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Unitu

Unitu is a digital student voice platform where students, Year Reps, and staff can collectively raise, discuss, and resolve academic and wider student experience issues, as well as praising initiatives and people at St George’s or post ideas that would benefit others.

Students are assigned to a departmental Board based on the Programme that they study; here they can post Programme specific issues. Students will also have access to the University Board where they can post about wider student experience issues.

How does it work?

Students are at the forefront of everything we do at St George’s. A big part of this is providing opportunties for students to express views, share ideas, and ask questions related to your  academic and wider university experience. Unitu helps healthy student-staff dialogue to flourish and helps build a listening and responsive university community.

Unitu is structured as a discussion board, broken down into two areas: private and public. The private area is shared between students and Year Reps. Here students can ask questions, post ideas, offer praise and raise issues. Once a post attracts enough comments and likes, a Year Rep moves the post into the public area, shared with staff. Here staff can ask for additional feedback, offer clarification and information, and, together, try to find solutions for the matters raised.

 

The best way to learn about Unitu as a student is to try it yourself! Students can activate their account using the activation link here. New students for the 2021-2022 academic year will receive an activation email in the first week of October. 

If you are a staff member who wants to find out more about Unitu please email unitu@sgul.ac.uk.

 

The Unitu logo, with the caption: the student voice platform.

 

What happens to the feedback on Unitu?

Students will have access to a board for your course as well as a wider University Board. These Boards are monitored by Year Reps, administrative and academic staff. As issues, questions, praise and ideas are raised and discussed, they can respond and provide updates on the progress of actions.

For example, questions posted by students were used to generate Q+As regarding learning & teaching and returning to site post-lockdown. Feedback from Unitu has also meant that detailed assessment advice was given to third year Biomedical Science students in preparation for their exams.   

When has Unitu worked well? 

Unitu has worked well to highlight student perspectives during Covid-19. For example, Unitu has allowed staff members to better understand and engage with student feedback regarding online teaching, changes to examinations and study space on campus. Here are some comments from students highlighting how Unitu has enhanced their student experience. 

"When Unitu was first introduced I found a place where my views could be listened to and I could speak to students, staff members and course reps about issues that mattered to me." (MBBS4, Year 2 student)

"Checking Unitu once or twice a week to see what students are discussing has really helped with my role as a Year Rep" (Paramedic Science, Year 3 Year Rep)

What happens if any inappropriate feedback is posted?

All users agree to terms of use when activating their Unitu account. This includes a three-strike policy for inappropriate content which is: 

1.     Your inappropriate content is reported to the University.

2.     You lose the right to anonymity when using the platform.

3.     You lose access to Unitu altogether.

In addition to this, both staff and students can report any inappropriate or defamatory comments to Unitu (see content policy here). Moderators will then take appropriate action based upon the content policy which can be found below.

The impact of rude comments on Unitu 

We all want Unitu to have a positive, professional and constructive culture where students, Year Reps and staff can discuss and hopefully resolve key issues related to the student experience. The best way to make positive changes and have your voice heard on Unitu is to post in a solution-orientated manner. Rude, offensive and irrelevant content creates a negative environment for students and staff. 

"Dealing with a constant stream of rudeness and unfairness on Unitu can be exhausting. We want to listen to the student voice and try to make positive changes where possible. But when posts are rude and offensive, it is hard to engage and resolve genuine issues that students have." (Staff member)

Always remember that there will be fellow students and staff members interacting and responding to your post. So remember...

If you wouldn't say it in person, don't say it online. 

Support, research and guidelines

For any questions about Unitu, feel free to get in touch with Jeff Saddington-Wiltshire (jsadding@sgul.ac.uk).

A Student-Staff Partnership Grant was conceived in the 2020-2021 academic year to better understand student perceptions of the platform. Overall, 73% of students felt that Unitu was useful and 71% agreed that Unitu is a good thing for St George's. The full summary report can be read here

For guidelines see

Unitu Principles

Content policy 

Code of Conduct

How to guide for Year Reps 2021.22

Unitu 30 minute presentation

For Unitu's impact see

Unitu impact report for 2019/20

Unitu Summary Report 2020/2021

 

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