By Gee Harland
Speak Week is an opportunity for Cardiff University students to have their voice heard and bring light to issues within the University. It is a chance to give the University feedback and to share thoughts and ideas about all aspects of being a student at Cardiff.
After taking place last week, students took to stalls within the Students’ Union or across campus to fill out a Speak Week card. There was also an option to submit feedback online.
There was a mass of responses from students this year, resulting over 3,500 cards of feedback, breaking the 2018 record of 3,245 responses. Jackie Yip, Vice President of Education, informs Gair Rhydd that this breaking number of responses is still rising.
In a survey conducted for Gair Rhydd, some of the feedback highlighted during Speak Week included course books being available for free, more learning material available online and printed versions of module handbooks.
One student who provided feedback in the survey stated: “All modules in your course and year group should have learning materials available to you online. This is so it is easier to change modules at the beginning of term because as much information on them all is available to you as possible online”.
Jackie Yip identified for Gair Rhydd some of the most prominent and common ideas put forward during speak week. These included have access to microwaves and kettles, more or/and cheaper catering options everywhere on campus and getting a Greggs bakery shop near Park Place!
Another idea that was frequently put forward revolved around renovating the Arts and Social Study Library (ASSL). This is due to the ASSL have a leaky roof and general run-down exterior.
Another student who provided feedback in our survey stated: “The ASSL needs to turn off its radiators and open some windows!”
It will now take a couple of weeks for three interns to type up every single speak week card, as almost all the cards have multiple comments each and all their demographic data is recorded too. There will then be a report for 2019 released.
Gair Rhydd asked Jackie Yip what action would be taken from the report once it is released. The VP Education responded saying: “The report itself is taken with me to every senior meeting I sit on in order for me to lobby with facts and data”.
“For example, I was able to implement automatic lecture capture via this data, increase library book allowance, get more plug sockets in libraries and change the academic regulations to introduce fairer marking and end 0% mark for late submissions based on the statistics I could quote from the data we gathered”.
When asked about breaking the record of responses this year, she responded saying: “It is important to note that, although a massive achievement in itself, the number of comment and cards feed into significant reports that dictate the priorities of the Union and University for the next year.”
“For example, assessment and feedback was a huge thing for students last Speak Week, so now I am building a tool and app that will help students code their written feedback from lecturers as a result of previous data”.
Yip claimed that Speak Week was a great experience for both her and over fifty other volunteers as it had provided the opportunity for talking to lots of different students about what made them passionate and excited.
She concluded her summary of Speak Week by stating: “In terms of mechanisms in which students can raise their concern, they should definitely look to identify their student academic rep and engage with them about how they can pass on your concerns to get fixed and just come to me direct by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org”.