Help the university make real change

Flo Ingram, chair of the Education Network, writes about the importance of using your student voice.

What works and what doesn’t?

Making degrees better would be far more difficult without feedback from other students. Without feedback, there is little way to inform the staff who build your programmes, individual units and assessments what works well and what just doesn’t. This is why the National Student Survey (NSS) is so important.

Tell us about your experience

As you complete your degree and regardless of whether you begin your career or continue your education further, the NSS gives you one last opportunity to give feedback about your experience on your course. By providing feedback about the good and the bad that you have experienced throughout your time at Bristol, you provide invaluable information from which real changes can be made. This is especially important with the introduction of the blended learning environment: what aspects of this learning will stick around? What will the future of higher education look like? Your feedback will help to determine the answers in this crucial year.

You can drive real change

Lecture Re/Play, an increase in the library hours cap and assessment mitigations this year are just some of the changes which have been driven by the hard work of student reps as a result of student feedback. Of course, the National Student Survey is one of many ways to provide this feedback; there are countless other ways throughout the duration of your degree. Course reps regularly feedback the information gathered from cohorts about your units, which is more important than ever with reduced lecturer interaction from the pandemic. Education Network Forums and Surveys are also great ways to discuss your experiences in a safe environment, at a faculty or university wide level.

Take the NSS – it only takes 15 minutes

Your feedback through the NSS will ensure that Bristol maintains its reputation for providing an excellent education going forward, so you can continue to have pride in your University of Bristol degree throughout your life.

Take the survey now.

My COVID-19 university experience outside of student life

I’m George and I’m studying BSc Politics and International Relations.

What volunteering I’m doing whilst studying

Whilst at university I’m volunteering as a Special Constable with our local police force, Avon and Somerset Police. In this role, I hold the same powers as a regular police officer and patrol alongside them by preventing and detecting crime to help keep the community safe. Engaging with the community through my volunteering has allowed me to engage with the wider community, which is great because I learn something new or exciting about Bristol every day. I volunteer at least 16 hours a month, however I recognise the importance of breaking the study cycle at university so often commit to more hours.

Police officers from behind
My colleague and I in Cabot Circus

How I balanced this with university life under blended learning

Under the blended learning approach, I used the best of a challenging situation to use the recorded lectures and reading requirements of my course to commit to more volunteering hours. Further, at times in the working week where I may not have been available in the past, I was able to help my local policing team, using weekends to study. My volunteering has helped me become more independent and develop my people skills. It can be hard to balance at times, but I have been learning to manage studying, social activities and volunteering under what is sometimes a stressful time.

Photo of Brandon Hill
Brandon Hill is a great place to go for a daily walk whilst in Bristol

Following the rules

While our university experience is different to what we’re all used to in the previous years, it’s for a reason. We’ve all seen the amazing work our NHS have done during the pandemic and would not want to put extra strain on our hospitals or emergency services who are having to deal with coronavirus cases. We all definitely would not want to put vulnerable members of our community at risk. So please stick to the rules and remember to social distance from course mates and other households when the lockdown period ends.