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1 CEC 10/17/4 OPEN UNIVERSITY STUDENTS ASSOCIATION Central Executive Committee (CEC) 13 15 October 2017 OFFICER AND COUNCIL MEMBER REPORTS The CEC is asked to:- i) receive the reports ii) note that unless this paper is starred for discussion prior to the meeting, printed copies will not be supplied. Reports submitted by:- Vice President Administration Vice President Communications Vice President Community Vice President Education Vice President Equal Opportunity Vice President Representation and Research Vice President Student Support Student OU Council Member

CEC 10/17/4 OPEN UNIVERSITY STUDENTS ASSOCIATION … · 2017-10-05 · 1 CEC 10/17/4 OPEN UNIVERSITY STUDENTS ASSOCIATION Central Executive Committee (CEC) 13 – 15 October 2017

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    CEC 10/17/4


    The CEC is asked to:- i) receive the reports

    ii) note that unless this paper is starred for discussion prior to the meeting,

    printed copies will not be supplied.

    Reports submitted by:-

    Vice President Administration Vice President Communications Vice President Community Vice President Education Vice President Equal Opportunity

    Vice President Representation and Research Vice President Student Support Student OU Council Member

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    Central Executive Committee (CEC)

    13 – 15 October 2017


    Summer 2017 has, for me, been very much the ‘deep breath before the plunge’ looking forward to the start of Conference planning and Rules revision both of which will commence in the immediate future. While there has not been much by way of formal meetings there has still been a fair amount of activity related to the V P Administration remit. I was delighted to confirm the constitution of the latest affiliated Society, the O U Business Associate Society earlier this month. Societies are also now in their annual finance report stage and I am currently working on their accounts and advising, where necessary, as to what is required. Speaking of accounts, the annual subvention was finally approved and while it was disappointing not to get the intended three year deal, the Association did get a modest funding increase. It does mean, however, that we will need to negotiate again this coming year for 2018/19. Alongside this, we were able to produce a budget for 2017/18 which was approved by the Board of Trustees. The auditors conducted their regular, in this case the first under the new auditor team, audit earlier this month and are due to present their findings and recommendations on Friday September 29th. The annual finance reports to Council, Companies House and the Charity Commission will follow from this. Aside from this I have been drafting a revised complaints and disciplinary procedure which will be presented to the CEC for comment at the upcoming meeting and I would also welcome comments from the wider student community. The other major project is a review of C E C remits and I would like to acknowledge the contributions of my colleagues who have been very helpful in detailing what their actual roles are. Both of these projects are scheduled for a full presentation at the January C E C meeting. OU Redesign / Transformation Project has been a major issue over the summer and the occasion of much discussion within the C E C and also on the Redesign forum within the ‘Talk to your Student Association ‘ forum which has provided a lot of valuable student feedback. Aside from commenting on issues within the C E C forum I was able to attend a workshop on the proposed operating model, in particular its impact on the student experience. It is, I would say, very much a work in progress. As a Trustee, I attended the meeting of July 27th details of which are given in the Trustees report to the C E C. I was also present at the Pride marches in London and Manchester to support PLEXUS and as a volunteer at the London Graduation Ceremonies in September. I have also had, when on campus, meetings with office staff to discuss issues relating to my remit. Meetings (since July 1st 2017) 1-2 July 2017 Central Reps Seminar 8 July 2017 Pride London

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    11 July 2017 Pre Audit meeting 11 July 2017 OSL Directors’ Meeting 14 July 2107 OUSET Trustees’ meeting 14 – 16 July 2017 CEC meeting 17 July 2017 Curriculum Design Student Panel Management Group 27 July 2017 Board of Trustees Meeting 15 August 2017 ‘Phone meeting with Volunteer Officer 26 August 2017 Pride Manchester 7 September 2017 OU Redesign Operating Model Workshop 15 – 17 September C E C Informal meeting 22 - 23 September London Graduation Ceremonies 29 September 2017 Audit meeting

    Peter Cowan Vice President Administration

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    Central Executive Committee (CEC)

    13 – 15 October 2017


    Summary Since July 2017, I have been able to complete several areas of my manifesto that I was elected to achieve. I have managed to launch the new OU Students website, revitalise the OU Students VLE; I have also had an input into the new student study dashboard and student pages through our regular service review meetings with the university. As always I will continue to empower the Association to work on increasing the exposure and awareness of our services and the student voice; this is even more of a priority subject due to the National Student Survey results. I will be looking at ways we can incorporate the feedback from the New Students Survey into the communications that the Students Association produce and will be looking at ways to reach more students for feedback to influence our communications strategy. OU Students Magazine As of the 22nd the latest mag edition has been opened 42,592 times. The theme of this magazine was new beginnings and moving forward. The magazine introduced our new freshers and welcome back weeks; and included a varied amount of topics, encompassing feedback from students and our other readers such as OU staff members. Work continues on the magazine to ensure the design and layout is both as aesthetically pleasing (ie. Enjoyable to read) and accessible (eg. Not cramming too much onto a page etc.) as possible. The last edition was 44 pages long – so a significant rise in interest from potential contributors. If this trend continues we may begin to be more selective in the number of ‘long reads’ per edition. However, we still encourage members of the CEC to submit articles as the magazine is consistently one of our most popular communications channels, and a great way to get the news out there about the great work they’re doing. OU Students Association website redevelopment We are proud to announce that our new website oustudents.com went live on Thursday, 21 September with the old site on the University platform redirected. Key pages on the old site have been redirected to the new page to assist search engine optimisation. As project sponsor, I am very grateful to the support of the Central Executive Committee for approving this project, thankful to the OU Students Association communications staff team and website project which included the Head of Volunteering and the Head of Communications. The University’s IT department will archive the old site’s content. We will announce the site to the University in early October when some ongoing issues are solved. The new website uses all of our own branding and is well optimised for mobile and tablet use. If there is any feedback on the website please email [email protected] with the subject header OU Students Website. Please bear with us whilst we allocate the resources from the prior website to the new one and under the Association area headers.

