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Business Case for Providing University Student Staff Panel Toolkit

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Project Purpose and Reasons

The purpose of this project is to help Cardiff University create a more competent way that will help them in approving new degree programmes thus making them accessible by students on time.

As the Cardiff university staff, students and even student reps are facing a challenge in their communications It was essential to build up an IT answer to allow ease this problem.

Academic Schools proposed that they would like the University to invest in a system which would assist the student reps and SRC from each school to carry out their roles effectively.

This system will help is different activities carried out at Cardiff University as shown below.

  • Reduce the time used by SRC’s and students reps to set up components such as voting systems, distribution lists etc.
  • A way for student to voice their concerns and give feedback to their respective year representatives. This should include an anonymous method that students can use if they wish since last year’s project showd a good mumber would not know how to find out who their rep was
  • Provide a communication method to highlight and share current issues and problems between students.
  • Provide a communication method that allows the SRC, year tutors and student reps to kept students up to date with progress on issues.
  • Ways to promote and communicate what changes/solutions have taken place because of the student rep system.
  • An archive system that stores previous student staff panel minutes and includes a filter system that staff can use to find topics relevant to them.
  • An election / voting feature
  • A feature to assist in the timetabling of the SSP Panel meetings.

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Options

There are three options the Cardiff University is considering in handling this issue.

However some of these options will lead to either positive or negative results as shown below;

Option 1 – Do nothing – carry on with the current situation

If the university chooses to continue with the current situation a lot of challenges may be faced.

First, the flow of information between all stakeholders will be complex and hard.

This may affect the running of the university since communication among all stakeholders is an essential element to the efficiency and effectiveness of the rep system.

The university needs to set up a modified system that will help the Student Rep Co-ordinator in handling these tasks to improve on the current use of mails and social media.

Second, Neglecting the upgrade of this system will also affect the manner in which the student reps and SRC carry out their roles. This won’t therefore find a solution to last year’s problem whereby 15% of students were not informed that a SSP system was in place and an additional 27% did not know how to find out who their rep was.

Option 2 – Develop the University Student Staff Panel Toolkit internally using Cardiff University Professional Services staff.

In the universities second option a sense of liberation is portrayed .This makes it the option of choice for my case.

Creating the university student staff panel toolkit internally using the universities skilled and professional staff will be an added advantage to those that will benefit from the toolkit.

First, when you take a minute and reflect on the universities curriculum development, you find out  that creating the toolkit internally will help the program teams to mirror on changing  or varying drivers and needs and design curricula to respond appropriately.

Working on it internally will also provide a rather simple approach for program teams to think about a broad range of aspects to deliver flexible curricula including use of technology-enhanced learning and communications hence improving the manner in which students reps will handle their tasks.

Secondly, creating the toolkit internally creates room for creative discussion and sharing of ideas around program design for flexible provision of services. In this case the toolkit is built around reflection and effective team dialogue

Thirdly, the university Professional Services staff can focus on common priorities when developing the toolkit.

Thus this option enhances effective teamwork and will therefore strengthen team building within the university.

Fourth, the internally built toolkit will have a main focus on the university students, their basic and secondary needs and their experience from their admission or entry, transition, how they are progressing and exit. This is because the university professional staffs are well conversant with how the system and this panel work.

The early stage of reflecting on altering drivers and needs has a sturdy focus on identifying the needs and circumstances of students all through their learning journey and the way they air out their issues and questions.

Lastly, an in built toolkit will be easy to use since it’s designed with their own staff,

All in cooperated resources will be simple and easy to use.

An internally built toolkit can also offer resources that are free and e-versions can also be provided to enable customization to local needs and contexts of the students.

Option 3 – Develop the University Student Staff Panel Toolkit externally by awarding the contract to a suitable external vendor

Hiring someone or awarding a contract for the development of the university Student Staff Panel Toolkit can expose the university to a number of challenges.

First, it will be costly.

This is because an external vendor will charge a price that will suit his own favors and choices.

Second, He will not keep in mind that he is not designing or scheming that toolkit for the purpose of crossing something off their to-do list but for the purpose of the people who will use the tools.

They might not have the time to get the students insights and ideas or even test their tools with the audience before completing them.

