The annual Whatuni Student Choice Awards (WUSCAs) highlight the incredible work carried out by institutions for their students. Due to Covid restrictions, this year’s awards were not collected on uni campuses as usual, but instead based on submissions from institutions, which were then judged by our special student panel.
2021 WUSCA winners
I have loved my university experience so far even with the pandemic! His last year our lecturers and personal tutors have been there by our sides to support us and our work throughout this pandemic. They have tried their best to make the subject just as interesting and I find it easier using the pre recorded lectures as it means I can catch up and pause it when I need to! I think the pandemic had affected everyone's social life, but the university have still organised events for students to take part in online and socialise with other students that way. This could be online quizzes, readathons, modpods etc.
I really believe that my lecturers did the best that they could considering the pandemic we have had for this last year. This pandemic has changed the way subjects were taught. So instead of going yi in person seminars and lectures, we now had these online through Zoom or Blackboard Collaborate. Our lectures were sometimes pre-recorded, so that we could use the scheduled lecture time to discuss things aswell as the subsequent seminar. Without the pandemic, my course is usually taught in person.
Every space is very clean. The library at Northumbria University is amazing!! 6 floors full with books and resources! Because of the pandemic there has been a seat booking system created, which works really well for ensuring that you can use these facilities safely.
Mental health services provide the best service that they can and lecturers are always offering their contact hours if you need to speak to them.
There isn’t really much to say about my first year overall. It wasn’t what I expected from university and I feel that with any art course what your really putting money towards is the facilities, not that the teachers aren’t great, but it felt like I already knew a lot of they were teaching me. Mainly I felt like I was being directed, directed to look at history, directed to read that book. Without the experience of university and its life style of being a student, meeting people and engaging with them. My course could essentially be self taught and university is just a platform to possibly be introduce into the industry. That’s just how I feel right now though and its constantly changing, one day uni seems like the right step and others it seems like a life I don’t know if I want. It’s very confusing.
We’ve had a few lectures about employment but it was all very generalised and not very enlighten. The main piece of information I took away was that a need an Instagram portfolio and interesting cv, which I already knew.
The whole of my course has been taught online, minus the two days I was actually allowed into the building. Since April I think we’ve been allowed back inside the design school but not to be taught, just to be giving access to a printer and sit miles apart from our class mates. We started off with three/four days of lessons a week. One being history, another architectural technology’s and rest our primary design course, meeting up with lectures three times a week to discuss our progress. The hours defiantly vary and have never been fixed. At the beginning it was very basic hours about 10hrs a week and then it went quite chaotic spending a whole day online for one lecture and then it’s been like one hours a week.
We weren’t able to access the building enough for me to comment on any of any of its services. When we were able to gain access it during semester 2 on the last brief and there’s no point in going into uni to print off a piece of paper. The lack of consideration into the fact we couldn’t use the facilities was my main problem. We didn’t have to access a3 printers mainly and it was something they’d mark us down on, even though it was out of control.
I have mental health issues therefore I accessed the well-being services as soon as I applied. Taking it further I got to have sessions with a counsellor but I only had two as I got scared and stoped the sessions. Living in student accommodation, alone, wasn’t good for me especially when bring up negative emotions, so that’s why I ended them. I had a Dssr in place and used an extension for my last brief as welll as a PEC, which was handled nicely, though very close to the deadline. Everyone I’ve talked to over the phone for support has been lovely. The student run services is a bit hit and miss, as I kept getting different answers regarding the same questions, but the actual staff handle all of my situations well. It was mainly my course lectures who didn’t really support me that well besides one teacher, who was my main lecturer and tutor.
Overall, my university has been quite good this year, considering there was an instant switch with the pandemic. With online teaching no matter how hard it has been, tutors were always there to help and provide assistance with work. Even with the pandemic the facilities that are still open have helped so much with exam stress.
I personally am no where near graduating, however they consort send out email on graduate job opportunists. As well they have in place a great careers team who are always there to provide assistance as well as putting on lectures for career advice. There have been many job opportunities provided within lectures which have been very helpful, as well as career fairs.
My course is taught currently online due to the pandemic, with 3 seminars a week and around 6 recorded lectures added weekly. Without covid it would be all in class learning with seminars and lectures which are recorded to review. All together i should have 40 hours a week including contact hours and at home studying.
The facilities at my university are amazing. Everything is accessible for disabled students and others. There are so many study spaces which are kept clean with so many resources for everyone to use. The shared spaces are amazing, they are very useful, it can either be in an open space or some spaces are in corners so it can both be quiet when needed and engaging when needed.
The services are quite good, personal tutors are always on hand when needed whether it is work related or personal. Our students union constantly sends out information on mental health support and have facilities on campus and online which can be accessed online or in person at the union which is amazing.
