Amy Fox

Writer. Editor. Feminist knitting designer.

Concrete: Survey snubs hubs

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The hubs, which were introduced in September 2011, have received mixed feedback throughout the year. Most of the concerns surrounded the lack of receipts in the new system, and the time taken for work to be returned.

The survey revealed that 83.4% of students would prefer a receipt when coursework is handed in to protect against potential losses. While students are able to check receipt of their coursework on E:Vision, for most this does not appear to be enough. Overall, 60.2% said that their study support experience was made either worse or “a lot worse”, with 26.5% saying that it saying it had not changed.

Commenting on the results, UUEAS academic officer Meg Evans told Concrete: “The hub survey has produced some very interesting figures and comments from students. In the next couple of weeks, we’ll be analysing the results, writing to the University and lobbying for the changes that students want to see.”

However, Dr Andrea Blanchflower, director of the Learning and Teaching Service, defended the changes. She said: “The current system of coursework submission and return was already in place in parts of the University and was rolled out across all faculties as a standard process following the creation of the Learning and Teaching Service and the formation of the hubs.

“We recognised that a review of the process would be timely and engaged an external company to look at the process with us. The Students’ Union was invited to be involved in the workshop run by the company with a view to reviewing and redesigning the process. The recommendations arising from the workshop are now under consideration for introduction in the next academic year.

“The hubs are new and we are confident that we can tackle any initial issues by listening to concerns in order to improve our students’ learning experience.”

For many, however, the problems throughout the year have caused unnecessary stress. One second year LDC student said: “Since September, I have had coursework lost, had coursework returned weeks late, and been offered almost none of my first or second choices for my third year modules.

“Teething problems are simply not acceptable in a university environment where students are under enough stress and pressure already. Both the drop boxes and online submission appear to be flawless, but the hub’s main problem is its lack of informed staff. When distressed and anxious about my module choices (or lack of them), the hub refused to tell me how module decisions had been made, or how long it would take for them to process the changes. I still know only half of the modules I will be taking in my final year at university.”

If you have experienced any problems with the hub, let us know by emailing concrete.news@uea.ac.uk or comment below. Alternatively, contact the academic officer at union.academic@uea.ac.uk.

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