Third, external vendors might create a toolkit that is not easy to use

Someone designing for you an online integrated, and interactive can really be a challenge to the users. Preferably, this toolkit should be designed to be accessible and easy to use by all students and staffs anywhere or using any devices.

External vendors can however end up creating a stand-alone tool without integrating it into existing technologies.

Lastly, the external vendors cannot focus on common priorities when developing the toolkit.

Thus this option will not enhance effective teamwork and might face various oppositions from different parties within the university.

Benefits of developing a staff student panel Toolkit internally by the universities professional staff.

Each and every department in the university has a staff/student panel that consists of teaching staff and elected student members who often plan for meetings to discuss academic issues.

Any issues that you feel require consideration can be alarmed to your students rep who will raise the question with the board.

Along these lines the feelings and thoughts of students get a hearing, which can prompt to changes in the way your course is run. This implies each course is always being looked into to make it the best plan of study accessible for students.

However, developing a staff –student toolkit by internal professional service staff  at Cardiff University for use in school engagement projects will be of much benefit to the university as a whole.

These benefits are explained underneath;

  1. Easy overview and control of the toolkit

This option will likewise give a somewhat basic way to deal with program groups to consider an expansive scope of perspectives to convey adaptable educational module including utilization of innovation upgraded learning and interchanges.

  1. Student/staff centered hence easy to use

The internally built toolkit will have a principle concentrate on the college students, their essential and optional needs and all their experiences. This is on the grounds that the college proficient staffs are well familiar with how the system and university panels function.

  1. Improved Team spirit

Making the toolkit internally creates space for innovative dialog and sharing of thoughts around program outline for adaptable arrangement of administrations. For this situation the toolkit is worked on well since all parties are at agreement.

  1. Cost saving

This option will save on the costs of hiring an expert from outside to design or make a toolkit for the university. Hence making it cheap and effective.

  1. Shared/common preferences

The university Professional Services staff can concentrate on normal needs when building up the toolbox since they are part of the universities staff and share a common preference.

This will therefore upgrade compelling collaboration and will consequently reinforce groups working inside the university.

Risks

Despite the chosen option having several merits it can also have several demerits.

Imagine if you are set free to design something of your own choice and favors that you will be using it in your day to day activities, how will you do it?

Will create an awkward thing? Will you create something that will be opposed by your fellows?

Probably everyone will want to create something of their own interests and likes. However this makes your final output prone to various risks.

In this option whereby the Cardiff University settles for internal professional staff for their toolkit we have some risks and demerits that the Student Staff Panel toolkit may face.

1.      Customized Design and style

An inbuilt toolkit can be designed to look different and unique with other toolkits because of the interests and likes of the universities professional team.

This is contra to a toolkit designed by a hired vendor.

An inbuilt toolkit might not follow some of the aspects needed in creating a standard toolkit.

These include

  • Toolkit design Principles
  • Design patterns
  • Style guide

2.      Added Components

Internally designed toolkits will incorporate components that will favor the staff/student panel.

These components will depend on the likes and choice of the professional team.

This is different from the toolkit made by an external vendor since he/she will design it according to the given instructions and styles.

3. Overarching key participants

An inbuilt toolkit might not be scalable for use at multiple levels. This might create a challenge in the discussions thus making decision making hard.

This is because the toolkit will only base on its key beneficiaries.

Costs

In the event that one does lacks an evaluation plan, finishing a practical budget plan might be troublesome. Notwithstanding, experiencing the budget planning procedure will help you and your group to thoroughly consider genuine implementation of your assessment.

Creating a toolkit is procedural hence you need to spend to complete one.

There are a group of people some being the human resources offices, the professional staff among others who will need payments for the work.

We will also need to buy the equipments/ Hardware that will facilitate the project. These include, computers, scanners, network among others.

An extra amount will be needed in buying the Software needed since we need to have a database for our toolkit and all these will run under an operating system

The university shall also need to employ experts to operate the Information System. These include system administrators and it technicians.

For this toolkit to run comfortably we need to acquire a license and offer training to all the users.

Lastly, the university  will also face maintenance charges for the system to run effectively

References;
  • Bernard, A. and Watson, T.F. (2011) staff-student panel. 4th edn. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Cardiff, U. (2017) ‘Cardiff University’, students union, 17 Feb. Available at: https://www.cardiffstudents.com/your-voice/academic-reps/ (Accessed: 17 Feb 2017).

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