I would like to start this blog off by saying that I loved my time at university and on a whole; it was a great experience and helped me in ways I could only hope. The purpose of this blog is to highlight some flaws and areas of concern in the educational system I have experienced and provide some tips for new students.
First thing first university is a business, no matter how much they may say they care about their student body or how much time you spend there it is all about money, now this is NOT to say the teachers and lecturers do not care cause they truly do this is more a high up. Universities preferring growth to improvement at a time where many students are struggling to fund themselves and get used to living alone. Now there are often schemes in place to help students but in my experience, many poorly communicated and complaints rarely acted on, an example is the use of social communication and announcements.
The University in question for example has a twitter account for almost EVERY department and every course however expect students to either follow them on twitter or decode the bombard of information to get the information they want. I have heard that emails are a solution again this is false, we are often bombarded with information and it is like filtering the chaff to find something that is relevant to ourselves. Social media is a new tool for many educational institutes and it can often show a business’s inexperience with such means, this brings me onto marketing.
Last year the university in question introduced a swan mascot which at times on twitter promoted drinking events, stupid behaviour and was just a joke taken too far and now I have heard they have acquired another to represent the library in the form of an owl. Must a university degrade itself to be seen as fun and engaging, students are not children and surely it is the universities place to aide development and learning not be ‘cool and hip’. Again, I think the university is an amazing place and do some great things for the local community and its student body however it is these little niggles that make me feel concerned on the future of the place I loved best.
Therefore, here are some proposed solutions / ideas:
• Do not promote drinking, nightclub or promotional events focus on talks and student collaboration
• Do not appeal to students as if they are children i.e. use of sweets, money to get involvement, use of mascots.
• Concise information delivery, take down old posters, mention in lectures, do not rely on twitter or emails maybe add course optional events to student timetables
• Keep the power of the SU limited i.e. University polls ran by uni not handled by SU
• Do not focus on growing or expanding when issues existing issues lie, rapids expansion leads to higher failings and students feeling under appreciated.
• Use technology carefully, get students to make materials like posters, videos – it’s cheaper and makes them feel involved actively
• Keep departments separate and don’t let societies or courses rule others or shape the uni for everyone
So now, some tips for Students:
• If you have any issues go direct to the source, let them know else it can’t be fixed
• Get involved and take part – shape your experiences
• Money does not go as far as you think and there may be times where you struggle to find money for food so work together with others so to keep costs down
• Education is not the only thing you get out of university
• Do not be tricked by offers, freebies or other such tactics – everyone wants your money – EVERYONE