Change Agents Network 2018 (#CAN18)
Review by Brad Forsyth & Jake Forecast
Jisc Change Agents Network Conference 2018
Friday, April 20th, 10am-4pm
What is the Change Agents' Network?
The Change Agents’ Network conference at the University of Winchester on 19th and 20th April was an opportunity for staff and students to share their experiences in organised sessions as well as many informal ways. Additionally it looked at the positive influences that student-staff partnerships have when student schemes and unions work closely with the leadership teams that run an institution.
Keynote - Alienation as vice and virtue: knowing the difference and making a difference
Aside from looking at whether or not students are really stimulated in education, the engaging presentation explored the assortment of reasons for why students make that step into higher education. Reasons varied from personal decisions such having a passion for a subject and aiming for great job prospects whilst others were influenced by family members who believed it was a good idea. On the next slide an analysis of students thoughts of their course came to light. Of course there was some great feedback amongst the data however there appeared to be quite a negative view as well. People found their studies disappointing, repetitive and a waste of time with lectures not being entirely helpful particularly as big groups are taught so there isn't really time for further discussions. Other presentations held through CAN18 highlight how partnerships give students a more rewarding and enjoyable university experience.
Developing digital teaching practices through staff-student partnerships
This has similar aspects to our very own Digital Voice Xpert Scheme. More information regarding this can be found in the link below:
Doing Induction: A Student Perspective
We were asked to produce a 'cake' with different slices detailing the 'ingredients' used in the ideal student induction. Although tedious for participants, it is essential the activities clearly inform students about their surroundings and academic studies. In the 'think tank' style session, these were the ideas the workshop touched on:
. Inclusive environments for both UK and EU students
. The expectation verses the reality of academic inductions
. Students to have fun during the process to make inductions equally engaging as informative.
A well thought out induction is detrimental for students to collaborate effectively whilst becoming familiar with a new structure, transitioning into a new teaching environment.
Ensuring the Student Voice is Heard and the Feedback Loop is Closed
From initial preparations to the final results, each stage made sure all concerns and improvements were raised and sufficiently dealt with from the leadership team. The mechanisms of integrating the student voice into higher education had post event action consisting of:
. You Said, We Did - Thoughts from students are summarised and the action taken by teachers for each point is explained.
. End of Module Questionnaires - Upon the completion of subject modules, students fill out questionnaires that give them the opportunity to review positive and negative elements found in their studies.
. Student Staff Consultive Committees - A get together between staff and students where a consultation on findings from other learners takes place.
. Postgraduate Surveys - Students review the overall course and whether or not that it developed their knowledge and prepared them appropriately for a career.
The responsive and reactionary elements below helped transformations in teaching methods take place:
. Student TEF representatives
. Changemakers/ change agents
Clear and Collaborative Communication
They run two campaigns to collect opinions and make relevant changes thus closing the feedback loop. These are ‘You Said, We Did’ and ‘Tell us’: You Said, We Did, both of which our very own Students' Union is taking inspiration from. Subsequently, Cardiff Met requests students be honest in surveys so teachers can effectively reflect on their practice and make alterations accordingly. 'Tell us’ allows students to email staff about their quires for which they will receive a prompt response.
Using this as a case study has given Epping Forest College's Students' Union a new perspective to restructure. By producing new roles and developing a more efficient method to collect opinions, teaching and learning will improve greatly. Email and phone communications have branched out so that problems are met with solutions at a faster rate.
Student Panel: Our Time To Shine!
A Selection of Tweets Reflecting the Student Panel
The Message to Take Away
In the modern age of teaching it is about partnership rather than just teachers guiding their students. The student voice is so vital in making improvements to an educational establishment and ensures that young people are receiving the best pedagogy practices suited to their personal needs and skills. The educational sector is going through an exciting time as students opinions are valued equally as much as staff. Events held by the likes of Jisc and the Department of Education allow opinions to be heard and opportunities given to those who may not had such as great learning experience in the past.
Thank you to Jisc for running the event, the deligates for showcasing some incredible practices and everyone who attended the panel with many questions to ask!