Friday 19 February 2016

Why the NSS is important for everybody

All over the UK students in their final year at university are being urged to complete the National Student Survey. iPads are delivered to core lectures. Lecturers present their students with rationales for why they should fill it in though at all costs must avoid influencing what they say.
There’s just a little pressure. One of the programmes on which I teach last year achieved 100% overall satisfaction. The rest were in the mid-nineties. Can we sustain that? Can we improve?
We take what the students are telling us seriously. Even though there were a lot of positives last year there were still things we needed to address. For example, we looked at:
·         The imbalance of critical and practical drama courses.
·         A continued lack of understanding about some of the feedback and marking.
·         A desire for more one-to-one sessions. 
We fixed these things.
Arguably, of course, we’re responding to students who are about to leave and students who are still with us may have other desires. Yet surely everyone will be happy about a new third year practical drama module? About getting even more clarification about what marks and feedback mean?  About having more chances to work one-to-one with tutors without losing precious contact time in class? 
People who take part in surveys can shape the future. The information that students give us via the NSS really is extremely useful.
There they were then, beavering away last week in a core lecture, filling in their responses.
“They’re writing a lot,” I said to my colleague.
“Well what do you expect?” she replied. “They’re creative writers.” 
Yes. They’re certainly creating something through their writing.
If you’re a final year student and haven’t yet filled in the NSS, why not go to and shape the future.

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