    mailto:[email protected]:[email protected]

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    The website also includes a database for volunteers which will help keep volunteer information applications in one place. You can create a new account for logging into the website; these details will not be the same as your Open University Student Home log in details. Please visit www.oustudents.com/register to register; you do not need an account to use the website. We have also started working with RNIB Business to audit the site for accessibility. The first part of this is complete and they have given a number of recommendations. We will implement these changes as we work towards meeting AA standards in the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. RNIB have also recommended we alert students to this website - https://mcmw.abilitynet.org.uk which gives a number of practical hints and tips for users of assistive technology. In October, we will start working with the Disabled Students Group to develop a microsite to replace their current website. They will be able to use the same functionality as oustudents.com and will showcase new branding. OU Students Association Social media Our number of Facebook Likes has now started to rise sharply ahead of Freshers to 28.4k. We have run a number of paid campaigns for Parkinsons volunteering the Autumn magazine, the by-election and STUDIO. On Twitter we have had over 500k tweet impressions since July and over 30k visits to our profile. We have also had a sharp increase in followers on this platform – now topping 20k. The highlight of the last few weeks on social media has been the #OUunboxing initiative which has been hugely successful on both Twitter and Facebook – as students shared photographs of their new materials. The OU Students Association continue to be mindful that not all students use social media to communicate with each other; as part of the communications strategy (2018) we will be experimenting with publishing all news links to news and blogs, volunteering opportunities and any key topics to our virtual learning experience forums. These forums are currently undergoing an overhaul with some forums migrating over to our new platform such as Talk To Your Students Association. OU Students radio (STUDIO) No date set yet for the next show, though it will likely be in early December. As staff are no longer hand-picking the hosts, but letting the radio host team self-select, it’s a bit more difficult to provide more than the week the show will be in. We refer to STUDIO as student-led because, unlike former shows, the hosts; topics; music; schedule; guests (etc.) are all suggested by and decided by the STUDIO host team. They work collaboratively with one another on forming show themes and discuss new ideas. Then, members of staff help them to polish up the show into the final product. The staff and rep teams have the opportunity to record ‘ad breaks’. OU Students Association forums (Virtual Learning Environment)


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    As mentioned earlier in this report; the OU Students Virtual Learning environment is being updated and overhauled to provide a much cleaner accessible safe space for students (past, present and future) to engage and create a vibrant community. Following a period of the VLE CEC online consultation, a final VLE structure was redrafted with the support of the Operations Team. This structure is now in the process of being implemented:

    1. OU Students Information – update of general information 2. Study Support Forums – merger into the new faculty structure, including

    review of the existing forums’ structure which may no longer be in use or where there is no module presentation

    3. Meet Students - migration of the existing structure into the proposed streamlined structure, review of the existing forums which may no longer be in use.

    4. EDI – creation of a new space and forums (looked after by VP Equal Opportunities)

    5. Events and Community – creation of a new space and forums; and merger with the existing structure

    6. Your Support – migration of the existing forum structure into the new proposed structure

    7. Your Student Voice – creation of a new space and forums (looked after by the Students Voice Team)

    8. Elections - migration of the existing forum structure into the new proposed structure

    9. OU Students Volunteering – creation of a new space and forums (looked after by Students Volunteering Team)

    10. OU Students Communications – creation of a new space and forums (lead by VP Communications and looked after by the Digital Communications Team)

    The aim is to deliver the new structure before 7th October 2017 (as per original schedule), however due to the level of complexity associated with the review of the regional structure, there might be a week delay to ensure that the migration of forums is carried out efficiently. We currently have a specialised forum for students to raise concerns and questions about the Open University Redesign project (https://learn1.open.ac.uk/mod/forumng/view.php?id=15809 ). This space is for members of the students association to discuss with their peers and student representatives about the project; this forum sits within the suite of forums called ‘Talk To Your Students Association’ - https://learn1.open.ac.uk/mod/subpage/view.php?id=13935. Raising awareness and reporting back As part of my awareness drive, through our quarterly service review meetings with various OU staff members and the representatives of the Association; we have been able to secure a small piece of reference to the OU Students Association in the Open University enrolment emails and getting ready to study emails. We have requested through these service review meetings the details of any student emails that are sent throughout the year to look at where we can place our comms going forward. As part of the communications strategy we will be harnessing these areas to improve awareness of the Association at the earliest stage for students in their academic


