FEATURE: Long Journey to JOMEC

LONG JOURNEY
TO JOMEC

By Emma Videan

 

A BREXIT-like response?

Out of one hundred students, more than half who had experienced JOMEC’s previous home, Bute, did not believe that the move to Two Central Square was worthwhile. The building, located in the city centre, is part of the university’s wider £600m investment into new facilities.

A large amount of the justification behind this change has been the potential to have journalism students working alongside the Welsh media industry including BBC Cymru Wales and Reach, the home of WalesOnline, the Western Mail and South Wales Echo. Gair Rhydd’s survey focused upon whether or not the building has improved the student experience. It also gave students the opportunity to openly comment about their likes and dislikes.

The demographic of the students surveyed were largely JOMEC students, however nearly 15% of these students studied a ‘Joint Honours’ degree. For students that study as part of other faculties, a common criticism was that they had to rush between buildings. One student reported being forced to change their module option, as they were unable to arrive on time to their lectures and seminars.

“There aren’t enough study areas, the library has hardly any and is crowded and difficult to work in…”

Perhaps the most negative results from the survey were about the study spaces. 49% of students surveyed said that the building only met ‘some’ of their study needs. These needs could include quiet and social study areas and access to computers and printers.

One third year student who gave this response commented, “There aren’t enough study areas, the library has hardly any and is crowded and difficult to work in as people queue in there for lectures.”

On the other hand, 16.7% of students said that the building met ‘all’ of their needs, with one student saying, “I would rather travel an extra 15 minutes for a new building with better facilities [than remain in Bute].”

An aspect that the majority of the students agreed on was the quality of the teaching rooms. 87.3% of students rated the lecture halls, seminar rooms and studios as being ‘good’ or ‘excellent’. Only 12.7% students said that they were ‘average’, while no respondents rated them as ‘low’ or ‘poor’.

A first year student who rated the teaching rooms as excellent commented, “Modern with a professional feel and sets a good working environment.”

The teaching space is made up of four lecture theatres, including a 300-seater hall, six newsrooms and four editing suites, two TV studios and two radio studios with updated, enhanced technology and an Innovation and Engagement lab. Cardiff University sees these improvements as bringing the faculty fully in-line with the industry standards.

“Bute was a shared space, and although it was nice and had a ‘cosy’ feel, it was also a bit run-down.”

The final question asked was in regards to whether the move to Central Square was worthwhile overall – 29.4% of students had never used the Bute building, so they were unable to answer this question objectively. The general response was split. 38 students did not see the relocation as being worthwhile, while 34 approved of the move.

When asked why students thought this, the opinions were very strong. A student who disagreed responded, “Walking the extra distance isn’t worth it – lots of people are late to lectures/seminars which is disruptive! Joint honours students don’t have time to get from buildings on campus to the new building in town.”

On the other hand, another student argued, “Bute was a shared space [with Architecture], and although it was nice and had a ‘cosy’ feel, it was also a bit run-down. Plus Central Square is really nice and is right next to the future home of the BBC!”

Each person was given 2 opportunities for an open response. Out of 204 total opportunities, 95 comments were left. 71% of responses were negative, 17% were mixed and only 12% were positive. This could be because, according to research, people are more likely to leave negative comments than positive ones.

However, it should be considered that the majority of students have complaints about the new building that was promoted as being “outstanding”.

CGI Walkthrough of Two Central Square.

Source: Cardiff University


“An underwhelming reveal with room for improvement…”

There’s no doubt about it, moving the Journalism, Media and Culture faculty to Central Square this year is taking some adjustment. Cardiff University seemed absolutely thrilled to announce that the new building would be ready for the beginning of the academic year. However, after using it for a few weeks now, I would argue that ‘ready’ is a bit of a reach.

Let’s address a concern of many – the distance. In my first year, I lived in Talybont North and became accustomed to walking 25 minutes to university. I then had a blissful second year where I was able to get to my 9am lectures on time if I left the house at 8:50am. This year however, with the new building I’m back to walking around an hour a day in total.

Personally, the walk isn’t the thing that bothers me the most as I tie in my daily walks with a visit to PureGym that is conveniently located next to Central Square. What bothers me the most about this building is that it doesn’t seem to be designed to include the features that many students loved about the Bute building. It feels as though the building has been built to look as modern as possible without bearing in mind the practicality of the facilities.

“The new ‘library’ can hardly be classified as such. It is a few bookcases put in a glorified hallway…”

The library and general study space is extremely worrying to me. Undergraduate JOMEC courses, especially, are research based, so it would seem only natural to me that the most important feature in the building would be the library.

In Bute, the library was excellent. It was large, well-organised, and had separate rooms depending on the noise level that students required. In my opinion, the new ‘library’ can hardly be classified as such. It is a few bookcases put in a glorified hallway with a splattering of small desks that are not comfortable to sit at for more than an hour.

Being constantly interrupted by students arriving and leaving their seminars and lectures makes reading a 50-page chapter on media regulation extremely challenging. I understand that at the back of the building there is a quiet study room, but from my experience so far the room is practically a sauna due to heating issues and even when the heating is fixed the room will be far too small for the amount of students requiring a quiet place to study, particularly around deadline and exam season.

