The ICU feedback board trial has launched in three departments at Imperial College and will run until the last week of June. The project is designed and facilitated by myself, Union Deputy President (Education) Daniel Lo, with the objective of improving the Union’s support for both academic and well-being student representatives (reps).
The feedback board was designed to help reps collect student feedback on a centralised platform to effectively close the “feedback loop”. In addition, the board helps departmental staff and reps to make bi-monthly Student-Staff Committees more productive, such that these meetings can focus on high-level issues instead of short-term queries that often can be fixed quickly.
Students can anonymously post their academic or welfare-related queries on the feedback board, where everyone in their cohort can both view, and interact with, the posts. Year reps act as moderators to gatekeep post submissions to ensure the content is appropriate and cohort-related and raise feedback to the appropriate departmental staff. Year reps will also notify students on the same platform once they receive a response or an update, effectively closing the feedback loop. All feedback is automatically collated onto one platform, making the process more convenient for students. Welfare signposting links, departmental staff, and rep contact details are also included on the same platform to effectively direct students to the College’s student support services and increase rep visibility.
To evaluate the effectiveness of the trial, the Union selected three departments across various faculties and levels of study: BEng/MEng Materials, BSc/MSc Physics, and various MRes/PhD courses in Chemistry. The decision was also based on a recent rep feedback survey conducted by the Union, in which a strong desire to introduce an online feedback tool was felt.
The feedback board project received strong interest and support from current reps and the College, who thought that the board could make collecting feedback more manageable and the results more accessible. Vice-Provost (Education and Student Experience) Emma McCoy said that “The feedback board trial is a really positive step towards improving the student experience. Having a consistent approach to logging and monitoring feedback will enable the ICU to close feedback loops; identify overarching issues and evaluate how they are responding to feedback. I look forward to seeing the outcomes of the trial and what lessons we can learn and use elsewhere.”
RSMU Vice President (Education) and Materials Departmental Rep George Morgan commented, “I like the idea and feel as though it would be useful in our department. Very happy to support this moving forwards.”
This initiative will positively impact students, the College, and the Union. The feedback board can improve communication between students and their departments, strengthening student-staff collaboration and perception of a considered student voice. I am looking forward to expanding the scale of the project so that more students and staff can benefit from it.