Closure Report

Project Summary

The University has a clear commitment to excellence in learning and teaching and enhancing the student experience. To ensure that the University maintains a high quality student experience it is essential that all students have an opportunity throughout their study to reflect on and evaluate their experience of academic life and the wider service offering. To this end the University engages with its students through a variety of mechanisms with a view to learning from and responding to the student voice from students individually, collectively or through their representatives.

The University's  commitment to working in partnership with students is articulated at the highest level in the University’s Strategic Plan and the University Learning and Teaching Strategy. Staff at the University of Edinburgh currently work in partnership with Edinburgh University Students’ Association to:

  • ensure that students are central to governance and decision making,
  • ensure that students are central to quality assurance and enhancement,
  • provide opportunities for students to become active participants,
  • foster collaboration between students and staff.

The Student Voice Policy was approved in November 2017 and its purpose is to outline the University's approach to gathering, learning from and responding to the student voice.  It was recognised however that the current method for facilitating communications between students and their representatives is variable across the University and that the student experience could be greatly enhanced to provide easier, systematic feedback for escalation and resolution.

This project is an options analysis focused on investigating the process of student feedback through programme reps. It aimed to look for ways to improve the student experience by analysing the current methods, gathering requirements from staff and student representatives, exploring alternative methods and finally to provide an options appraisal with a recommended way forward. 

In Scope

The project identified the requirements for a solution that would provide a feedback channel between student and student programme representatives. It assessed these requirements against an internally developed Learn or Microsoft Teams solution and the 3rd party student voice platforms Unitu. Based on the assessments the project made a recommendation on the best solution to meet the requirements.

The following was in scope for this project:

  • Review the currently used feedback methods and document the as-is processes for class representatives.
  • Work with stakeholders to produce the 'future state' for the two key users; Students and Programme Representatives.
  • Produce set of requirements that meet the needs of the different user groups.
  • Assess suitability of Learn to meet these requirements
  • Assess suitability of Microsoft Teams to meet these requirements
  • Assess suitability of Unitu to meet these requirements
  • Research the market and other universities to assess any other 3rd party options
  • Production of options appraisal and recommendation report detailing:
    • Suitability of solution to meet requirements
    • Estimated costs to implement and support
    • Estimated timescales for implementation
    • Estimated resource requirements

Out of Scope

  • Development/procurement or implementation of recommended solution
  • Production of any tender documentation.
  • Vendor demonstrations
  • Production of DPIA
  • Analysis of other modes of Student Representation i.e. activities reps, section group reps etc.

 

Objectives and Deliverables

The overall aims for the full implementation project are:

  • When needed, students can easily identify who their programme representative is
  • When needed, students can easily provide feedback to their programme representative
  • Close the feedback loop by ensuring that students can view progress on the feedback they have provided to their programme representative and see what the University has done with the feedback provided

With these aims in mind the following objectives were identified for this analysis project:

ID Description

Priority

(MoSCoW)

Outcome

O1

To understand the various communication channels currently used by the class representatives and students

MUST

 

D1.1 Process maps (if appropriate) and detailed notes and evaluation of the various tools used (and any administration tasks associated) M  Completed
O2 To agree the ideal 'future state' that will give students the best feedback experience MUST  

D2.1

Set of prioritised user stories/ requirements that depict the future state for all stakeholders

M

 Completed

O3

To evaluate the options available that could deliver the 'future state' and make recommendation

MUST

 

D3.1

Options paper that considers both internal and external solutions and presents the findings in terms of requirements fitness, cost and timescales for implementation.

M

 Completed

Analysis of Resource Usage:

Staff Usage Estimate: 31 days

Staff Usage Actual: 35 days

Outcome

The outcome of the project appraisal meeting was to progress with 2 internal pilot's using Microsoft Teams and Learn.  It was agreed on grounds of cost combined with the unfavourable feedback received from a number of existing users, that Unitu should be discounted.

It was decided that both Microsoft Teams and Learn could fulfil our requirements with contrasting strengths and weaknesses.  It was proposed that a pilot of both options should be arranged for the start of the 2019/20 academic year.  This would confirm the suitability of both solutions and provide a basis for the selection of one of the options to provide a university wide student feedback tool. 

There was a consensus that the pilots should be spread across a selection of Colleges, targeting both remote and on campus students and to include join programmes.  It was proposed that EUSA would advise which programmes might be the most suitable to participate in the pilot.  During the pilot phase the overall messaging and communication process should be considered to ensure that the preferred solution will be used appropriately and will encourage buy in from both student and staff communities.

It is expected that as with this initial options appraisal, Fraser Muir would manage the pilots via another cross-College project in the next academic year.

Key Learning Points

Project progressed well but there were a number of issues that led to delays:

  • Project hiatus due to PM leaving and replacement not being immediately available.
  • Initial delay led to resource conflict that further delayed the project.
  • Business analyst was initially unable to contact 3rd party provider.

These delays led to us having to re-engage with stakeholders when their input was required during the options appraisal stage of the project.  Better project communications with stakeholders during these quiet periods would have retained their engagement with the project.

Outstanding Issues

None

 

Project Info

Project
Student Voice
Code
HSS023
Programme
CAHSS Portfolio Projects
Management Office
ISG PMO
Project Manager
Ken Miller
Project Sponsor
Fraser Muir
Current Stage
Close
Status
Closed
Project Classification
Run
Start Date
14-May-2018
Planning Date
06-Jul-2018
Delivery Date
14-Feb-2019
Close Date
29-Mar-2019
Overall Priority
Normal
Category
Discretionary