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've completed nearly a year and a half of my degree so far and I have enjoyed myself so much. I have been to a "normal" university before, so I personally can see the huge differences between an Online and "normal" University. In the University of Essex Online you're more than a number as I said previously, every aspect of the course is personal to you and the tutors are really focused to helping you achieve your best potential. It's hard to summarise my experience in one tiny box but I have seriously enjoyed myself so much already; as well as learnt so much. I honestly think the teaching standards are so much higher than a "normal" university, because the personal teaching and feedback is so prominent. Also, I was worried that I wouldn't make any friends since it was an online university but I made some close friends within my first few weeks of joining. Again, it's hard to summarise my experience on the spot but I have honestly loved every minute of it so far!
I personally think that there is a really strong effort to increase employability skills. Transferable skills are quite a big feature within the assignments, as we have to submit "journals" every two weeks to reflect our own learning; which helps us identify transferable skills for our personal and professional lives.
For me personally, I love the flexibility of the course as there are no set hours. This means we have to completely plan out our entire study time during the week; which has really made me much more organised!! In my old university, I was spending 1-2 hours a day driving to University and catching 2 buses (onsite parking was useless!) so the amount of time that I'm saving is just insane! In terms of how the course is taught, the tutors all have very interesting career backgrounds (such as owning their own multiple businesses or have risen up the career ladders and quite a few have Masters/ PhDs) which really help us learn the various modules since every tutor is so different! I also really love the Discussion forums that we have (twice per module) since we can really dive into the modules much more than just learning for an exam. I've also met quite a few new friends through the discussion forums!
There's no student union as such but there's forums provided within the online learning platform which are split into subjects and cover all kinds of topics and plenty of places to make friends. This is an online university though so it is quite different to a standard university.
Very good. Again, since it is an online university the ball game is a lot different - we have bi-weekly Live (you don't need to talk or anything though) Q&A sessions with our Tutors for example.
I seriously can't commend the support provided by the university enough. The tutors are very focused around developing our skills and abilities so constant feedback is provided to help us improve. I had a family bereavement and had to postpone an assignment and my student adviser and tutor were beyond helpful and kind! Again like previous answers, because this is an online university, it is a much more personal experience than a normal university where you are just a number.
Excellent. Accessible. Engaging. Flexible. Overall a very good experience. Again, online learning is not for the faint of heart or lazy or disorganized; it requires real motivation and persistence. The earlier person who rated the University of Essex Online poorly obviously did not put in the effort to be successful. The Ipsos National Student Satisfaction Survey scores are some of the highest in the country. Much higher than the Open University, University of Liverpool and others. The QAA rating is high and even 'commendable' in terms of the efforts the school makes at continuous improvement. Very good.
The online program does not focus as much on work placements since the programs are geared toward people who are already working. In order to be accepted into the MBA program one of the criteria is that you must have several years of management level work experience. This is borne out in the online forums as one is expected to contribute illustrative examples from one's daily work. In this way the students learn from each other's experience. As for transferable skills, they lie mainly in research and communication. The theory helps but the most practical benefit gained comes from knowing where to look for answers when a real world business problem arises, then how to communicate solutions.
The ability to access content any time of the day or night, as well as the engagement in the subject matter forums. Online learning is very different than classroom learning in that students must take the initiative to engage with other students, the lecturers and the material. One has to be motivated. It's not an approach that will work for idiots looking to be spoon fed material.
The student's union is irrelevant as I (like most) am an oversea's student. I have a NUS card but can't use it in North America!
Fully online. The moodle interface is very good. Well laid out and easy to follow. Texbooks are electronic and I can access the content anywhere -- on my phone, tablet or laptop. Live seminars with the lecturers use the Zoom platform which works flawlessly. Delivery systems are good.
Fully online. Not relevant.
Online. Not relevant
Academic support is very good. Clear detailed marking of assessments and very quick response. Guaranteed to return calls within 48 hours (though I have never waited more than 8) and assessments are guaranteed to be marked within 1 week. That has been the case. Good engagement by the tutor in the discussion forums. Live one to one sessions available on skype every three weeks, Live Q&A seminars on Zoom every 2 weeks also recorded and available for download later. Very good.