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Student Consultation

We want to know what our students think about OU study, from the day-to-day student experience to policies and plans. Through online forums and face-to-face meetings the OU consults students on a range of issues.

Please note this video is now a couple of years old so some people no longer have the same title. The current Students Association leadership can be seen on their website.

What is Student Consultation?

The student consultation structure is one of many ways in which the University listens to the student voice, making use of online forums and face-to-face meetings. By becoming a volunteer and participating, you can directly influence changes in University strategy and policy. Consultation with students influences many, many aspects of the student experience. You can see just how many in the archive. The student consultation structure includes the following components:

Student Consultation Panel

This online forum seeks and considers views of UK and international, undergraduate and postgraduate students on matters affecting their study and student experience.

  • It is made up of around 300 student volunteers as well as 11 OU Students Association representatives.
  • Staff, including tutors, are 'in attendance' to listen and respond to any comments.
  • Student volunteers are recruited for one year.
  • The consultation schedule for those volunteers can be quite busy - there is around one consultation a month.
  • Each consultation has a dedicated forum, open for around two weeks.
  • Students will be asked to respond to a series of questions and wider discussion on a particular topic.
  • After the consultation a summary of student feedback is posted, followed later by a response detailing how that feedback is being acted on. The forum re-opens at these times for students to comment on the summary and response.
  • Normally only one consultation runs at any one time and we try to avoid holidays and exam periods. There will usually be a gap between consultations but this is not always possible.
  • It is not expected that every volunteer posts to every consultation but we do want to hear from Student Consultation Panel volunteers as often as possible.
  • Student volunteers will be notified first that the forum is planned, then when the forum opens, is about to close and when the summary and response are posted.

Bespoke forums

These one-off online forums are targeted at particular groups of students to volunteer to take part who may have a specific insight into a topic. Like other forums they will be open for around two weeks to enable students to respond to a series of questions and take part in the discussion.

Boards of Studies Student Consultation Forums

Online forums offering an opportunity for students studying particular subject areas (or Open or Access qualifications) to be consulted by the relevant academic area. Boards of Studies are expected to organise at least one student consultation forum in every academic year. If you are eligible to take part in any upcoming Boards of Studies student consultations you will receive a direct email inviting you to get involved.

Student Consultation Meetings

A series of face-to-face and online (Adobe Connect/Microsoft Teams) meetings providing an opportunity for students to discuss key topics. These are a great opportunity to meet other OU student and staff and are held periodically across multiple locations across England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. There are between 20 and 50 places available for students at each meeting and face-to-face meetings are conducted by staff in a workshop style. There is also an annual Online International Students Consultation Meeting - an online forum to seek the views of international students on matters affecting their studies.

Who's involved?

All students have the opportunity to volunteer to be involved. For more information go to the Volunteer page. Online forums are viewable by the entire OU community, but for most forums only registered student volunteers and relevant staff members can contribute to the discussions. Face-to-face meetings are open to around 20-30 students.

More information about the role of a student volunteer can be found in our further guidance document.

Please note, to be eligible to take part in OU student consultation you must be currently registered on an OU module or have completed an OU module in the past two years.

What's discussed?

The agenda for consultations is set by a group made up of University staff and representatives of the Open University Students Association. View the terms of reference for the Student Consultation Management Group.

You can see how each online consultation forum works in practice on the student consultation forums website.

What happens to student feedback?

We are committed to letting you know how your views have influenced decision-making. You can see some of the responses there have been to student consultation in our archive.

Value 6. We actively support authentic student engagement in University decision-making, closing the feedback loop; and commit to building partnership between staff and students.

The Student Charter