A Conference and a Year for Bringing Our Bluenotes Community Together Online

Written by John Atherton, General Manager (Europe and Africa), Explorance.

Reading time: Less than 4 minutes.

Synopsis: Bluenotes EUROPE 2021 Virtual Experience was a resounding success, featuring engaging sessions, customer presentations, and the release of a landmark report examining student attitudes to feedback amid Covid-19. General Manager (Europe and Africa) John Atherton breaks down what that event and the last year of community efforts represents for Explorance. 

The success of the Bluenotes EUROPE 2021 Virtual Experience is, in many ways, testimony to our shift in focus over the past 12 months – bringing together the Bluenotes Community to network and share their experiences in an online medium.

Not only did we organise expert panel discussions, hands-on practical workshops, presentations by Blue Experience Management (XM) platform users, advanced Blue training camps, and the chance to speak directly with Explorance staff over the course of five days in March, but our ‘commitment to connect’ is one we delivered on throughout the pandemic.

We made an investment in better understanding the issues facing universities, both with the perspectives of academic and student leaders, and by capturing and acting upon feedback from students during Covid-19. Ultimately, sharing this insight with our Bluenotes Community was a huge feature of Bluenotes EUROPE 2021.

In our first event, we held an expert panel discussion to explore the learnings from our recent eBook published in November 2020, Engaging the student voice in our ‘new normal’: How are universities planning to capture, and act upon, feedback from students in 2020-21?. This drew on the perspectives of senior university leaders based in the UK, USA, United Arab Emirates, Lebanon, South Africa, Luxembourg and Switzerland regarding their approaches. Our expert panel reflected on this and shared further best practices from the Higher Education sector.

Then, in our closing event, we launched our insight report, Module evaluation in a pandemic and beyond, which gauged student leaders’ own experience of module evaluation surveys, how universities’ approaches to capturing student feedback via surveys shifted in the context of Covid-19 and lockdown, and what institutions can do differently going forward. At this session, we shared the findings from our research amongst students’ union teams in the UK and Ireland, with an expert panel unpicking these further.

In between these two major aspects of the conference, we enjoyed customer presentations highlighting their key achievements using Blue over the last year. We also learned from presentations by Explorance colleagues on closing the feedback loop, using HTML to improve response rates, utilising Dynamic Report Access for hierarchical report distribution, plus the latest tips and tricks for making Blue work more efficiently.

We will, in turn, apply the learning we have gathered from Bluenotes EUROPE 2021 to our developmental practice at Explorance, and advise universities that we work with on the best opportunities for innovation.

Finally, and going back to my opening line, I would like to reflect on the breadth and depth of opportunities we have developed for our community to come together since March 2020: a time where physical events have not been possible.

Our initial ‘Lunch and Learn’ webinar series last April covered data preparation, module evaluation analytics, and supporting staff and student engagement in module evaluation surveys.

We put together other expert panel discussions including:

We also ran a number of other practical online workshops for our community.

As a team, we are now busy preparing for Bluenotes GLOBAL 2021 Virtual Experience on 2-4 August, yet another example of how we are bringing our community together – to share their experiences in using student feedback to improve, enhance and shape the future of Higher Education.

John Atherton, General Manager (Europe and Africa), Explorance

John Atherton - Explorance General Manager, Europe and Africa


Learn more about the upcoming Bluenotes GLOBAL 2021 virtual conference

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