It’s been okay. A lot of unnecessary stress and anxieties have been a constant trend. I think they need to remember that not everyone is perfect and that they shouldn’t use that against students.
My overall experience here has been amazing! I was extremely lucky with my flat mates and have surprisingly managed to meet more people than I thought through being on my course online and through being out in the city ! I love Newcastle and it’s helped me boost my confidence and become more independent and sociable. It’s been very fun on the living side of it and the foundation course has also been extremely good as it’s a good booster start for my course next year and I feel like I have more of understanding about what I will be doing and will help me and I’m excited that I will finally be able to join some society’s. I do wish that we had been given some discounts as we weren’t able to access the university for the majority of the year and we were learning online for most of it too and occasionally it was difficult completing work when we couldn’t have face to face help and not being able to meet our course mates.
As I’m only in first year I’ve only been introduced briefly to this and it’s looked positive and rewarding and so I’m excited to find out more.
It’s been fantastic considering COVID and the difficulties behind that and teaching online !
Gyms are amazing and there are mental health resources and uni shops and libraries and the social area has just reopened with good student prices in the bars
Very supportive online ! They are happy to answer anything from online and help and be lenient this year in particular :)
Very poor experience for distance learning. I would not recommend for mature students who need support to get back into learning. Very superficial support and patronising tutors who are too busy to help. Interactive presentations are no better than poorly presented powerpoints with plenty of errors being pointed out weekly. The course is not worth the money. I came from the open university to Northumbria because I was promised weekly tutorials which in the beginning gave me the motivation and also helped me with concepts etc. The tutorials were stopped with no discussion or notification after the enrollment had passed. My grades were in the distinction range when the tutorials were on and have dropped drastically to a pass over the last unsupported modules. A big disappointment for me. A lot of money spent for very little in return.
Nothing linked by the tutors and the site is so difficult to navigate I can't find anything.
The course is an online course. It was advertised as having weekly tutorial support and interactive blackboard sessions. The interactive sessions are little more than powerpoints without any interaction. The content is poor and there is total reliance on extra reading rather than thought provoking activities. With no consultation with the students the weekly sessions were stopped and the course relocated to a poorly organized message board with no threads or headings. There are so many students doing the distance learning course and not enough tutors. Even a request to put up a FAQ document to stop us from asking the same questions on their poorly set up message board rather than trawling through 10's of un-titled messages got the answer "write one yourself" The tutors are dismissive and act like the students are a hinderance to them. They have no time for discussions and the on the boards usually answer questions with "use the search function, this has been asked before". Additionally the course is being taught by students who have only just finished their degree. Feedback on the essays and assignments is superficial and my experience is that there is little link between the feedback and the essay marking. In all if you are looking at distance learning I would definitely not recommend the experience here.
Distance learning but the message boards are awful to navigate.
No links to the services mentioned.
I'm dreadfully disappointed in Northumbria. I feel as though I've been subjected to a 'bait and switch', with promised online webinars being discontinued and lecturers who seem to not want to have to deal with distance learners. Students are patronised at best and our complaints and suggestions are ignored. My mental health has definitely been affected as I feel I've been totally left to my own devices and am getting no value whatsoever for the amount of money I am paying per module.
Despite being advertised as including online webinars, staff discontinued these after the first module. Lecturers are completely uninterested in supporting students and when they do bother to interact they are patronising and scolding. The most popular answer is "Look to see whether we've answered the question somewhere else" and "this is self-directed study". In other words, figure it out yourself, we don't care about you or your success on this course. The basic course content is poorly written and riddled with typos and other errors. Student suggestions for improving the content are ignored or we're told to do it ourselves and make it available for everyone! When students have raised concerns with the programme director, he has been dismissive and uninterested.
Distance learning facilities are basic and unhelpful
The only bright spot has been my student success advisor
The university has provided adequate recourses and has many society's which prevent it from being completly boring. The lectures are also very interesting and are all recorded
I have enjoyed the way the course is structured and how easy content is to access online. As a distance learning student I understand what’s expected of me and I know I can contact module tutors and my student support advisor if I need extra guidance
I study via distance learning and wasn’t sure what to expect but so far my experience has been great. Some of the lecture style and ways of teaching differ per tutor but overall each module is easy to follow and the additional reading is easy to find
The online library service is really easy to use
My student support advisor emails / calls to check in a regular basis which is really nice and helpful
My time at Northumbria hasn’t been the greatest, I think it is because of the pandemic. There’s been a few instances of problems with some lecturers, which me and other peers viewed as being unprofessional. However the only thing that I like is the ask4help department, this department is very helpful with any student issues. Other than that the learning isn’t great as i thought it would be.