We're proud to see Herts student voices being listened to on a national level, contributing to important recommendations for the Higher Education sector.
On 6th September 2021, the University Partnerships Programme (UPP) Foundation released its Student Futures Interim Report. The report focuses on the future of learning and what a post pandemic higher education environment needs to look like based on student feedback. Ensuring that Herts played a key role in important research, your Students’ Union jumped at the opportunity to be involved.
Our Research Coordinator, Danielle Bradford, led a focus group with students at Herts where students were invited to discuss their experiences of studying throughout the pandemic. The analysed data from said group was presented to the commission, which has enabled our students’ voices to be reflected in this piece of work.
The three areas that the report covered are:
Digital and blended learning
Flexible transition period
Rebuilding academic and social confidence
”Students feel like all the interactions they have with other students have to be manufactured. It’s almost clinical, because you have to set up a zoom call or you have to arrange it beforehand. You can’t just bump into people and meet them naturally. And this has been a huge burden on students, who feel like all their social interactions are almost inauthentic” – Danielle Bradford, Research Coordinator at Hertfordshire Students’ Union
Digital and Blended Learning
Digital learning is here to stay, and Herts students are positive about the flexibility that online learning, scaffolded by a strong face to face offer, can bring. However, students want to see universities outlining what this looks like and really investing in student engagement in the longer term.
Flexible Transition Period
A flexible approach to students transitioning to university needs to be considered, especially for commuting students, mature students, international students and Black and minority ethnic students. A one-size fits all approach will not work.
Rebuilding Academic and Social Confidence
Students need time and support in rebuilding their confidence - not just academically, but socially and in terms of wellbeing as well. There may be some anxiety in terms of students getting stuck back into activities - or indeed, some overconfidence, which may manifest itself in excessive uses of drugs/alcohol - and this needs to be adequately supported as social 'norms' will take a while to rebuild.
This past year has given the higher education sector a lot to think about and reflect on. If there is one thing that will always stick, it is our duty of care to our students, which includes our ongoing commitment to rebuild the student experience for all. This starts with lobbying for Herts and Universities nationally to consider the feedback within this report when building what the future of education and the university experience looks like over the coming years. Universities now more than ever need to show that one-size fits all is not an option.