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    year; this will help to create a vibrant community which promotes engagement, inclusivity, support and ultimately will aid in student retention and success. As mentioned in July, the OU Students Association Student Support team have been working on updating the community page on TutorHome. The Head of Digital Communications and our Research and Information Officer Pooja, have also had a meeting with Lucian Hudson (Director of Communications, Open University) about the Open University staff awareness; this meeting reaffirmed the commitment that the university will continue to work with and promote the Students Association. We have also been given a date for next years Charter Day in which we will continue to promote the Association to the University through exposure to our services and the Student Voice. We also mentioned in this meeting that we are intending to run another Student Voice week in 2018, but we have since been informed that a series of Student Voice days are being planned). Finally in this meeting we reiterated the need for the University to support and spread awareness of the services that the Association can provide which will benefit to SST as well as tutors and faculties. OU Students Association Strategy for Communications From initial meetings, we have decided that we will not only be focusing on student communications from the Association, we will also be focusing on the other stakeholders and targeting them. Such as OU Staff, Associate Lecturers, SRSC’s, Prospective Students, Returning Students, New Students. Discussions are still in the early stages but we are broadening our external communications to encompass all that may be interested in the OU Students Association. We will also be focusing on how to improve internal communications such as between the Central Executive Committee, the Central Committee Representatives and any other volunteers within the Association to be able to collectively understand and support the issues raised by all the students that we represent whilst collectively reporting back to all students and stakeholders involved which will inevitably improve satisfaction with what the Association is doing and ensure that the University hear the Student Voice. Launch of Freshers and Welcome Back weeks After speaking to several students throughout my first term, it was apparent that continuing students felt that freshers was only for new students. As the Associations mission statement includes creating a vibrant community for all, I discussed with Stephanie Stubbins (VP Community) ways to create inclusivity in significant student moments. We decided that we should use the two weeks for freshers to meet all the needs of students rather than just focusing on new students; this is because every student is a member of the Association regardless of their length of time with the Open University. We also felt that there were many students who may not be aware that they are members of the Association and that we exist. Therefore, we felt that we could not only introduce new students to the Association through a Freshers week, but we could also welcome back returning students. We also alongside these two weeks decided to send out segmented mailings to both new and continuing students with information targeted to the student about the Association. Moving forward, the communications and community teams will schedule these weeks as far in advance as possible to allow for the committee and students to influence and be included in the decisions about these weeks and the types of activities included. As well as reducing the impact on resources for the communications team for scheduling and preparation purposes.

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    Round Robin internal CEC newsletter Due to my increased workload outside of the Association, I am unable to continue this newsletter; I have had comments from CEC members that this initiative was useful in preparing for their committee papers and understanding what other members have done between formal business. As the communications team have limited resources; this initiative may not continue. Looking ahead The Digital Communications team and myself have several projects planned for the third quarter of 2017. These are as follows:

    1. Restructuring and updating of the Communications strategy for the Association – ongoing work with the Head of Communications; a paper will be submitted to CEC in January 2018 for comments and then for approval in April 2018 ahead of the next Vice President Communications taking up their position.

    2. Improving and increasing OU Students Association awareness and exposure of our services, areas of work and achievements (not limited to this committee).

    3. Updating the OU Students Association Wikipedia page (once we have the website updated).

    4. OU Live (Staff intranet) and TutorHome information update about the Association (once we have the website updated)

    5. Inclusion of more ‘hot topics’ in the OU Students magazine and on our website/forums/social media pages.

    6. Continuation of the work with the OU Students Association Communications team and the Director of Communications about promoting the Association across various university platforms as well as our own. This will help with increasing the awareness of the Association for tutors, students and moderators.

    7. Collection of all mediums and platforms in which OU Students Association information is shared across the university, to ensure that the relevant information is being shared to all stakeholders.

    8. Creating best practice guidelines for all communications for the Association to relieve some of the pressure on the communications team.

    9. Assisting in the creation and dissemination of the annual impact report for the Association that is suitable for students and other stakeholders to read.

    Meetings attended since 27/07/2017 I have not had any formal scheduled meetings; I have had ad-hoc conversations with Lucian Hudson (Director of Communications, OU), Kate Dungate (Head of OU Students Communications) and a meeting with the comms team regarding the new strategy. I have also had phone conversations with Magda Hadrys (Head of OU Students Operations) about the Virtual Learning Experience forums. *Please note, as I now have started a new job, I will not be able to have traditional working hours meetings.

    Rachel Hughes Vice President Communications

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    Central Executive Committee (CEC)

    13 – 15 October 2017


    It’s that time again, students are busy organising their study areas, waiting for module material, finding their way around module websites and stocking up on stationery. Its’ a ‘new’ academic year for O U students. We are seeing ‘deskie’, unboxing material’ and ‘stationery’ photos pop up on social media; as students are chatting enthusiastically about beginning their new modules. I have joined in with the excitement getting ready for my 2 new business modules, drawing up a study plan and getting myself organised. It has been a pleasure to hear from ‘new’ students who are just starting out on their student journey. Networking with other students and being part of the O U student community seems to be an important message theme running through conversations We have had a new edition to our association staff in our community team. I would like to welcome our new ‘Head of Community’ Peter Turner who has come on to help support us all in our activities, projects and plans. We will also be recruiting another member of staff to join the community team soon. Bath Residential School Planning for the Bath residential school continued through June and July starting with a Residential School Training, attended by new and existing residential school representatives. I attended the 2nd week of Residential school as a lead representative and the last week of residential school in my capacity as V P Community. We concluded with a de-briefing with the community team and looked at what we could improve or change next year. All in all, it was a great success and positive feedback was received back from the representatives who took part/ Community Drop-in Sessions We held our first ‘Community drop-in’ session (in O U Live) on the 13th July 2017. I continued to host them fortnightly; as a trial activity to see if it was useful for bringing students together. We have had 6 successful gatherings in the online room, with between 15 – 23 students attending. We will be promoting these on the new website and will be moving to Adobe Connect online room at some point. We have recently recruited 2 new ‘community drop-in co-hosts’ (Kate Withers and Colin Pritchard) who and these sessions will continue as a fixed fortnightly activity. Up-coming sessions will be held in our O U live room on: - 4th and 19th October, 2nd and 16th November. Freshers Freshers planning has been ongoing since July and we have taken on board feedback from students about previous Freshers week, to include welcoming back continuing students. We have created our first ‘Freshers Fortnight’ celebrating all things O U with Facebook chats, competitions, O U Live sessions, radio show, forum


