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Four points of improvement for student communication

In the StuComm Education Communication Survey, Dutch college and university students were asked about their preferences regarding student communication and how they rate their institution. Based on the results, we have found various points of improvement for educational institutions. Being clear in your communications seems to be the most important.

The students that participated in the survey were asked to indicate how important various aspects of student communication are to them. They had to rate each of these on a five-point scale. After this, they were given the opportunity to rate their own institution on these same metrics. From this, we have been able to discover where the gaps are and which areas need improving the most.

“Students that use the StuCommApp rate their institution higher on 7 of the 8 aspects compared to students that do not have the StuCommApp.”

Clarity and coronavirus

From the survey, we found that clear communication was the most important aspect to students, with a score of 4.8 on a 1-5 scale. It seems like a no-brainer to have clear communication, however, the ratings of students’ own educational institutions indicate otherwise. Students rated their institutions approach to clear communication with an average score of 3.26. This creates a gap of 1.54, indicating there is definitely room for improvement. In many cases, students are left with questions and uncertainty after they have received information from their institutions.

Information on how to access virtual learning had the second-biggest gap. Pre coronavirus students rated the importance of having this information with a score of only 3.44. Since most, if not all learning is now been conducted online, students perceived importance in receiving this type of communication has increased to 4.68, which is significantly higher. Students rated their educational institutions, however, with an average score of 3.52. Before coronavirus, this would have been adequate enough for students. However, with online learning being as critical as it has ever been, the gap has widened to 1.16.

Emergency communication 

We found that the aspect which had the third-highest importance was emergency communication. Pre coronavirus this aspect was not perceived to be so important to students. In the latest survey, however, students rated the importance of receiving emergency communication with a score of 4.52. Students, however, only gave their institutions an average score of 3.54 for this aspect, leaving a gap of 0.98. Nobody saw the coronavirus coming, which could explain why some institutions were unprepared in their approach to emergency communication. Also, what we found was during the initial emergency, the communication around how the situation affected their study progress could have been improved. It is important educational institutions review the situation and how they communicated with their students, to be prepared if another crisis was to occur.

Having fast communication from their institution was regarded as less important than other aspects, with an average score of 4.3. For students own institutions however, they only gave them an average of 3.23 leaving a gap of 1.07. Students are not satisfied with the time that passes before they are fully up to date, and expect their institutions to communicate faster.

StuCommApp users

There was also a surprising difference between the ratings of students that use the StuCommApp, compared with students that do not use the StuCommApp. Those who have the StuCommApp available to them rated their institution higher on 7 of the 8 subjects compared to those who did not. This indicates that the StuCommApp positively influences how educational institutions are rated in regards to student communication.