Forum-style platform, Unitu, has been given a major recent revamp, allowing students to better engage with Arden University.
In a previous iteration, the platform had been in place since 2017, but a recent review showed it wasn’t quite hitting the mark. Sophie Harrison, Managing Director of the Student Association, and her team, have worked with Unitu to reset and relaunch the platform and gives students a voice. With support from Suzie Mitchell, Director of Student Experience, and buy-in from Faculty Deans across the university, this has truly been a collaborative approach.
‘Since August, we have been developing significant positive changes to ‘reset’ how staff and students engage with the platform,’ said Sophie. ‘We want to achieve success through improved resolution times, clearer accountability across staff, and develop a culture with students on the best content to post on Unitu, including sharing new ideas for change.’
'We also need to ensure students get timely responses to their queries and ideas. Some posts may be more complex, but we should strive to reply with transparency throughout the process, not just when we reach resolution.'
Changes in the pipeline include: Re-designing all feedback Boards to be School focused, with no Blended or Distance split; Developing the role of student representatives on Unitu to focus on private feedback boards; and introducing key administrative staff across the University, Faculty, and professional services, to deliver day-to-day assigning or immediate response, as well as moderators for the platform.
Sophie, Suzie and their teams have already started to deliver these positive changes, including comprehensive and new staff training in partnership with Unitu.
‘A key change is around staff engagement,’ said Sophie. “We audited the current list, which has over 500 staff members on it, and found many do not engage with the platform. We’re introducing a new structure to ensure we’re clear about accountability for all services and departments, but also to ensure the right colleagues are checking in on posts based on their experience, expertise, or specialist area.'
This change to staff on the system has already been embedding over the last few weeks, with specific staff assigned having access to brand new training and resources to support how they best respond, and work with other colleagues, to help students.
As the platform continues its evolution, the team will work with students and staff to ensure it provides an authentic space for students to raise feedback, challenges, and ideas, but also so staff can engage with it to generate discussion in their respective area.
Over the coming months, we will look at how these changes become part of our university culture and how we can start to develop analytics that will shape future developments.