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    activity, local meet-ups, sharing of useful information and much more! The first week (25th- 29th September) is dedicated to ‘New’ students who are beginning OU study for the first time. Activities and events covered include ‘Welcome to your Students Association’, ‘Library and Careers, Student Voice Day, Groups and ‘Student Support Services’. On Saturday 30th September Area Association Representatives are hosting their own face-to-face events as part of Freshers. The second week is (2nd – 6th October) is dedicated to our returning students who may be coming along to find out how to get more involved as students, gaining skills and experiencing volunteering. Activities and events covered include ‘Welcome back to your Students Association’, ‘Societies’, ‘Community’, ‘Volunteering’ and ‘Studio’ (which is a student-led radio show). There is planned Student Hub Live sessions. On the 3rd October at 6pm Sheila Cameron (D S G – Chair) will be talking about the Disabled Students Group. On 4th October at 10.30am I have been invited to talk with O U staff from Learning Design about the opportunities for volunteering with the O U. I am then doing a second session at 1pm with Cinnomen McGuigan (Area Association Representative for Northern Ireland) where we will be talking about the O U Students Association, who we are, what we do and what is available for students. Community Champions I have been involved in planning the training for our new ‘Community Champion’ volunteers. We have had over 30 applications and volunteer support packs have been sent to them all. Their training will be taking place on 12th and 17th October in an O U live online room; continued support will be offered through the community team, volunteering team, the Areas Association Representatives and myself. We are hoping they will be in place in early November. Meet-ups After a successful Big June meet-up, meet-ups have continued to happen around the and between June - September there were ’31’ meet-ups for O U students, with meet-ups happening on Saturday 30th September around the U K and beyond as part of Freshers. We are making plans for a ‘Big October Meet-up’ as a Halloween special, with themed activities and competitions for students can do during these linked gatherings. This will be complemented with a live session in an online room. We will be holding a Christmas day online meet-up to support students who are alone at this time of the year and there are further plans for future ‘Big Meet-ups’ next year. Membership Services I was invited to attend the N S S Memberships Services Conference in Liverpool on the 15-16th August, to host a session on ‘Volunteering for Students with Barriers to Getting Involved’ with our Volunteering Team. The event was planned sessions hosted by other Unions, Associations and Guilds and the majority in attendance were paid Union Staff. There were various hourly sessions open throughout each of the two days and you had multiple choices to


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    choose from. Volunteering was a key theme of the day, along with student voice, getting students more engaged and making the most for N S S services. Our own session started with an introduction to what volunteering means at the O U Students Association and how we are different to other universities. We explained diversity and demographics of our association members the various volunteering opportunities the O U Students Association offer. I relayed my personal experience as a distance learning student with disabilities, how I became aware of the O U Students Association and volunteering. We hosted a workshop type around ‘At your Union/Association, what groups do you find hard to engage?’. We concluded by sharing tips on ‘how to make volunteering more accessible to disabled students’. There were only a few sabbatical officers who I introduced themselves and I talked to many other ‘brick’ University staff members throughout the 2-day event. We discussed the differences and similarities between there organisations who focus on their ‘on campus’ students and the O U Students Association whose members who work with distance learners. I felt welcomed by everyone at this event and felt we gained a great insight into how other Unions, Associations and Guilds work. Many of them were surprised that as an organisation they didn’t cater for their ‘off-campus’ students and distance learners. They were interested in the way we work as an organisation and took back ideas from us, they felt they could implement as best practice. O U S A Working Groups I attend Inclusion Meetings and have just finished working on the ‘Virtual Learning Environment Restructure Working Group’, ‘Grassroots Recommendation 2 Working Group’ and the ‘External Engagement in the Nations Working Group’ O U Working Groups I have been involved in Student Engagement Project (focused around Student Ideas, Student Shadowing, Student Partnerships), University Consultative Executive and attended the first meeting of the new Student Consultative Management Group. I am on the Online Rooms Steering Group, Enhanced Employability, Careers Progression Steering Group, and National Student Survey (NSS) Steering Group. Meetings and Events Attended 22 June Residential School Training 23 June Online Rooms Steering Group 3 July OU Redesign pre-meeting 3 July Membership Services Conference planning meeting 3 July OU Redesign Listening group 5 July Association use of Student Ideas meeting 6 July Student Engagement Project meeting 7-10 July Bath Residential school 11 July OSL (OU services ltd) Directors Meeting 11 July Residential School debriefing meeting 13 July Inclusion Meeting 13 July Community Drop-in Session (OU live)

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    14 July Residential School Meeting 14 July Enhanced Careers and Employability meeting 14 July Update Meeting Community Support 14-16 July CEC weekend 17 July University Students Consultative Executive pre-meeting 17 July University Students Consultative Executive meeting 19 July Enhanced Careers and Employability meeting – Skype 20 July Sustainably Academic Communities Workshop 25 July Online Rooms Steering Group 26 July Enhanced Careers and Employability Catch up – Skype 27 July Community Drop-in Session (OU live) 2 August Membership Services Conference planning - Skype 10 August Community Drop-in Session (OU live) 11-14 August Bath Residential School 14-16 August NUS Membership Services Conference - Liverpool 18 August Catch up with Rachel Hughes 21 August Student Engagement Project Initiatives (Workstream C) meeting 21 August Meeting New Head of Student Community 21 August Freshers Planning Meeting (with Community Team) 23 August Online Rooms Steering Group 24 August Community Drop-in Session (OU live) 7 September Community Champion Training – Planning meeting 7 September Membership Services Presentation Meeting 7 September Community Drop-in Session (OU live) 13 September Enhanced Careers & Employability Progression Steering Group 13 September Catch up with Sam Harding (Head of Student Voice) 14-17 September CEC and Association Staff Weekend 18 September Student Consultation Management Group 21 September Community Drop-in Session (OU live) 25 September Online Rooms Steering Group (Skype) 25 September Freshers - Welcome to your Students Association! (Facebook

    event) 26 September Student Hub Live Planning (Skype) 28 September Supporting D S G (Facebook Event) and Live chat (OU Live) 29 September Freshers - Student Support Services (Facebook event) Future Commitments: 2 October Freshers - Welcome back to your Students Association!

