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									Appendix X(f) - Response to student satisfaction questionnaire, July
2006

At the end of May, our annual student satisfaction questionnaire was emailed to all
disabled students at the University who have some form of support in place. 143
students responded, with a representative sample of responses from each College:

College of Arts and Social Sciences: 67 (46.9%)
College of Life Sciences and Medicine: 48 (33.5%)
College of Physical Sciences: 28 (19.6%)
Only 4 of the students were from Graduate Schools across the university.

The questionnaire took the same format as previous years and had 18 questions, 4
of which allowed the respondents to make comments about particular aspects of
support for disabled students. The responses were anonymous, though students
were given the opportunity to give contact details or email the Senior Disability
Adviser if they wished to be involved in discussions relating to disability equality.
Students were asked their year and course of study.

The questionnaire was sent to all students who have some form of provisions in
place.

Have you had any contact with a Disability Adviser in Student Support
Services?
131 (91.7%) students reported that they had had contact and 12 (8.3%) students
reported that they had not. The response should have been that 100% said yes,
because of the cohort of students that the questionnaire was emailed to.

If yes, how do you rate the quality of the service you received?
Students rated the quality of the service received from a Disability Adviser as
follows:
     Very good: 76 (58.0%)
     Good: 31 (23.7%)
     Satisfactory: 19 (14.5%)
     Poor: 3 (2.3%)
     Very poor: 2 (1.5%)

Please comment on positive or negative aspects of the service
Approximately 100 students made comments. 75 of these were positive, 11 were
negative and 14 comments had both positive and negative aspects to them.
A sample of comments is as follows:

POSITIVE
   Very approachable, understanding and helpful
      A Disability Adviser made contact with me before starting the university,
       meaning I could have all necessary special provisions in place before I
       arrived – saving any extra worry about it.
      I haven’t had to contact them this year, and yet I have automatically been
       contacted by them for anything relevant to me. It is nice to know someone
       cares.
      Any queries or concerns quickly dealt with.
      Friendly approach and a person that is easy to talk to.

NEGATIVE
   People are too much in a hurry, they do not take you seriously and do not
     inform you completely.
      Office is some distance from the Medical School. No evidence of much
       communication between the 2 sites.
      The person you need to speak to isn’t always available.
      Takes too long for services to be put in place.
      I have not received very much guidance.

Have you had any contact with a School/Department Disability
Coordinator?
Of the 143 respondents, 58 (40.6%) reported that they had had contact with a
School Disability Coordinator, 83 (58.0%) reported that they had not and 2 (1.4%)
gave no response.

If yes, how do you rate the quality of the service you received?
Students rated the quality of the service received within their School or Department
as follows:
     Very good: 25 (37.9%)
     Good: 19 (28.8%)
     Satisfactory: 11 (16.7%)
     Poor: 5 (7.6%)
     Very poor: 5 (7.6%)
     No response: 1 (1.4%)

8 more students responded to this question than indicated that they had had
contact with a School Disability Coordinator. 1 of these students stated that the
service they had received was very good, 3 stated that it was satisfactory, 1
reported that it was poor and 3 stated that the service they had received was ‘very
poor’ – a possible explanation for this high figure. (These students are included in
the above figures).

Please comment on positive or negative aspects of the service
54 students made comments, many of which were positive. A number of students
said they had had no contact apart from information about exam arrangements,
though this seemed not to be a major concern. A number of students said that
they did not know who their School Disability Coordinator was, or even that there
was one for their School.
A sample of comments is as follows:

POSITIVE:
   When a complaint went in about the lack of lecture notes, immediate action
     was taken.
      I have found that usually long before my exams are going to start I receive
       an email with my provision for the exam and with an email address I can use
       to email the disabilities adviser for that department, which is good because it
       gives you someone you can personally contact.
      Nearly always send out my alternative arrangements in plenty of time by
       email. This is appreciated.
      Eager to help and followed up with emails etc. to check on progress
      She is very understanding, encouraging and supportive. She is very
       knowledgeable in her subject and what she doesn’t know she will try to
       obtain information for. She is always welcoming and nothing seems too
       much trouble.

