Surveys are one way to gather feedback from students, but there are many other ways to ensure their voices are heard.
Surveys are a great starting point for identifying trends in the student experience and understanding where there might be issues or success stories. Free text comments can also help provide some context around results.
However, to really understand in more depth what’s driving student feedback, data is best used in conjunction with insights and knowledge gathered through other forums.
This could include online workshops or student experience forums, but not all conversations need to happen in formal settings, in fact some departments find that a simple regular coffee morning is the most transformative activity they’ve initiated.
Gathering further feedback can be beneficial in different ways:
- Discussing survey results can help provide background and context for confusing or surprising survey results or sudden shifts in trends
- Workshops or hackathons provide an opportunity to explore solutions and ideas together and make action plans
- Timely or regular events mean you don’t need to wait until the next survey cycle to engage with students and hear their feedback
- Facilitating ongoing dialogue between students and staff helps everyone feel valued as a member of their learning community.
The Student Experience Panel is a community of UCL students who have registered their interest in providing ad-hoc feedback on UCL initiatives and projects.
Students who sign up to the Panel receive an email newsletter around every six weeks offering a number of opportunities for engagement, such as focus groups or online polls.
The Panel currently has over 1,000 students signed up to provide feedback.
Current members self-select from a range of levels, disciplines and years. Students do not go through a training process as the focus is on seeking views from students without prior knowledge of university strategy or decision-making processes.
The Panel corresponds with a key objective of the UCL Education Strategy (2016-21): to create a culture of student engagement, placing student feedback and insights at the heart of our decision-making.
Who can propose activities to the Panel?
Activities can be proposed by professional services staff and staff from the Vice-Provost offices.
These should focus on UCL-wide initiatives such as the Education strategy, or non-academic aspects of the student experience such as support services and facilities.
Staff can seek feedback from the Panel in a variety of ways including focus groups, user testing or asking them to take part in phone interviews.
Incentives for students
Students are more likely to participate if an incentive is offered. Incentives can range from vouchers, cash, free lunch or coffee.
Generally, incentives for students should be worth at least £10 for each hour of their time.
Propose an activity for the Student Experience Panel
Use our online form to submit your opportunities for the Panel.
If you're looking to gather qualitative feedback, you can organise focus group sessions for students.
These sessions are useful for understanding the reasons behind preferences and exploring participants' reactions to the topic under discussion.
Workshops and testing
You can get useful insights from the student panellists by running workshops or test sessions, in which the participating students are encouraged to go through a particular ‘user journey’.
Or you could hold regular informal events that don’t focus on feedback specifically but do help to support ongoing dialogue with staff and students.