A student, beginning their journey of attending a Higher Education Institution (HEI), is set to enter an environment and educational process that was devised without any consultation on their part.
With the great changes that the past year have wrought on the sector, the importance of incorporating the voices of students, who are at the center of the institution’s mission, is vital. Each opportunity for contact, or touchpoint, can be capitalized upon as a chance for listening, receiving feedback, and gathering crucial information that can ultimately improve the student experience.
The benefits of encouraging and incorporating students as active participants in their own educational experience will further prepare them as stakeholders in future institutions they interact with. These include civic, educational, or employment-related organizations.
Real progress needs real feedback. HEIs can look at every touchpoint interaction they have with a student as an opportunity to hear and nurture the student voice. Here are seven ways in which the student voice can be given a platform.
- Embrace the breakout
Every opportunity to meet with smaller groupings of students, and facilitate direct consultations, is a crucial opportunity to let the student voice be heard. In a remote learning context, these activities can be realized using video conferencing technology. Engagement tools like Bluepulse allow for targeted discussions around a specific topic, question, or resource shared. Once that educational element is shared, then the discussion feature can be activated, and the breakout can begin in earnest.
- Make use of mobile
A touchpoint that is in (almost) every student’s pocket. Utilizing a student consultation and feedback tool that seamlessly integrates with the most vital communication tool – a modern cellphone – is a must for HEIs looking to encourage rapid and ongoing feedback. Doing so with digital tools that are light on data use, space consumption, and have ease-of-use built in, is even better.
- Let student representation shine
Where possible, integrating nominated class representatives into the decision-making processes and course delivery will help ensure student concerns and perspectives are heard. This individual can become a touchpoint in student / institution relations, with even informal, ad-hoc roles better empowering small academic groups to function in a more responsive manner.
- Virtualize office hours
The time-honored tradition of highlighting designated periods in which students can come by and consult, in person, with instructors is one that can be easily extended to virtual video-conferencing. By strongly promoting the practice, extoling its virtues and extending it to video-conferencing hours in the case of remote learning, an unfiltered, one-on-one opportunity to hear the student voice can be grasped.
- A space for feedback at any time
Ensuring that students are informed and aware of at-any-time feedback avenues is important. Students can provide the most accurate and detail-rich grade of feedback when they have rapid access to a method with which to do so – swiftly putting a voice to realizations and reactions. Keeping students well-informed as regards where feedback can be provided, at any time, 24/7, helps ensure student voices are not stifled.
- Paying close attention to cultural touchpoints
As active public institutions, HEIs work in rhythm with public holidays, occasions, and events. By consulting with, and responding to, the diverse cultural needs and calendars of students, a more thoughtful and respectful relationship can be achieved. Inviting this diversity of voices to present their priorities in a confidential platform (such as that supported by Bluepulse) will help to ensure all voices can be heard.
- Tending the post-graduation relationship
While up-to-date student feedback is important, maintaining contact post-graduation is increasingly vital. Students who have graduated in the past 12 months will have experienced an unprecedented environment, with experiences that are unique. Collecting their mature reflections and experiences, as they progress into a post-student space, ensures their voices are not lost and that your HEI is better equipped to listen to the voices of graduated students, who can offer vital hindsight and perspective.
Tending to and expanding on these touchpoints will help to bridge the divide between institutions and the students who attend them – with feedback being easily collectable via remoting learning.
Staying in touch with the overall student experience is an on-going challenge. It’s one that Experience Management platforms like Blue were built to address. A HEI that that can apply continuous listening principals and process a plurality of student voices and concerns stands a much better chance of increasing student retention, and realizing a higher percentage of successful student experiences.
Course evaluations•Student experience•Student Experience Management•Student feedback•Student voice•