Bath Spa University selects Explorance Blue to support institutional student surveys enhancement

Bath Spa University has chosen Explorance Blue to centralise its evaluation process, which had comprised a range of de-centralised surveys conducted via Google Forms and general survey tools, as part of its focus on enhancement across all aspects of the student experience.

The University appointed Explorance through the APUC multi-supplier UK education sector framework for the supply of student module evaluation systems and associated services to HE and FE institutions following a market review.

This framework agreement is open to member institutions within the UK universities procurement consortia, meaning they can use the framework and have the option to appoint Explorance through a direct award as the ranked number one supplier via APUC.

Dr Becky Schaaf, Pro-Vice-Chancellor Student Experience at Bath Spa University, said the University’s approach to evaluations had evolved over time, allowing course teams to use the method best suited to them. “We had a fragmented, organic approach across the University, which was not consistent and not very effective,” Dr Schaaf explained. “Our solutions worked to a point, but they were time consuming and limited our ability to explore the data at different levels of granularity, or identify themes across the University. Following a review of the market this year, we made the decision to switch to Explorance.”

In seeking an “end-to-end solution”, Dr Schaaf revealed that Explorance met a “long list of requirements developed following a wide stakeholder consultation”. She said: “We wanted a system that was easy to use, customisable to an extent but locked down for consistency, one that would work with other systems and, from a student point of view, help us to close the feedback loop. We recognise there is not one student voice, there are very different groups and levels of satisfaction, and we want a solution that enables us to hear across the spectrum of views, and supports impactful decision-making.”

Dr Schaaf commented that the University will continue to use end-of-module evaluations to support programme development, and is also keen to combine this with mid-module Pulse surveys to “quickly understand anything that needs to change”. Explorance Blue will also support the University’s Welcome survey, Bath Spa experience survey for Level 4 and 5 students, and a series of thematic surveys.

“Having one platform provides consistency of user experience and helps with survey fatigue, as we can plan these surveys in across the whole year,” she said. “This is part of a very big digital transformation programme here, and it is important that Explorance Blue can integrate with our VLE and many other systems.

“We want students to be heard and to feel we have done something about their feedback, and if not why not. We need to understand themes across the University and what we can do to help, so Blue’s reporting functionality can support us to achieve that. For our staff this is more of an enhancement tool. It will enable staff to use student feedback to make informed changes to academic programmes, and to support their professional journey from early career development to applications for awards and promotion.

“Explorance is a company that is keen to input in a variety of ways, and we have been impressed with their engagement and responsiveness.”

John Atherton, VP Sales EMEA at Explorance, added: “We are delighted to be working with Bath Spa University, supporting end-of-module and mid-module evaluation, and other surveys being run by the institution. We can support the University’s mission to embed a continual focus on enhancement by providing advanced feedback analytics and empowering data-driven actions to improve student experience, learning excellence and teaching effectiveness.”

In the UK, Explorance supports over 25 universities: Aberdeen, Anglia Ruskin, Bath Spa, Birkbeck – University of London, Brighton, Bristol, Buckingham, Cardiff, Cardiff Metropolitan, Coventry, Durham, Glasgow Caledonian, Keele, Kingston, Leeds, Liverpool John Moores, Loughborough, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham Trent, Northumbria, Sheffield, Strathclyde, Westminster, Worcester and the University of Law.

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