What I will say is that I think the lecture halls and seminar rooms are of a very high standard. Aspects such as new projectors and power sockets in every lecture hall are a real benefit and there is no denying that rooms in Bute were certainly looking very tired. While I am not a postgraduate myself, it looks like there is an abundance of studios for these students that will be great for the Masters students that have the opportunity to use them, albeit some of them are still unfinished thus far.

“Besides the fact that it is a very confusing layout, it just seems unfinished.”

While the general technology updates in the building are impressive, with huge screens and fancy projectors, some changes are definitely unnecessary. Needing a key card to get through almost every door seems unnecessary, and the huge screens could surely be used for something more appropriate, such as the news, rather than just the JOMEC logo.

Overall, the new building is underwhelming. Besides the fact that it is a very confusing layout, it just seems unfinished.

It appears there has been a rush to show that elements of Cardiff University’s regeneration are being completed. There are builders inside every day and the entire surrounding area is a building site. Personally, I would have preferred to stay in Bute until every issue including heating, bins, and keycards has been completely tried, tested and resolved.





Third Year: JOMEC should have provided train/bus
passes for students, as many students are walking the
30-minute walk up to 6 times a day due to disjointed
lectures.”







First Year: The building is much more modern now and
that is crucial for such an innovative and relevant
degree as you need to be up to date in all aspects”









Second Year: As a joint honours student who also
lives in Cathay’s Terrace, the new building
is extremely difficult to reach and even
when there are no timetable clashes, I still
get to classes late or in immense hurry”


JOMEC’s Response

When all responses were gathered, Gair Rhydd sent the full set of results from the survey to Stuart Allan, Professor and Head of Journalism, Media and Culture at Cardiff University for his response.

“We are grateful to the students who took the time to complete the survey. The results are encouraging in the main, and where concerns have been identified, we are endeavouring to sort them out.

“The advantages of our new location certainly outweigh the disadvantages, although we appreciate some students have a longer journey from their residences.

“We have asked the University to see what can be done where allocating accommodation is concerned. Issues such as signage to help with movement within the building, availability of vending machines, heating / cooling in certain areas, noise in the library, recycling options, water outlets, and so forth, are being addressed as swiftly as possible.

“We thank everyone for their patience as we all work together – staff and students – to determine how best to make the most of our new facilities. The University’s substantial investment in our School demonstrates its confidence in us, and also represents a marvellous opportunity to move JOMEC forward for even greater success.”

A BREXIT-like response?


Out of one hundred students, more than half who had experienced JOMEC’s previous home, Bute, did not believe that the move to Two Central Square was worthwhile. The building, located in the city centre, is part of the university’s wider £600m investment into new facilities.

A large amount of the justification behind this change has been the potential to have journalism students working alongside the Welsh media industry including BBC Cymru Wales and Reach, the home of WalesOnline, the Western Mail and South Wales Echo. Gair Rhydd’s survey focused upon whether or not the building has improved the student experience. It also gave students the opportunity to openly comment about their likes and dislikes.

The demographic of the students surveyed were largely JOMEC students, however nearly 15% of these students studied a ‘Joint Honours’ degree. For students that study as part of other faculties, a common criticism was that they had to rush between buildings. One student reported being forced to change their module option, as they were unable to arrive on time to their lectures and seminars.

“There aren’t enough study areas, the library has hardly any and is crowded and difficult to work in…”

Perhaps the most negative results from the survey were about the study spaces. 49% of students surveyed said that the building only met ‘some’ of their study needs. These needs could include quiet and social study areas and access to computers and printers.

One third year student who gave this response commented, “There aren’t enough study areas, the library has hardly any and is crowded and difficult to work in as people queue in there for lectures.”

On the other hand, 16.7% of students said that the building met ‘all’ of their needs, with one student saying, “I would rather travel an extra 15 minutes for a new building with better facilities [than remain in Bute].”

An aspect that the majority of the students agreed on was the quality of the teaching rooms. 87.3% of students rated the lecture halls, seminar rooms and studios as being ‘good’ or ‘excellent’. Only 12.7% students said that they were ‘average’, while no respondents rated them as ‘low’ or ‘poor’.

A first year student who rated the teaching rooms as excellent commented, “Modern with a professional feel and sets a good working environment.”

The teaching space is made up of four lecture theatres, including a 300-seater hall, six newsrooms and four editing suites, two TV studios and two radio studios with updated, enhanced technology and an Innovation and Engagement lab. Cardiff University sees these improvements as bringing the faculty fully in-line with the industry standards.

“Bute was a shared space, and although it was nice and had a ‘cosy’ feel, it was also a bit run-down.”

The final question asked was in regards to whether the move to Central Square was worthwhile overall – 29.4% of students had never used the Bute building, so they were unable to answer this question objectively. The general response was split. 38 students did not see the relocation as being worthwhile, while 34 approved of the move.

When asked why students thought this, the opinions were very strong. A student who disagreed responded, “Walking the extra distance isn’t worth it – lots of people are late to lectures/seminars which is disruptive! Joint honours students don’t have time to get from buildings on campus to the new building in town.”

