As the globe continues to navigate through the pandemic and subsequent disruptions, each and every country has their own tale to tell. Timelines look different, national lockdowns come and go, but one thing is for sure, the whole world is learning to cope with the disarray Covid brings, together.
On that note, Aristovnik (et al)’s 2020 global research presents a large-scale global study on how students perceive the impact of the Covid-19 crisis amid the worldwide lockdown and transition to online learning. Our research team used this as a benchmark to find out how UK students compare. Sampling students from across the country, here’s how the UK stands against the rest of the world, and what UK institutions can learn from their students.
Six in 10 students in the UK have been satisfied with their teaching and tutor quality during the Covid-19 pandemic, making them more satisfied than their global peers.
A positive story to tell team members and colleagues as you continue to work tirelessly, supporting your students. What’s more, this year’s National Clearing Survey found that one in four Clearing students rated online learning as 10/10 important when choosing an institution, making it a top decision-driver.
Keep pushing forward the online provisions, making them as interactive, supportive and engaging as possible, keeping those satisfaction levels high. This insight also showcases the UK as a worthy and aspirational study destination, so make sure you’re shouting about your best-in-class online learning to your prospective students, too. World-leading satisfaction levels with teaching and tutor quality; it’s something to be proud of.
But there are still a whole lot of improvements that could be done to support students even further.
We found that one in 10 UK students would have no one to turn to if they encountered problems in their life. While it’s easy to think that within your institution there’s always someone who any one of your students could talk to at any time, the important question to ask yourselves is do your students know that? And would they actually want to?
Food for thought: six in 10 students would like to access university support services anonymously.
“I’m very anxious about keeping up with the intense Oxford workload, as well as not having the best family situation. The knowledge of going back to uni was getting me through the holidays; having to stay put is going to be very detrimental to my mental health and academic work. I feel alone.” - Quote from Student Panel
It’s no good having GP or counselling services that require Zoom calls or video-led therapy if the students themselves are not comfortable with that. Anonymity is an effective protection for those students feeling particularly vulnerable, lost or defeated. And then, it’s time to consider how that message is shared out to your student body. Are generic, mass emails the right way to circulate the services available, or is a signposted hub that seminar leaders and tutors can point to a better fit?
So, what do UK students want from university support services?
Firstly, they want to see clear, factual information and advice, which lends itself well to the suggested content hub. More than 50% of students would just like someone to talk to, bringing us back to the statistic that one in ten feel they have no one. And just under half of students say they would like to receive self-help tools, while peer support groups are a definite ‘no’ for most. But the main takeaway here? One approach does not fit all.
Mental health issues have such vast and varied impacts and effects, and therefore for the majority, online resources may be enough to keep anxieties and stress at bay. However there will be students within your institution who need further support, perhaps via personalised face-to-face or telephone contact. So it’s critical to have internal communication strategies in place that will allow your students to seek further support when needed. The question is, what does that individual journey currently look like within your institution?
We can help you to use these insights to build an internal strategy, as well as improving your external messaging and communications to reflect what students are really feeling and needing right now. Our marketing experts can also support you with putting your institution on the map, making students across the globe aware of your top-level online offering and student support services. Get in touch today and we can go from there.