What is Unitu?

Unitu is defined as a student voice platform. It serves as an online space where students, Reps and staff can collectively raise, discuss and resolve both academic and more general student experience issues. 

 

How does it work?

Unitu is structured as a discussion board, broken down into two areas. In the first area, students can ask questions, post ideas and raise issues between their peers and subject group. If a topic attracts significant engagement the Student Rep for that subject area or College Rep can move the discussion into the second area. The second area is broken down into three sections (open, in progress and closed), where staff can interact with the discussion and work with students to resolve issues and develop ideas further. 

For a more detailed description of how Unitu works and to see exactly how it’s structured please watch the video on the right of this screen

Why are we using it?

Engagement and Partnership

Following a small pilot last year with School of Management and two departments within Arts and Humanities, the success and impact of Unitu was reviewed by the Engagement strand of the University’s STEP4Excellence initiative. A pilot plus proposal was put forward for consultation and subsequently endorsed by the STEP4Excellence management team. Arts and Humanities, School of Management and Engineering agreed to take part in the pilot plus for 16/17.

Another objective of STEP4Excellence is to further develop our Student Rep System, working in partnership with the Students’ Union and Colleges to create a more robust infrastructure with greater support and training for Reps. The introduction of Unitu will greatly facilitate this, providing a platform that enables better communication, collaboration and more transparency.

All our College Reps and Subject Reps will receive training for Unitu, with particular focus paid to the ABCD (accurate, balanced, constructive and depersonalised) of effective feedback, monitoring how students are using the platform and reporting any inappropriate activity. 

Transparency

We are aware and often actively encourage students to set up groups on Facebook and other social media platforms. However, it is very difficult for staff, Colleges and the wider University to engage in these discussions and respond to student feedback. By encouraging students to migrate their feedback to Unitu, it will create greater transparency and enable us to respond to student feedback in a more timely manner. 

Constructive Feedback

The University’s ambitions for Student Experience and co-collaboration are only achievable if the conversations are constructive. The greater transparency provided by the Unitu platform and the ability to engage more fully with student feedback will enable us to educate students as to how to provide feedback constructively.

Closing the Feedback Loop

Together we changed....

What happens to the feedback on Unitu?

Subject and College boards are monitored by staff and student reps. As issues and ideas are raised and discussed staff and Reps can respond and provide updates on progress. Colleges will be integrating the feedback from Unitu into the Staff Student Forums, which will ensure matters are dealt with and resolved as soon as possible. 

Who will see it?

Students - every student within COAH (excluding DACE), School of Management and Engineering will have access to their subject area board and a University wide board. College Reps have access to all subject area boards within their Colleges.

Staff – the key staff users for each College are the Staff Student Committee Chairs and designated front of house administrative staff. Directors of Learning and Teaching also have access and Engineering opted to include their Programme Directors. As we are in a pilot plus phase there is still potential to increase staff engagement with the system and this will form an important part of the consultation moving forwards. 

What happens if any inappropriate feedback is posted?

All users agree to terms of use when activating their Unitu account. Therefore, although students have the ability to post anonymously, Unitu are able to identify anonymous posts and will inform us who the individual is should they break the terms of use.

In addition to this both staff and students can report any inappropriate or defamatory comments to Unitu. The content will be removed and disciplinary action will be taken against the individual responsible for the post