    (Facebook event) 3 October Freshers – Societies (Facebook Event) 4 October Student Hub Live – Volunteering Slot with LTI 4 October Student Hub Live – Association slot with Cinnomen McGuigan 4 October Freshers – Community (Facebook Event) 5 October Freshers Special - Community Drop-in Session (OU live) 11 October Enhanced Careers and Employability Progression Steering

    Group 12 October Inclusion Meeting 12 October Training for Community Champions 13 October Community Officer Interview Panel 13 October LTI Visit 13-15 October CEC Weekend

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    17 October Training for Community Champions 19 October Community Drop-in Session (OU live) 23 October Online Rooms Steering Group 2 November Community Drop-in Session (OU live) 4 November OU Student Consultation - Croydon 8 November Enhanced Careers and Employability Progression Steering

    Group 16 November Community Drop-in Session (OU live) 18 November Societies Meeting 24-26 November Rules Revision Weekend 27 November Online Rooms Steering Group 30 November Community Drop-in Session (OU Live) 13 December Enhanced Careers and Employability Progression Steering

    Group Stephanie Stubbins

    Vice President Community

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    Central Executive Committee (C E C)

    13 – 15 October 2017


    It has been quite hectic since the last C E C meeting. Starting with the Central Committee Representatives (C C Rs) Seminar and continuing with the appointment of new reps. The July Seminar differed from previous training seminars as there were no new reps, so this time it was a chance to get together with other reps and talk through some of the changes that are coming up this academic year. There will be an Induction Day for new reps before the end of December 2017. The appointment of C C Rs involves a lot of reading applications and deciding, along with the other members of the Appointments Committee (A C), which committee is best suited for the appointed reps. The A C met f2f after the C C R Seminar but the bulk of the work is online and we now have a good mix of new and continuing reps ready for this year’s round of governance committees. After consultation with members of the Senate Reference Group (S R G) we have changed the membership of the S R G so there is more opportunity for interested students to attend, rather than ex officio places. We hope this will add to a wider range of student views on academic policy. An induction meeting will take place the day before the next Senate in October. A guide to representation has been produced by the Student Voice Team which includes a video summary. Further training guides are in the pipeline. Due to the rapid changes the O U is undergoing, I have been invited to be a member of the Academic Strategy Steering Group which has oversight of the Academic Strategy implementation and the Curriculum Forum, another steering group that is looking at the best way the curriculum will shape up in line with the changes taking place in O U Redesign. These are both important committees that need student input to try and keep the O U with as much flexibility and choice as possible. The Group Tuition Policy Programme Board cancelled all its programmed meetings as the business was taken to another committee. On the Saturday of the July C E C we had a very pleasant break from business and met up with many other students in different volunteering roles. We had dinner on campus with two inspiring speakers, one of whom had won an Olympic gold medal in hockey. Needless to say the medal was photographed with most people in the room. My regular weekly activities include emails to and from students and other C E C members and Association staff as well as reading forums and numerous papers for the O U committees I attend. Meetings under the line ¬¬¬¬¬ are before the C E C meeting but after this report was written and will be mentioned in my next report.

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    Meetings Attended 15 July 2017 Volunteer afternoon and evening dinner 20 July 2017 Group Tuition Policy Programme Board Cancelled 20 July 2017 Academic Strategy Steering Group 26 July 2017 Curriculum Forum meeting 26 July 2017 Meeting with Director, Strategy Planning & Resources,

    Learning & Teaching Innovation (LTI) Didn’t attend as it clashed with the Curriculum Forum meeting.

    22 August 2017 Group Tuition Policy Programme Board Cancelled 6 September 2017 Academic Strategy Steering Group 15 September 2017 Meeting with Library about the content review 15 – 17 September 2017 C E C Informal meeting 19 September 2017 Group Tuition Policy Programme Board Cancelled 21 September 2017 Curriculum Forum informal meeting 25 September 2017 Curriculum Forum meeting ¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬ 27 September 2017 Quality Enhancement Advisory Group 27 September 2017 Senate reference Group Induction planning 28 September 2017 LTI Directors' Meeting 13 October 2017 Visit to LTI 13 – 15 October 2017 C E C Meeting Future Meetings 16 October 2017 Student Voice Steering Committee 17 October 2017 SRG Induction 17 October 2017 Group Tuition Policy Programme Board 18 October 2017 Senate Reference Group 18 October 2017 Senate 25 October 2017 Curriculum Forum meeting 2 November 2017 Meeting with Director, Strategy Planning & Resources,

    Learning & Teaching Innovation (LTI) 6 November 2017 Higher Education Achievement Report (HEAR) Steering

    Group Meeting 8 November 2016 Qualifications and Assessment Committee 14 November 2017 Academic Strategy Steering Group 23 November 2017 Curriculum Forum 13 December 2017 Academic Strategy Steering Group 18 December 2017 Curriculum Forum 22 January 2018 Curriculum Forum 23 January 2018 Academic Strategy Steering Group 24 January 2018 Senate Reference Group 24 January 2018 Senate 26 – 28 January 2018 C E C Meeting Lorraine Adams

    Vice President Education

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    Central Executive Committee (C E C)

    13 – 15 October 2017


    This Report briefly outlines my activities since the date of my last Report to the C E C. Note: Because I live over a 100 miles away and require ‘special needs’ transport, all my meetings with O U people and attendance at any events, are scheduled around C E C and O T (Officer Team) meetings wherever possible. Therefore, to make best use of my time I usually stay in Milton Keynes for several days to fit in as many face to face meetings during my visits. All other ‘meetings’ and tasks are done from home online or via telephone conference calls. Since the end of June, I've been on Campus three times: details under. These visits for meetings with folks in the O U, were timed around:

    (a) C C R (Central Committee Rep) meeting end June;

    (b) C E C (Central Executive Committee Meeting) weekend July 14, 15, 16.

