Sarah Britten-Jones, Amber Jones, Daisy Stevens and Amelia Wylam
Since the university sector in the UK has expanded over the last 30 years, concerns relating to a loss of quality and the growing consumerism of higher education have led to an increase in student feedback processes (Harvey, 2011). It is now expected that universities will ask students for their expressed opinions, especially in relation to the student experience.
Recent empirical insights from Oxford Brookes University (OBU) student representatives and Brookes Union highlight a need to show students how representation and feedback systems work and how decisions are made in response. An initial audit of student feedback mechanisms revealed an absence of a systems map of feedback processes, making it difficult for our transient student population to gain a holistic understanding of the whole system and their ability to influence it.
Student feedback impacts university decision-making, but students mostly respond to our systems rather than help generate them. Heimans & Timms (2018) observed a power shift in our institutions, reminding us that young people today expect to shape and actively participate in their world. More partnership working with students is therefore needed to co-design their interactions with universities (Jisc, 2021).
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Harvey, L. (2011). The nexus of feedback and improvement. In C. Sid Nair, & P. Mertova, Student feedback: The cornerstone to an effective quality assurance system in higher education (p. 4). Cambridge: Chandos Publishing.
Heimans, J., & Timms, H. (2018). New Power. New York: Doubleday.
Jisc. (2021). Student digital experience insights survey 2020/21: Findings from UK higher education (pulse 1: October-December 2020). London: Jisc.
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