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6:34pm on Tuesday, 18th February, 2020:



The National Student Survey is approaching, and the School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering is beginning its campaign to persuade students to fill in the forms.

OK, so this looks absolutely naff and isn't going to persuade anyone to fill in the forms — or so one might think. Its very naffness is actually part of a carefully-constructed campaign, though; what's more, it works. Two years ago, CSEE was in the bottom three departments in the university for mu,ber of NSS returns; last year, after trying this new strategy of engaging students on their own terms, it came in at the very top.

Also part of this strategy was the in-year questionnaire, which students were invited to do last week. For my second-year module, only 3 students from 75 completed it. The results were presented today. The fact that I may act on these (which were favourable, so basically mean "steady as she goes") ought to persuade more people to fill in the NSS simply because they disagree with the 3 who filled in the IYQ. Social media platforms encourage people to argue with complete strangers, and something similar is behind the thinking here.

OK, so getting students to fill in the NSS forms isn't the same as getting them to say nice things about us in their responses on those forms; indeed, we're not allowed to direct students what to put in their responses, because that counts as interference and comes with a hefty fine. Encouraging them to fill in the forms is good, though, because results don't count unless they meet a threshold. Better still, the responses are more useful to us lecturers as they may actually reflect the opinions of the majority of students rather than just the ones who either love or hate particular modules.

Whoever's behind this ought to consider designing a few games; they clearly have a knack for understanding players.

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