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Top of the ‘greasy’ pole!

Those of you who follow our OCA Creative Writing social media – in particular, the @ocawriters Twitter account – may have spotted a few celebratory posts earlier in the year. When we learned the course had achieved 100% student satisfaction in the 2020 NSS survey, we were all absolutely thrilled.

‘NSS’ stands for National Student Survey, and all undergraduate students in UK universities are asked to fill it in in the early spring of their final year. It asks a range of questions about the course, in order to find out what is working well and what could be improved.

It’s not the best system in the world: sometimes, only small numbers of students on a course respond and we know that those who are dissatisfied are more likely to complete it than those students who are happy with their experience. But it’s the best system we have at the moment for finding out how we can improve.

A core question relates to ‘overall satisfaction’, and that’s where we were delighted that OCA’s Creative Writing degree scored the best possible mark.

We were also delighted to achieve very high scores on many of the other questions, relating to how happy students are with the course content, tutor feedback, assessment and support.

OCA courses across the board, however, scored rather lower than we hoped on a question relating to how student feedback is acted upon. All course leaders are very keen to know how we can do better at collating feedback and then acting on it in a meaningful way. I’d be very happy for any student to contact me with their views about this, or let me know if you’d be happy to join a focus group to discuss this and other issues.

We’re aware, too, that the Creative Writing course needs to do more to create a sense of community for our students. We hope the online group work we’re introducing and the new OCA Learn site will begin to change this and we’re also collectively doing some work on the induction process to help new students feel part of a cohort. But, again, we’re open to ideas and suggestions about this, so get in touch! 

Only around half of our students are happy with the online library resources. I think this may be down, in part, to a lack of awareness. Please do check out the librarian’s Creative Writing subject guide to see what you can access. The link is here: https://ucreative.libguides.com/OCACreativeWriting

The final message is that as programme leader I take all concerns seriously. Those of you who have been in touch with me know – I hope! – that I try to sort out all queries as best as I can. If I’d been surveyed about OCA writing students, I would have given you a score of 100% satisfaction too! Let’s keep working together to make the course the best it can be and to see if we achieve this wonderful NSS result again in 2021.

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Posted by author: Barbara Henderson
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