Student Association Survey
Emma Arandjelovic (Social & Communications representative)
Last October, the newly reformed Student Association put together a survey to gather feedback about communication and the learning community within OCA. We had a fantastic response, with 290 students completing the survey and many taking the time to give detailed comments about their experiences. We’d like to extend a huge thank you to everyone who took part — your feedback is incredibly valuable and it will help to shape the future of the Student Association as well as developments that are taking place more widely at OCA.
In this blog post we would like to share some of the insights we learned from the survey, and to let you know about the plans that are in the pipeline.
One of the main focuses of the survey was communication, including questions such as:
An overwhelming majority (97.6%) responded that their first preference was to receive this information by direct e-mail. These findings have been passed on to the team at OCA HQ and it’s great to see more announcements already arriving directly in our in-boxes. OCA have also set up degree email addresses to make it easier for Programme Leaders and other staff to talk to students studying the same subject. Similarly, most people indicated that they would like to receive information about Student Association activities by either direct e-mail or the weekly Weekender bulletin (90% in total), which again is incredibly useful information for us.
We found that the respondents were split roughly evenly when asked whether they use Facebook groups to interact with other students (51% responded yes and 49% no), with a variety of reasons being given for those who don’t. Whilst Facebook and other social media are useful channels of communication, we recognise that they are not for everyone and the Student Association will ensure nobody will miss out on anything on account of not using these platforms.
The survey responses also contained extremely useful feedback on aspects of communication such as speed of response to e-mails (particularly since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis), website usability, and confusion over the number of platforms and ‘places’ to find information — all of which has been fed back to OCA HQ.
Creating an online community
The second part of the survey was related to the online student community, with questions such as:
A large majority of students (80%) responded either “Yes” or “Somewhat” to this question which is encouraging, though it clearly shows some scope for improvement. OCA’s Curriculum Quality Committee is in the process of rolling out some changes to better help support students throughout their study, for example through regular course welcome events for new students, and more opportunities for group work activities. The developments are structured around three key themes and questions:
Social – how to help students connect with others both at the start of the course, and throughout.
Study – what do students need, and when, to study?
Support – what additional support is required along the way and how do students access it easily?
Work is already underway to respond to these questions through piloting monthly meetings with Programme Leaders, developing the Library space on OCA Learn, and in developing better signposting to support. The survey feedback is helping to inform these developments, and the Student Association will continue to work with OCA to support student led activities and online spaces.
The survey also sought feedback on the idea of introducing student ‘buddies’:
This idea was positively received, with a total of 60% of respondents also being definitely or possibly interested in volunteering to be a buddy for new students. This is one of the schemes currently being considered to improve the experience of newly enrolled students and create more connections between students on the same course.
Last but by no means least, lead rep Dan Woodward together with Becky Holman (rep for Technology Enhanced Learning) have been putting in a fantastic effort behind the scenes to develop a new website which will be the virtual ‘home’ of the Student Association. The website will be unveiled in the next few weeks, so keep an eye out for the announcement!