    (c) O T (Officer Team Meeting) September 15, 16, 17 Also, during this time frame:

    London – 4 Nations Symposium – Widening Participation – July 4

    Vacation – 2 weeks – August 19 to Sept 2

    Detail: Thursday June 29 to Sunday July 2.

    E D I (Equality Diversity & Inclusion) Objective 1b Workshop. Discussing the Degree Awarding Gap. (30th) This workshop focussed on the activity and initiatives that are being undertaken around the University in support of the work stream around closing the attainment gap for students from a B M E background, and to undertake a benefit mapping exercise.

    C C R Weekend (July 1 & 2)

    July 4 – 4 Nations Symposium – Widening Participation – Woburn House Conference Centre, Tavistock Square, London Received an invite from the Widening Access and Success research team within the LTI portfolio who were hosting a 4-nation symposium. The seminar was framed within recent research funded by the Office for Fair Access (OfFA) in England which explored examples of outreach for disadvantaged adult learners and the challenges in evaluating its impact. Peter Horrocks presented a keynote address alongside Professor Les Ebdon Director of Fair Access at the Office for Fair Access; Dame Ruth Silver, Co-chair of the Skills Commission and member of the Royal Society and the British Academy joint working group on educational research; Chris Hayle, Director of Policy, Universities UK; Rob Humphreys, Director, Open University in Wales and John D’Arcy, Director, Open University in Ireland. The symposium explored the key challenges for provision of HE for adult learners, as a result of the divergent political contexts across the UK and the potential post-election and post-Brexit impact.

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    July 12 to 19 - On Campus and at Kents Hill

    Pre-Inclusion Meeting briefing (13th)

    Inclusion Meeting – Chair (13th)

    Service Review meeting (14th)

    SeGA (Securing Greater Accessibility) Catch-up meeting with Kate Lister (14th)

    C E C business – evening (14th)

    C E C business – morning (15th)

    O U Students Association Volunteer event on Campus – afternoon and evening (15th)

    C E C business – morning (16th)

    Listening Event – O U Redesign - Hub Theatre (17th)

    Meeting with Disability Rights U K representatives. Head of Support and self had an exploratory chat about how they can work with the Association. (17th)

    On Campus – Association Office and WASS (Widening Access & Success Services) Catch-up meeting with Maxine Squirrel (18th)

    On Campus – Library. Hate Crime Poster Awards for local school children. Invited by Jiten Patel, the O U’s Head of Equality, Diversity & Information Rights. (19th)

    Induction meeting with two new Student Support Association Staff members.(19th)

    Monthly local West Sussex Coffee and Chat with O U students (29th) August

    Vacation – 2 weeks – August 19 to Sept 2

    Whilst on vacation in Salisbury, held a Coffee ‘n Chat meet-up for local O U students.


    Open Board of Studies Committee meeting. Attended by ‘phone – 3 hours (12


    Officer Team/C E C meeting. (15, 16 & 17)

    On Campus. Meet Student Support staff for catch-up meeting. (18th)

    O U Student Hub Live event. On camera to talk about Equal Opportunities and the Association.

    Post vacation catch-up meeting with Student Support team. (26th)

    Association Presentation to O U Council Members.(26th) Invite from Council to the Association to give them an insight into what the Association does and how it supports students on a day to day basis. Presenters: Sam Harding – Head of Student Voice; Colin Pritchard – D S G Committee member & Central Rep; Cherry Day – V P Equal Ops. (26th)


    As V P Equal Ops, I’m in regular contact with Verity Robinson – the Association’s Head of Student Support - both by e-mail and telephone (if necessary). Verity looks after my V P diary and makes appointments for me with O U and Association staff personnel so I can make best use of my time

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    when in Milton Keynes.

    Via telephone conference call and face to face, I’m involved with the Attainment Gap Project (now called the ‘Degree Awarding Gap’) that the O U is doing. This Project is primarily looking at the differences in achievement between black and white students; but health issues have also been mentioned as a contributory factor.

    SeGA (Securing Greater Accessibility) As V P Equal Ops, I’m closely involved with the work SeGA do. Regularly meet staff when on Campus

    On a day to day basis – working at home - I subscribe to and participate in a lot of forums on the V L E (Virtual Learning Environment) including the very busy suite of C E C (Central Executive Committee) forums.

    I also read and participate in the D S G suite of forums on the V L E and the D S G Facebook group which are wonderful resources for me to pick up any potential problems that might arise. Both the D S G and PLEXUS fall within my Equal Ops remit.

    There are also the ‘behind the scenes’ confidential student issues to deal with. Most of these are dealt with via my V P mailbox when (and if) I need to get an O U member of staff, other Officer colleagues and / or the Association involved.

    Every month – last Saturday where possible – West Sussex Coffee ‘n Chat student meet-ups.

    Upcoming meetings

    Thursday October 19 - On Campus for Reception and Dinner to celebrate the launch of the O U’s Disabled Veterans Scholarship Fund. Have been invited to be a guest speaker and working on my presentation as we speak.

