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Student voice makes impact at this year's OU International Access, Participation and Success Conference.

This year marked the Open University 7th Biennial International Conference on Access, Participation and Success (APS), titled ‘Through the looking glass: How Higher Education is using the lens of access, participation, and success to create equity for all students’.

The event brought together students and staff, from across the sector, to explore practical solutions to improve access, participation, and success for students from underrepresented and disadvantaged groups.

The conference was themed, and the agenda was packed full of fascinating sessions:

  • Theme 1: Student engagement including co-creation, representation, and student voice
  • Theme 2: Inclusion including curriculum, assessment, tuition, and communication
  • Theme 3: Accessibility including student support, digital inclusion, and service delivery
  • Theme 4: Student outcomes including motivation, equity and employability

Sessions combined talks with interactive activities to discuss the topic in hand and provoked lots of positive suggestions.

Students were involved throughout the event ensuring the Student Voice was heard, some as co-hosts and you can access one student’s report of sessions they attended.

Sessions concerned with ensuring the student voice has an impact included:“Let us work together”: Working with students and staff to contribute to a whole-institutional approach to positive change for underrepresented students.’ The discussion included the importance of not just students’ ‘lived’ experiences but the experience they are currently ‘living’ in when engaging with students. A further session ‘Not all Inclusive Curriculum Reviews are Equal: Findings from the OU’s Inclusive Curriculum Student Consultant Pilot Project’ explored how students with accessibility needs are affected by how modules are presented, and the difference students have made through their roles as consultants.

Future work be shaped by the feedback presented in these sessions.

Events such as these are a great opportunity for students to talk directly to staff about their experience as a student and consider how we can work together as an OU community to improve the way we do things. Your voice shapes our work and ensures we strive for better.