On the other hand, another student argued, “Bute was a shared space [with Architecture], and although it was nice and had a ‘cosy’ feel, it was also a bit run-down. Plus Central Square is really nice and is right next to the future home of the BBC!”

Each person was given 2 opportunities for an open response. Out of 204 total opportunities, 95 comments were left. 71% of responses were negative, 17% were mixed and only 12% were positive. This could be because, according to research, people are more likely to leave negative comments than positive ones.

However, it should be considered that the majority of students have complaints about the new building that was promoted as being “outstanding”.

CGI Walkthrough of Two Central Square.

Source: Cardiff University




“An underwhelming reveal with room for improvement…”

There’s no doubt about it, moving the Journalism, Media and Culture faculty to Central Square this year is taking some adjustment. Cardiff University seemed absolutely thrilled to announce that the new building would be ready for the beginning of the academic year. However, after using it for a few weeks now, I would argue that ‘ready’ is a bit of a reach.

Let’s address a concern of many – the distance. In my first year, I lived in Talybont North and became accustomed to walking 25 minutes to university. I then had a blissful second year where I was able to get to my 9am lectures on time if I left the house at 8:50am. This year however, with the new building I’m back to walking around an hour a day in total.

Personally, the walk isn’t the thing that bothers me the most as I tie in my daily walks with a visit to PureGym that is conveniently located next to Central Square. What bothers me the most about this building is that it doesn’t seem to be designed to include the features that many students loved about the Bute building. It feels as though the building has been built to look as modern as possible without bearing in mind the practicality of the facilities.

“The new ‘library’ can hardly be classified as such. It is a few bookcases put in a glorified hallway…”

The library and general study space is extremely worrying to me. Undergraduate JOMEC courses, especially, are research based, so it would seem only natural to me that the most important feature in the building would be the library.

In Bute, the library was excellent. It was large, well-organised, and had separate rooms depending on the noise level that students required. In my opinion, the new ‘library’ can hardly be classified as such. It is a few bookcases put in a glorified hallway with a splattering of small desks that are not comfortable to sit at for more than an hour.

Being constantly interrupted by students arriving and leaving their seminars and lectures makes reading a 50-page chapter on media regulation extremely challenging. I understand that at the back of the building there is a quiet study room, but from my experience so far the room is practically a sauna due to heating issues and even when the heating is fixed the room will be far too small for the amount of students requiring a quiet place to study, particularly around deadline and exam season.

What I will say is that I think the lecture halls and seminar rooms are of a very high standard. Aspects such as new projectors and power sockets in every lecture hall are a real benefit and there is no denying that rooms in Bute were certainly looking very tired. While I am not a postgraduate myself, it looks like there is an abundance of studios for these students that will be great for the Masters students that have the opportunity to use them, albeit some of them are still unfinished thus far.

“Besides the fact that it is a very confusing layout, it just seems unfinished.”

While the general technology updates in the building are impressive, with huge screens and fancy projectors, some changes are definitely unnecessary. Needing a key card to get through almost every door seems unnecessary, and the huge screens could surely be used for something more appropriate, such as the news, rather than just the JOMEC logo.

Overall, the new building is underwhelming. Besides the fact that it is a very confusing layout, it just seems unfinished.

It appears there has been a rush to show that elements of Cardiff University’s regeneration are being completed. There are builders inside every day and the entire surrounding area is a building site. Personally, I would have preferred to stay in Bute until every issue including heating, bins, and keycards has been completely tried, tested and resolved.

Third Year: JOMEC should have provided train/bus passes for students, as many students are walking the 30-minute walk up to 6 times a day due to disjointed lectures.”

First Year: The building is much more modern now and
that is crucial for such an innovative and relevant degree as you need to be up to date in all aspects.”

Second Year: As a joint honours student who also lives in Cathay’s Terrace, the new building is extremely difficult to reach and even when there are no timetable clashes, I still get to classes late or in immense hurry.”


JOMEC’s Response

When all responses were gathered, Gair Rhydd sent the full set of results from the survey to Stuart Allan, Professor and Head of Journalism, Media and Culture at Cardiff University for his response.

“We are grateful to the students who took the time to complete the survey. The results are encouraging in the main, and where concerns have been identified, we are endeavouring to sort them out.

“The advantages of our new location certainly outweigh the disadvantages, although we appreciate some students have a longer journey from their residences.

“We have asked the University to see what can be done where allocating accommodation is concerned. Issues such as signage to help with movement within the building, availability of vending machines, heating / cooling in certain areas, noise in the library, recycling options, water outlets, and so forth, are being addressed as swiftly as possible.

“We thank everyone for their patience as we all work together – staff and students – to determine how best to make the most of our new facilities. The University’s substantial investment in our School demonstrates its confidence in us, and also represents a marvellous opportunity to move JOMEC forward for even greater success.”






Credits


Authors

Emma Videan

Photography

Luisa De la Concha Montes
Rightacres Property Co. Ltd

Online Production

Michael Ash

Editor

Michael Ash

Publication Date

29 October 2018

All images used with permission.

css.php