    Cherry Day Vice President Equal Opportunity

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    Central Executive Committee (CEC)

    13 – 15 October 2017


    Volunteering Research Project update The project launch happened on Saturday 16th September with a workshop for members of the CEC. The discussion focused on conceptualising the different types of benefits volunteering brings to the Association. Next steps in the project will be a survey and focus groups. The workshop had the objective of gathering early feedback which would help with the identification of themes for both the survey questionnaire and the focus group discussions. The themes that emerged were:

    identification of the different groups benefitting from student volunteering; this will help towards identifying the ‘reach’ and impact of volunteering with the Association

    detailing the potential benefits of volunteering for individual students; this will inform how we articulate the potential motivations for, and students’ expectations of, volunteering with the Association

    thinking about phrasing questions for student volunteers in a way that is crisp and unambiguous; this will focus our survey/group discussions on gathering detailed information about volunteering with the Association

    The survey and focus group questions will be finalised in November. In the meantime, a thread will be added to the CEC forums for further exploration of the conversations started during the workshop. The project timeline has been shared in a separate paper submitted to the July CEC. Further updates will be given at the January CEC in 2018. Meetings attended 15 – 16 July Central Executive Committee Meeting 31 July Meeting with Samantha Harding, Head of Student Voice 21 August Meeting with Samantha Harding, Head of Student Voice 16 – 17 September Central Executive Committee Meeting

    Caroline Poppenga Vice President Representation & Research

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    Central Executive Committee (CEC) 13 – 15 October 2017


    Student Support Role Time once again for a report of what I’ve been up to recently. The role includes overseeing the Peer Support Service, being an OUSET Trustee (Open University Students Educational Trust, Students Association Charity) and taking a lead role in Service Review Meetings. I look into issues potentially affecting all students, part of that involves engaging with students on Facebook. The new staff in the Student Support area I spoke about in my last report have settled in quickly, they are Verity Robinson, Head of Student Support, Sammi Wright and Anna Mahon. I’ve already noticed a difference having a dedicated team for Student Support. OUSET I continue to be a Trustee of OUSET. Very excited that more students might be approaching us when OUSET Ambassadors, who will receive training in October, start spreading the word about our Charity. For OUSET information please look here. Richard Morris Verity and I met with Richard Morris who is Head of Operations at the OU’s Student Support. He is very interested in finding out about issues affecting numbers of students. Richard would also like us to pass on whether the advice students receive from their OU Student Support Team (S S T) is accurate and helpful. If you would like to contribute to this please email [email protected] Peer Support Our Peer Support Services supports students by answering one off queries or offering longer one to one support. Supporters are current or past OU students and students are beginning to use the recently introduced direct email address. More details about Peer Support and the email address can be found on the Students Association’s website, here. I attended the Supporters recent meeting where we decided to add to their numbers which is happening as I write this. If you’ve read the most recent Newsletter you might have noticed a new feature where students can write in and have their questions answered by a Peer Supporter. If you are as excited as I am, why not pen a question and maybe see the answer published in the next edition of OU Students Magazine. If you aren’t sure about something, many other students are probably in the same boat. Send your questions to [email protected] with ‘Magazine: Dear Peer Supporter’ in the subject line. Questions are always treated with the utmost privacy and will only be published anonymously. Identifying details will be removed before publication.

    https://www.oustudents.com/open-university-students-educational-trust-students-charityhttps://www.oustudents.com/peer-supportmailto:[email protected]:[email protected]

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    Peer Mentoring I am involved with the group reviewing a variety of Peer Mentoring schemes piloted across OU Faculties. This group is looking to identify whether any aspects of the pilots could be adopted across Faculties because a pick and mix approach is better than insisting on everyone using a one size fits all Mentoring scheme. Service Review Meetings Service Review meetings are held regularly where V P Equal Opportunities and I meet staff from the OU Academic Services and IT Departments. V P Comms has input into these meetings. During our recent meetings we discussed the following:

    Eduroam – I am very disappointed that all students still do not have access. The successful pilot should have meant all students being offered Eduroam. We continue to raise this with the OU and I hope for good news in the next few weeks. EMA / Exam dates. On some module websites the Exam date or EMA submission date was displayed on a tab displaying the whole week rather than just the actual date. We reported students’ concerns about this and it is hoped this will not happen in future. EMA deadline – the submission deadline is midday UK time with a grace period up to midnight. If the submission button is pressed after midnight a message warns students of the 10% loss of marks for late submission. However, submissions just before the deadline, particularly with a slow broadband speed or interruption, can mean the EMA is received after midnight. In those cases there will be no warning message and students can lose 10% of their marks for a late submission. Known Technical Issues with OU Systems – When the OU is aware of issues on its systems they post some of them here so if something isn’t right, it might be a good place to look to see if there’s an announcement and answer.

    Google Chrome, Student Home, Upgrade Having been told that some students using Google Chrome were experiencing a problem with their Student Home following an upgrade by Google Chrome, I sought some answers. The response I've received can be shared. The issue is known and is connected to the way Chrome handles hardware acceleration. I was given this link to share with those who are affected - http://www.techadvisor.co.uk/how-to/internet/how-turn-off-gpu-hardware-acceleration-in-google-chrome-3605455/ A Google restart is required. Office 365 Many aspects of Office 365 will be available to students shortly. The Google email addresses offered to OU students will be replaced by Microsoft ones. Following discussions I had with the OU they quickly produced some FAQs which can be found here Input Into Training OU Staff Cath Brown (STEM FAR) and I, but mainly Cath, were invited to give the student perspective during a day’s training of OU Student Support Staff. We were able to say what we liked, such as someone taking ownership of queries and also what we didn’t


