2020 has been quite a different year and whilst we head towards the holidays and our usual run-up to the end of term plans may have changed somewhat, we are embracing change and focusing on creative and innovative solutions here at RUSU…
1) On the 10th November we held the first Student Voice of the academic year. There was great discussion around the three Change It ideas put forward by students and we had an impressive 55 students attend online! Interested in coming along to the next one? It will be at 6pm on Tuesday 2nd February – get it in the diary now.
2) The Student Covid Review: A total of 588 students completed the RUSU Education Officer’s Student Covid Review in a 3 week period between Monday 5th October – Sunday 25th October, with a 79% open rate. Findings included: the teaching delivery and take-home exam format have been two successful policies, and it’s positive to see this snapshot of students recognising that. Lessons learned from the safety net/no-detriment policy should inform future decisions, with focused efforts on ensuring all students have some form of mitigation in the time of national crisis. Any proportion of student being ‘left behind’ should be avoided.
3) As a result of the Student Covid Review our RUSU Education organised The Student Comms Forum – whereby students had the opportunity to feedback directly to the uni on the coronavirus communications over the summer on the 3rd December.
4) As a response to an increased online working environment, RUSU Representation department reinvested in the digital online Rep tool, ROSIE. RUSU’s Rep Online Student Evaluation tool is a quick and easy digital tool for Student Reps at the University of Reading to use to help record student feedback in a virtual world and ensure the student voice is heard. Following ROSIE's successful Pilot during the first year of the SV&P project, where over 250 Student Reps were trained to use the tool and more than 293 utilised it over two months in 2019, it has been continued for this following 2020/21 academic year. Watch here to find out exactly what ROSIE is and how to use it!
5) Your RUSU Education Officers have been working hard over the last year to ensure that the feedback you get on your assignments is good quality and actually useful for you. The University have recently set up a working group to review the policy – great news! But we still need your help: go to rusu.co.uk/rosie to give your feedback so George can raise it at the group.
6) RUSU has become a partner with Student Minds SUs. They’re a community designed to empower you and your Students Union to become leaders in mental health and ensure it is at the forefront of the university's agenda throughout the year! We’re still at the beginning stages of the partnership but email firstname.lastname@example.org@rusu.co.uk if you would like any more information about this or how you can get involved!
7) This year RUSU took part in SOS-UK’s Green Impact Awards and achieved the highest accreditation possible! The awards are a subdivision of NUS and recognise a Students’ Union’s commitment to sustainability and creating a greener future. As a result new green schemes have been introduced at RUSU and the award application highlighted lots of great practice already taking place at the Students’ Union. These have included the creation of a brand new sustainability policy, partnering with a sustainable goods company and creating our own library book swap in the relaxation room. There’s loads of ways for students and staff to get involved, just message us for more details or check out the page on our website: rusu.co.uk/sustainability.
8) Based on your feedback and due to adapting to Covid-19 restrictions we have moved our Rep training online to ensure it is accessible and easy for every student to use. We had over 300 Student Reps participate in some form of online Essential Rep training or Chair training over 17 sessions spanning Sept, October and November in 2020.
9) After getting feedback that there was nowhere for students to go and participate in online interactive sessions when on campus, Jess Flack, PG SAGES Senior Rep, saw an opportunity. Jess has been working with Tom Sizmur, School Director for PGT programme in SAGES, to create allocated ‘noisy’ rooms in the Russell building. There are now two designated rooms in the Russell building for students to go and freely participate in online seminars and the usual study space is being kept as a quiet room! Well done Jess.
10) RUSU have teamed up with the University to create the Community Action Partnership (CAP) Group. We’ve been busy collecting the opinions of students and the local community to help break down any barriers between us and the community around us. If you have any feedback or want to get involved, let us know by emailing email@example.com
11) As part of the Student Voice and Partnership Steering Group the Student Representation Policy has been refreshed and a new Student Staff Partnership Guidelines document was created and sent out to UoR staff and Student Reps alongside useful resources that came from student and staff consultation. Some of the highlights from the project include but are not limited to;
In a poll survey that the RUSU Education Officer sent out in November 2020, asking which method of teaching delivery you prefer more? The results showed:
46.2% of students answering the survey said - face to face
34.1% of students answering the survey said - current blended
19.8% of students answering the survey said - online
RUSU Representation team