping conversations going despite being spread all over the world. 

Student feedback is at the very heart of the Students' Union and has played pivotal role in term one in ensuring we are clear what is working and what could be improved.

As we look to a New Year and hope that with it comes a more social normality that allows us to be together and experience things in the way we once did, we must use the opportunity that this experience has given us to understand where things have actually improved, and make sure that we don't just go back to how things were; we find the best of both worlds and build a new system of education that is even better.

Student feedback with be critical to us knowing what needs to stay from the online era to enhance the student experience for years to come.

We will continue to regularly speak to our members, and involve them in key conversations and hope that 2021 brings about more positive change and a new normal that allows us all to thrive.

Thank you for you feedback this year if you left it. 

Happy Holidays. 


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