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    like, including misinformation or being made to wait too long for replies. Cath wrote a blog about the experience. Wales OU Redesign Listening Event On July 12th I travelled to Wales for a Listening Event about OU Redesign. It was the first OU event I’ve attended outside England and although many of the concerns were identical to students in England there were some differences such as ensuring the Welsh Language needs are met and more likelihood of attending meetings remotely, particularly for staff. Similarities included concerns about digital materials - not all students are computer literate and how can the OU ensure students have access to appropriate devices for studying. Fees and Funding Meeting I met with an OU member of staff to discuss Fees and Funding issues, particularly regarding Post Graduate students’ funding which differs across the Nations. Students in England on low incomes who are hit by the release of funds incrementally might benefit from the PG Hardship fund. It was confirmed that the government will consider some of the PG loan in England as income, which could affect Benefits. The OU will be looking into this further. We also discussed how students in NI and Scotland might be affected if their loans do not cover OU PG fees in full. Student Support Teams (S S Ts) have information about the various funding regimes in the Nations and also what help is available through the OU. Al / Tutor Awareness About Our Services VP Comms and I have been working on increasing awareness of the Association’s services amongst Tutors which has resulted in some of these being advertised to ALs. We hope as a result more students will be made aware of appropriate services that can help in their study. Recent and Future Commitments 14 Sept, Oct, 27 Nov Service Review Meetings 16-17 September CEC Gathering 18 September Fees and Funding 21 September Transforming Student Policies

    22 September Student Engagement Website

    13 October OUSET Trustee Meeting 13 October LTI (Learning, Teaching and Innovations) 14 – 16 October CEC Meeting 3 November Consultation in MK 25 – 26 November Rules Revision Please copy and paste any part of my Report elsewhere. Comments can be emailed to [email protected] Alison Kingan Vice President Student Support

    mailto:[email protected]

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    Central Executive Committee (CEC)

    14 – 16 July 2017


    Council Meeting 18 July 2017 The July Council meeting took place in Manchester and was preceded by a working dinner for members of Council to discuss and address members’ concerns about OU Redesign. This provided an opportunity to remind Council members that students were acutely concerned about many of the proposed changes including reductions in the curriculum, the potential loss of hard copy materials, the probable changes in tuition strategy, and the excessive focus on employability. I also took the opportunity to stress the importance for students of the relationship with their individual tutor and their fears that this might be undermined by Personalised Open Learning. I am not yet convinced that these concerns are being addressed in any meaningful way. The meeting took place in the OU office in Manchester and the unconfirmed minutes are available on the intranet. Unsurprisingly OU Redesign (or SFTP as it is now also known) and the various risks associated with large scale change were the key discussion topics but also worthy of note were

    the urgent need to address retention rates in the light of HEFCE’s concerns

    FutureLearn’s partnerships with Deakin University in Australia and Coventry

    University. The latter will lead to the roll out of 50 online degrees over the next

    5 years (initially PG programmes outside the UK). According to the VC the

    OU ‘could learn from such initiatives in the sector and use them as a stimulus

    for digital innovation’.

    the possibility that UG student numbers may fall short of target for 17J

    the assurances that measures being taken to improve tuition delivery and

    venue management for 17J are expected to be effective

    Governance and Nominations Committee (GNC) meeting 28 June 2017 Engagement with students: it was agreed that a good range of actions have been agreed to increase Council’s engagement with students. Forthcoming engagement opportunities include the following:

    several students were joining Council members for lunch in Manchester

    a small CEC working group are preparing a presentation on the work of the

    Association for the Council Induction and Development Day in September

    VCE buddies: feedback on the pairing of members of the Council with members of VCE had been very positive. It was felt that the arrangement provided useful opportunities to receive updates, raise issues and share perspectives Induction and development: a provisional programme for the Induction and Development day on 20th September was approved.

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    Recruitment: following a comprehensive recruitment process the committee recommended to Council the appointment of Mary Curnock Cook as an external co-opted member of Council and the appointment of Caroline Stockmann as Treasurer. Annual Effectiveness Review: it was felt that the committee was handling membership and regular governance matters effectively but the importance of continuing to review external developments in governance should not be overlooked. Charter and Statutes Review Working Group The next meeting is scheduled for 2 October. Student Engagement with Council The student presentation to Council Members at the Council Induction and Development Day was extremely well received. Cherry Day, Colin Pritchard and Sam Harding gave on entertaining and informative overview of the work of the Association and highlighted some of the ways in which Association enhances the student experience and helps to build a supportive academic and social community. Meetings attended since my last report 27 June Group Tuition discussions on OU Live 28 June Governance and Nominations Committee 29 June – 12 July Holiday 14 July OU Redesign meeting in Milton Keynes 14-16 July CEC and Volunteer Celebration weekend 17-18 July Council meeting in Manchester 9 August Student Experience Workstream meeting 21 August Student Engagement Meeting 23 August Student Experience Workstream meeting 6 Sept Student Experience Workstream meeting 15-17 Sept Informal CEC meeting 20 Sept Senate Workshop on OU Redesign 22 Sept Digital Design meeting 23 Sept Barbican Degree Ceremonies

    Future meetings Ongoing fortnightly engagement with Student Experience Workstream 27 Sept Assessment Workshop 2 October Charter and Statutes Working Group 4 October Student Experience Workstream meeting WELS Teaching Committee (as CRR) 13-15 Oct CEC 18 Oct SRG and Senate 1 Nov Governance and Nominations Committee 3 Nov Student Consultation Milton Keynes 25-26 Nov Rules Revision weekend 28 Nov Council meeting Barbara Tarling Student Member of OU Council