What difference has StudentSurvey.ie made in your institution?
Since 2013, over 300,000 first and final year undergrads and taught postgrads have used StudentSurvey.ie to share their thoughts and feedback with their higher education institution. But in that time what difference has StudentSurvey.ie made in your institution? How have the results been used to enhance the student experience across the 25 higher education institutions that take part?
We are asking staff and student representatives to reflect upon 9 years of StudentSurvey.ie and how this major national survey has made an impact in your institution.
What was the result that triggered a response from the institution?
Analysis of free-text responses identified 3 areas that the Library could directly respond to in strategic and operational planning:
Free-text data relating to Library Staff has always been complimentary highlighting the supportive and helpful approach that is always present. This aspect is appreciated, maintained and built upon.
What did the institution do to respond to this feedback?
The feedback received was carefully considered by the Institute. This was done to ensure that the feedback could be categorised appropriately and that it was reflective of the student voice.
Physical space for Study
Group Study Rooms:
In response to the range of group projects built into the academic curricula, and the importance of collaboration and peer-to-peer engagement to student learning, 5 group study rooms were made available within the library spaces together with an online booking system for same.
For individual study spaces, a refurbishment in 2015 was planned and implemented to ensure that different types of individual study seating were made available. This included a mixture of:
(a) individual desks,
(b) potential for 2-person collaboration at round tables,
(c) high-task seating.
Increased space was also made available for computer usage.
Disability spaces & Services
The library introduced specific seating that could be used by wheelchair users, without any additional staff input, and also scanning facilities for students to ensure that they can act as independent learners as much as possible.
Opening hours, Self-Service & Access
The library hours were extended to offer onsite physical study space and staff supports from 8am - 10pm Mon-Thurs, 8am-5pm Fri and 9am-4pm Saturdays. These hours were in response to demand and also in recognition of the increasing numbers of part-time and online learners who need space outside of core working hours.
In recent years there has been extensive investment in self-service options to continue to widen service access routes such as self-service book borrowing, renewals and returns. This covers onsite and online services.
The library has been an active participant in the Midlands PAL initiative ensuring access to our physical spaces by members of the local community. This was extended to include Leaving Certificate students before their exams.
Collections & Supports
The library has significantly increased the range of electronic resources and especially e-books available to students and staff. It has also created a new online platform for students to view new collection items under their subject areas as they are purchased. It has also established resources on subject-relevant Open Educational Resources (OERs) for students including free online textbooks.
The library team has developed online subject guides, instructional videos and a brand for instruction ‘Library Live’ to ensure that students don’t just have access to collections but have access to the best advice and tips on finding and using those collections, in support of their academic work.
The library has expanded collections in the area of Positive Living & Wellbeing to give students access to a full suite of reading materials to manage themselves and their time in college.
Laptop On-Loan Initiative:
The library led the institutional response for this initiative to ensure that students from a range of disadvantaged backgrounds have access to the IT devices they need to fully engage in their studies.
What was the impact of the response?
Reflecting the Student Voice in Library planning
The most meaningful impact of all of the student feedback and library responses is the development of the Student Voice in library strategic and operational planning. The Library regularly reiterate that they want to hear and are open to all feedback. This messaging has resonated with students and is reiterated by the Students’ Union (SU) which has ensured a very open, positive and productive dialogue.
Engagement with Student Reps
The library has regular meetings with the SU, and are available to respond to immediate/ongoing issues and communicate with the student class reps as a group, and present at their training sessions also. With these successful relationships in mind, the Library established their own Library Student Ambassadors initiative which sees students meet with their peers to inform them about the library.
Collaboration with Students
The library has developed multiple new collaborative campaigns with the Students’ Union, particularly with the Education & Welfare Officers. Campaigns have covered key study skills, successfully completing assignments, and exam prep on the academic side of things. There were other broader areas like collaborating with the SU for Pride Week, to include curating a list of LGBTQ+ reading materials available to students from their collections.
The library views their role as one that can help further amplify the Student Voice in the wider organisation as much as within library planning. They feel the Student Survey is an important element of their own processes for continual improvement, as well as a significant route to accessing feedback from the students.