Each year CiCS takes part in the Annual Student Survey, where all students are asked to rate various central services. There's an awful lot of data generated, and a lot of detailed work taking place analysing it and drawing up actions plans. However, I thought you might be interested in the headline findings and our key actions.
Overall satisfaction with CiCS dropped from 87% last year to 86% this year.
This slight dip is on the back of a rise from 83% overall satisfaction in 2005, and mainly manifests itself as a significant drop in the ‘very satisfied’ box from 35% to 32%. Although last year we saw slightly lower levels of satisfaction amongst older students and postgraduates, this year there seems to be little or no difference by age, gender or type of student.
However, examining the ratings for the different areas of service, most areas received lower ratings than last year apart from opening hours (up from 78% to 86%). In particular ‘quality of software’ (down from 86% to 78%), ‘availability of computing facilities’ (down from 76% to 69%) and ‘reliability of systems’ (down from 79% to 65%) received significantly lower ratings than last year. Again this year MUSE received very high satisfaction ratings (88% overall, 36% very satisfied).
This survey was taken a month after the opening of the Information Commons. The great success and popularity of this building, coupled with some of its teething problems, would seem to underlie three of these ratings:
Opening Hours: the building provides 24-hour access to quality study spaces. Extended opening hours has consistently been one of the top three demands. It is pleasing to see that the Information has met this as planned.
Action: Need to maintain 24x7x365 access to Information Commons.
Reliability of Systems: power problems in the early days meant that at a very busy period (including around the survey time) 20 or so PCs were unavailable at any one time – and we were unable to get a stable solution.
Action: Work has taken place over summer to address outstanding electrical problems – however investigation of causes continues; guidance is being given to students about use of power sockets; management regime in place to monitor and control.
Availability of Computers: despite a net gain of over 300 PCs, the huge popularity of the Information Commons coupled with students ‘reserving’ PCs by leaving their belongings at a desk meant that for may students the experience was that PCs were not available.
Action: Policy/procedure in place to deal with ‘reserved’ desks – will monitor and adjust tolerance if necessary; advance PC booking system introduced; PCs are available elsewhere and information about this is now displayed/available in documentation etc.; more PCs will be added during the year.
It is clear that the perception of ‘quality of software’ is going down each year (89% satisfied in 2005, 85% in 2006, 78% in 2007) and needs to be taken seriously. In terms of the industry, we are confident that we do provide high quality systems that deliver functionality and reliability. It may be that this perception is related to increasing expectations and that students often have the latest versions of systems and applications on their own computers.
Action: we have a project underway that is looking at the next generation managed desktop; will also seek clarification from students via survey or focus group.