It’s that time of year again when we hear more about things like the NSS survey (and results), teaching and learning showcase, graduates & graduation, league tables, and of course the student experience. But what is this ‘student experience’?
Is it the application process, the hall of residence, the equipment, the availability of books in the library, the quality of teaching, access to support, timely assessment feedback, employability, skills, digital literacy? Is it this? Is it more?
For my perspective, and from my own experience working in HE for the past 10 years or so, it’s all the above and more. The student experience starts at the open day (or before if you include the planning the institution puts into it, as well as the prospective student looking at where to go). It really starts in ernest as soon as the application is accepted and a place is given, right through to the actual 3 or 4 years of study, all the way to graduation and the alumni network.
From end-to-end the student will experience the whole institution, not just their own course or department, and not even their own building or campus. Is the university spread across multiple campuses, across different continents as well? How the university manages this will impact on a single student and their time of study. Is the course modular and pulls different departments together for delivery? Then the culture of each department will impact and affect those students, and needs to be carefully managed (no one wants one module to be vastly different or better/worse than another). Is the student body multinational and diverse? The support and teaching needs to reflect and involve the different cultures and expectations of these individuals too.
The list can go on and on. It’s fair to say that everyone working in further or higher education, whether it’s front-line teaching or research, administration, management, estates, etc. has an important role to play in how the students view and experience the course, the department, the campus, the employability, and value of the course. For someone to say that the student experience is not part of their role is not pulling their weight and is making everyone else’s job far harder than is necessary.
Here are a few articles I’ve found useful over the past year or so when looking at the student experience. Please feel free to add your own favourites in the comments box below:
- The student experience – then and now
- Enhancing student services with digital engagement
- London falling
- 5 top tips to enhance your students’ experience
- ‘Student experience’ is the new buzzword, but what does it mean?
- Freshers: 1992 vs 2012
- Understanding what makes for a good student experience
- What is ‘The Student Experience’?