The Mancunion

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Education Officer: Samuel Blackledge

Samuel Blackledge tells us why we should vote for him for Education Officer


I’m a final year Zoology student and I have loved my time here in Manchester, due in no small part to how much I have enjoyed studying my subject. It is because of this I am standing as Education Officer. I’ve been part of the system and now I want to be part of a system that can help change how education is provided at Manchester, for the better. If I was to be elected one of my main points of focus would be to improve the system of feedback used across the University, for lecturers and students. Looking at the National Student Survey scores and from my own experience, the feedback that students receive from their assessed work is not good enough. I want to ensure that feedback sheets are used for assessed work so that all areas of the work are covered so a student knows exactly which areas they need to improve and what they are getting right. I would also like to ensure that post-exam feedback drop-in sessions are provided for all modules, this allows students to get the feedback they want and ask questions on how to improve as well as not putting too much pressure on lecturers to provide exam feedback to every student. As for feedback from students, I often find that students are asked to provide feedback at the end of the module. This would appear sensible but comes at a time when students have not reviewed all of the material in detail and cannot properly answer the questions they are asked. I would like to move the time at which feedback is asked for to after the exam period, a time when students know best how they feel about the course. As part of this I believe students should be able to rate their modules as a percentage and then the results should be available to subsequent years to inform future choices.
It is widely known that the job market is a difficult place to be thrown into; after you’ve finished your degree. I would like to establish a volunteer forum that would enable students and local establishments to post about volunteering opportunities in the local area as well as opportunities abroad. This forum would provide a platform for students to give reviews and opinions about their own experiences and allow keen students to find volunteering opportunities that would most suit them. It would also allow students to know what to expect from these places from the perspective of their peers.
Another important change I would like to make is the University’s approach to exams. My aims for this come in two parts, the first is to provide better aid to the students during this difficult period. I would also like to reduce the weighting put on exams in favour of a more diverse system of assessment. First I would like to address the lack of support given to students during the exam period. I would like to implement revision sessions during the exam period so that students can ask their lecturers directly about the exam material. In addition to this I would like to provide students with exam chat-rooms so that those with other commitments during the exam period can guarantee some time with their lecturers to ask questions they may have.
The position of the Education Officer is one that is dedicated to changing the Education system at this University but not restricted to it. It is still an executive position and I would like to push for more informed decisions on how the University is made more sustainable and it’s attitudes towards lowering the carbon footprint of the University and in my capacity as education officer I would like to work with the community, campaigns and activities officers to try and create more University run programmes that teach children about sustainable living.
Finally, I would like to try and express my wish to continue ensuring that the University continues the good work it is doing in upgrading the buildings at the University and continues in upgrading the lecture theatres across campus. This is an important issue as lecturers often spend a significant period of the time at the beginning of each lecture becoming familiar with different systems which can cause unwarranted distractions and draw focus away from the lecture.