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Key Answers from 'An Audience With...'

Find out some of the key answers to your questions from Coventry University's Senior Leadership Team in yesterday's 'An Audience With...' event!

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The Senior Leadership Team for the University joined us yesterday as part of our ‘An Audience With…’ event with the Officer Team. The event was designed to pose your questions and queries to the people who can make changes at the university. There were several questions answered; you can watch the entire event back here.

Here are some of the key questions that were answered yesterday. A full transcript will be made available shortly.

CAT: What is the University doing to tackle courses where students aren't receiving the promised 10 hours of contact time? 

Guy Daly: “Regarding the ten-hour face to face commitment – this will be a general commitment. There will be some situations where this will not be the case, for example students doing an individual project will naturally have less contact hours required. Having said that, where it is the case that ten-hour commitment is not being met, please let us know. We will change that.”

If you feel you are not receiving the correct number of contact hours, follow this link to submit the issues you are having.

JULIA: What services does the University offer to support the mental health of students outside the UK?  

Donna Kendall: “This is a really important issue as we have a number of students based overseas. We are working with health and wellbeing services to make sure we are able to signpost students who have issues overseas to local services overseas. Whilst we can talk to students in a counselling fashion remotely, there is nothing to match face to face help. It is also nothing like the support that local services can offer. 

“We are increasingly doing this – we are not perfect at it but we are getting better.”

ELVIS: Why do timetables keep changing after the semester has begun?  

Guy Daly: “Timetabling is extremely complicated. There are a number of stages to it – we confirm with faculties what it should look like during the previous academic year. Then we need to do some student fitting; we need to know how many students are progressing and choosing certain modules. We have complications with resitting students, clashes and room usage.

“We accept we could do it better – we could be slicker at it. We continue to review our curriculum and part of that will be to simplify things.”

Andrew Turner: “We are seeing more issues this year compared to previous – this can be down to the uncertainty facing us this year. Clearing was very different this year and that has affected it. When we have academic staff leaving/long term leave this can also affect it. We are looking into timetable checking by curriculum leads for the January semester to cut down on these issues.”

INDICA: Delayed enrolments meant some students couldn't access their course or finance, what extra provisions are there for those students? 

Andrew Turner: “Enrolment is incredibly complex, and it is often down to case-by-case differences. Returning students are different – some students have deferred which has delayed progression and then enrolment. The Control Room has been begun by SLT (Senior Leadership Team) to monitor enrolments – it’s not perfect, but we are planning improvements for January. We are monitoring the flow of students through that journey - we are better this year compared to last – the resit period in July rather than August has allowed students and Registry more time to process confirmed enrolment and progression. Until you have somebody confirmed, Student Finance cannot release loans - hardship funds are available to support students with issues, but we are looking at the daily flow and looking into where we have groups of students who are not accessing enrolment.

“For returning students who haven’t enrolled, we have released their learning materials on AULA. We have worked to make sure that they have this year’s modules. This has been brought in this year and will continue to make sure that students are less impacted by enrolment issues. We will be doing this earlier as well – so students will be able to access materials as soon as the course starts so that students are not disadvantaged.”

Donna Kendall: “We are committed to helping students with these issues – we are improving and will continue to. We have put in resource to ensure that these issues are limited; around 50 posts have been added to support the enrolment process. We are monitoring inboxes across the university to ensure that email traffic is being directed to the correct places and trying to cut response times.”

CAT: Can students switch between modes of study on a weekly basis? For example can students do face to face this week and online courses the next week?  

Guy Daly: “We have found over the COVID pandemic that students want to be face to face and back on campus. That is part of informing us that the ten-hour commitment is necessary. Students learn better on campus – that is part of being a student. Meeting other students, formally and informally, is of benefit to wellbeing and learning. The learning experience, you have a responsibility to contribute to both your own and others learning. We would, on the whole, discourage from mixing between modes. There can be implications of studying on campus and not fulfilling contact time.”

Andrew Turner: “At the start of pandemic, we made it possible to start and study online. One of the things we have had to do is create an option to study fully online – Swapping modes on a weekly basis requires dynamic systems to track – ones which we are not in possession of currently. For home students with a maintenance loan, we have an obligation to let Student Finance know – this will affect your student loan. Blended approach guidance from government isn’t well developed – it is contradictory in places. This will likely improve in time and we also have a plan to be able to allow this to happen easily but at the moment we are not in a position to do so.”

This event was the first in a number of panel events planned by CUSU. Our ‘In Conversation With…’ events begin next week and will take place across the month – find your school specific event here.


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