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Liverpool Hope Student’s Union

Course Representative Handbook 2012/2013

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Shauna Fivey Vice President Education 2012/2013

Dear Course Rep; I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate you on becoming a Course Rep. Being a Course Rep is a great opportunity to shape your course, bring about positive changes to your department and be involved in the Students’ Union. This handbook is one of many tools available to help support you in your role, it is designed to support you and help you develop your skills as a representative As a Course Rep, you’ll get to stand up for students and voice their matters to your department to create an overall better educational experience. Thank you for joining our representation and democracy team, I look forward to working with you. Feel free to contact me anytime. Email: vpresed@hope.ac.uk Telephone Number: 0151 297 3651

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Rebecca Maynard Course Rep Officer 2012/2013 Hi! My name is Rebecca Maynard and I am your Course Rep Officer of Liverpool Hope Students’ Union. Congratulations on being voted in. You are in a position of power, power to change your course to make a better educational experience for the years to come and for you in the current year. I am here if you need extra support and advice on how to be the best Course Rep possible. I have been a Course Rep for two years and continuing on for this year.

Being a Course Rep means you can change something with our help. I hope to hear from you soon. Email: courserepofficer@hope.ac.uk Thanks, Rebecca.

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What Is a Course Rep? Course reps:  Are the people you can go to if you have issues or concerns about your course  Actively and regularly seek students’ opinions on all aspects of their course, including Library, IT, teaching, tutors and assessments.  Represent students on key committees within Departments and also across the University  Receive training from the Students’ Union that enables them to deal with a range of issues relating to the experiences of students here at Liverpool Hope.  Work with other course reps to propose changes and to campaign for improvements  Are fully supported by the Students’ Union and the University.  Involving students in decisions that affect the operation and the future development of their courses is valued really highly by both the University and the Students’ Union. So course reps are a vital link between students and academic staff.

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Your Role as a Course Rep What will I do? As a course representative at Liverpool Hope you will aim to improve students’ education, through representing what students on your course want to University staff in your department. You will: • Gain experience in public speaking, problem solving and team working • Campaign to improve education • Tell students in your department what decisions are made • Represent students’ views on Staff Student Liaison Committees [SSLCs] • Be a central part of the Students’ Union and work with Officers, other Reps to engage students with national issues affecting education What will I get out of being a Course Rep? • The unique opportunity to improve your course • Chance to meet other Reps and students in your department • Great way of being involved with the Students’ Union • A full training programme • Opportunity to expand your skills • Understanding of how your department and the university works • Prospective employers want to see more these days than just a qualification. If you can show you’ve done something outside the parameters of your course then this will prove you can juggle different responsibilities.

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Duties and Responsibilities: • Recognise student issues and suggestions by consulting, involving and reporting back to students. • Representing the views of all the students on your Course whether you agree with the opinions expressed or not. • Attending, participating in, and raising student issues at SSLC • Giving feedback to students and the Students’ Union on the matters that were discussed at your meetings. •

Attending training

• Seeking to bring attention to and minimise the impact of change on students and ensuring the student voice is considered in decisions. • Liaising with other Course Representatives and Students’ Union on issues affecting students on your Course •

Providing a contact point between staff and students.

• Motivating the students you represent by encouraging their involvement and action in the decision-making process •

Promoting Equal Opportunities.

• Complying with the University’s Rules and Regulations for Students.

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What issues might come up? • Assessment & feedback Lack of prompt/detailed feedback on work. • Resources Teaching areas or library/I.T may not meet students’ needs. • Anonymous marking If work is not marked anonymously then it could be marked unfairly due to predetermined decisions or discrimination. • Teaching methods Learning styles not suiting students, lack of hand-outs • Module Registration: Difficulty to get onto preferred modules, poor guidance for students in choosing their modules •Hidden Course Costs Students could be expected to pay for course hand-outs, other materials, placement travel costs and field trips are they reasonable? Is there notice given of these costs?

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How do I help Other Students? When confronted with a situation please consider the questions below and then work your way through the Issue decision tree so as to resolve it. Do you have an issue? How you present an issue is vital to how effectively it is resolved; the more detail the better.

Why is this an issue?

How were you made aware of this issue? Has a complaint been made? Have you been approached by students?

· is this issue? Where

Who does the issue affect?

Does the issue affect one one programme/the year · group?

Does the issue affect undergraduate or postgraduates, males or females, home or international students, mature students, campus-based students, distance learners?

Does it affect teaching quality? Does it impact on the student’s ability to learn? When is it an issue? Does the issue only become a problem during lectures/seminars, when it relates to examinations/assessed work, a particular tutor, a particular area of work?

Does it affect more than one student?

Yes

Is it urgent?

Yes Speak to the relvant programme Leader

No

Advise the student to see the SU

No

Bring issue up at SSLC

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Where to take an Issue? If an issue needs dealing with quickly, it should be brought to the attention of the apporopriate staff member.

Course Leader

Head of Department

The Student’s Union

Staff Student Liaison Committee (SSLC)

Student Sounding Board Focus groups

Course Representative Meetings

The SSLC The SSLC stands for “Student Staff Liaison Committee” and is basically a meeting between senior staff and student representatives to discuss what’s going on in that department. Every Course rep is automatically a member of their Department’s SSLC. SSLCs work differently in different departments but they will all have Class Reps, course co-ordinators (who organise the different modules), lecturers and other members of staff on them. The SSLC will usually be held twice a semester. Make sure you do attend, as this is the most important way for you to communicate directly with senior staff and to raise issues and concerns. The SSLC will discuss all and any aspects of academic life within their Department.

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Conduct in meetings It can be intimidating walking into a room full of your lecturers, supervisors and people who you respect and who are widely respected in their field. You must remember though, that you know something that they don’t and cannot. You know the real student perspective on how the department is run, and the real student experience. They rely on you for this. However, for a good student rep, the actual meeting is not the first step in making changes… 

Find out when your meetings are. Ensure that at least an oral report from you is a standing item on the agenda.

Let your students know that a meeting is coming up and make sure you have researched whether there is anything that you should bring up.

Mention some points that you intend to bring up, which may generate more feedback than just an open question.

Arrange a meeting with your other student reps to discuss any issues that you’d like to bring up, if you know you have each other’s’ support before the meeting you will feel far more confident. Remain professional and focused, never shout or target a particular member of staff. Sometimes you may disagree with the majority of your cohort but you must still raise the issue as if you felt as strongly as they did about it.

Find out when your meetings are. Ensure that at least an oral report from you is a standing item on the agenda.

Before any meeting ask yourself two questions. 1. What do I hope to be able to contribute to the meeting? 2. What do I hope to be able to get out of this meeting?

Always be polite, positive, constructive and assertive

Be prompt, even early and take your papers with you. Arriving early is an excellent way of having informal chats with people, getting settled in and making yourself comfortable

Avoid interrupting others to make your contribution and don’t let people interrupt you. If someone does, point out that you would like to finish your comments before people give their suggestions.

Support other speakers, if someone’s argument seems unclear, try to rephrase their point but try not to be patronising.

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How do I know what my course mates think? Before you go to a meeting as a course rep, you need to gather as wide a range of opinions as you can. Remember, you are there to represent the views of the whole group whether or not you agree with them all. There are several different ways of communicating with the students you are representing;

Facebook

Email

Survey Monkey

Twitter

Notice Board

Focus Groups

Talk to your

Blogs/Wordpress

classmates

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Have your say,

Be the change, Be a Course Rep

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LHSU Course Rep Handbook 2012/13  

Course Rep training handbook for new Course reps

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