I hope you are keeping safe and well. The academic year so far has been a rocky one and I know how hard everyone has been working to try and keep on top of deadlines and learning. Things are tough right now and it is important to make sure you are staying connected and talking to one another.
I was lucky enough to attend an online session the other day and see first-hand how much resilience you are showing as students. Many of you are juggling child-care, working in crowded homes or struggling with WiFi and broadband as everyone is locked inside. You are doing it. A reminder that sometimes knowing when you need to break is the most important thing you can do. Take time and remember little and often.
We have a couple of notifications for you:
A new interface for Blackboard was installed on 8th February called Blackboard Ultra Base Navigation. Having previewed this upgrade, it seems to have a fresher, more modern look to it, and more obvious ways to access courses and organisations. Once you arrive, the actual courses and organisations are the same as they were before.
Please click over to ITCS’s Update Page to familiarise yourself with the new look and feel. The page has screenshots and screencasts and descriptions of what to expect.
Safety Net FAQs
I have had some questions around extensions and safety net/no detriment guidance. We have been given a link to the FAQs from the University, so I am sharing it with you here so you can refer to it if you are worried.
Supporting our Nursing Students. A Statement
We understand that things are tough for all our students now. We wanted to give a thanks for those fighting on the front line and help support them with issues around placement and completion/taking a break in study.
We’re working with the School of Health Sciences to ensure that students and apprentices are not disadvantaged by changes to structure of their course, especially where these changes result in a break in study or the extension of placement/theory learning into the summer. This includes where changes may result in rearranged childcare, accommodation, or other factors that may affect your ability to study. We’re already discussing these issues with your student representatives, with the relevant course teams and with staff across the School – If you’d like to feed into these conversations, please get in touch.
We have written to the CMA
The Consumer Marketing Authority (CMA) deals with issues surrounding universities and students as consumers of their services. We have written to them to see clarity around how the changes to teaching and learning might affect students position as consumers, and thus the grounds for complaints. For many months now there has been little attempt to provide clarity and this has resulted in either silence or unclear communication from various HE bodies and regulators that make it difficult for students to know where to go if their educational experience has had severe detriment to their outcomes. Further to this, we know all students experience has been altered and we want to seek clarity on why the lack acknowledgement that quality might not be to the same standard for all, isn’t being explored and reviewed. You can find the copy of my letter, signed by many other officers around the country, here.
We are currently working on making sure you know where to submit your concerns and complaints. Whether it be within the University, with the regulator or higher bodies; we want to make the process simple for you and we are taking steps to communicate this clearly and provide some opportunity for you to ask questions and seek clarity. More on this soon.
Education Hub is LIVE
You may have seen the news that the new Education Hub on the SU Website is LIVE. You can find it under Your Education in the main menu.
The Education Hub has been a passion project of two years. Collecting snippets of the most important things to students and combining areas of importance for education and representation. We have some fantastic students representing their peers, we have some great resources across the university and SU that students want to access centrally, and we have collected content that is accessible and relevant to our current discussions with students. The Education Hub puts a spotlight on all these areas in a one-stop-shop for students on our website. In the future, we aim to add good news stories about representatives and expand our collections of resources through discovering what our students are talking about and creating. This truly is a space created in response to student need and driven by student conversations and priorities, as well as showing off how our collaborations with the university really can do good for students. Thank you to all departments that have contributed to the space and if you would like to see something that we have missed, please do get in touch.
There is lots going on now and we are doing our best to work through it all. I always have loads going on behind the scenes and so if you have any questions or want to get involved with anything then please let me know via my Facebook page or email email@example.com