NEGATIVE:
   No contact. I don’t even know who it is.
      I have been quite disappointed with the department disability coordinator.
       They have not been in contact with me at all throughout the year. And when
       I was told incorrect information about proof readers, the department
       provided the answers but not to me directly, and by which time I had
       completed the taught section of the course.
      Didn’t know these individuals were even available to speak to.
      Little feedback or information. Unfriendly and unhelpful.
      Whilst they continue to remain sympathetic to the lack of support, there is
       little effort to actually do anything about it. They are great at writing emails
       to me about the problems but I just never see any results.

How well have your agreed provisions been delivered?
77 students (53.8%) said that their agreed provisions had been fully delivered, 59
(41.3%) said they had been partially delivered and 4 students (2.8%) said that
they had not been delivered at all. 3 (2.1%) students did not respond to this
question.

How would you rate the response from your Department/School to your
requirements?
Responses to this question were as follows:
    Very good: 41 (28.6%)
    Good: 39 (27.3%)
    Satisfactory: 31 (21.7%)
    Poor: 26 (18.2%)
    Very poor: 3 (2.1%)
3 (2.1%) students did not respond to this question.

Please give details of good or bad practices you have encountered in your
Department/School.
About 100 students provided a comment at this point. The main theme here was
lecture notes – either a lack of them being provided or a failure to provide them in
advance of lectures. A number of comments were positive, apart from concerns
about lack of provision of lecture notes. Another common concern was an apparent
breakdown in communication.

A sample of comments is as follows:

POSITIVE:
   Organised and timely, putting out information on proof reading and exam
     provisions.
      Generally quick to resolve accessibility issues.
      My department is great with helping me with anything that I might need.
       This includes staff, tutors and office staff.
      It’s fantastic. I get 15 minutes for every hour for all my exams, and the
       department organises it all for me, thank you.
      I have no complaints at all. The level of treatment that I have received.

NEGATIVE:
   There was one occasion when I was recording one of my lectures that one
     lecturer asked if I had permission to do so and if I had ‘Special Needs’.
     Whilst I have no objection to any member of staff questioning my provisions,
     I do not feel that asking over a whole lecture theatre ‘Do you have special
     needs?’ is the right way to deal with it.
      Half of them didn’t know about my disability and the provisions put in place
       for it.
      The notes are a major issue. They are rarely available before lectures.
      Due procedure not followed. Unwilling to involve parties outside the School.
      Never had lecture notes before the lecture. Even after speaking to the head
       of school - this still has not happened for one subject and there were no
       lecture notes available for another subject. The lecturer was using overheads
       and writing everything as he went along. He said if we missed lectures that
       we had to get lecture notes from our friends. His handwriting was terrible,
       yet he still hand wrote all the overheads! It was not easy to follow his
       lectures or get accurate notes as I struggled to read his writing! Not given
       extra time in assessment and was told when I mentioned this that it was up
       to me to tell them I was entitled to extra time! One of my tutors, until a few
       weeks ago, didn’t know about my disability. When the info has been sent out
       to the schools nothing has been done I think! It is so frustrating.
The remainder of the questionnaire consisted of questions related to other services
throughout the university and questions took the following form:

How would you rate the University’s provisions for disabled students?
Results, as percentages, were as follows:

               I.T.   Library   Accessibility   Careers    Sports &       Accommodation
                                 of campus      service   Recreation
                                                           facilities
 Very good     22.9      14.6            24.3      12.5           10.4                  14.6
   Good        35.4      32.6            40.3      31.3           35.4                  29.9
Satisfactory   27.1      34.0            25.7      35.4           32.6                  31.3
    Poor        6.9       9.7             2.1       2.1             2.8                  3.5
 Very poor      3.5       4.2             0.7       0.7             1.4                  1.4
     No         4.2       4.9             6.9      18.0           17.4                  19.3
 response


Please take a moment to make further comments or suggestions for
improvement.

At the end of the questionnaire, students were given the opportunity to make
further comments. 60 students made a comment, many of which were suggestions
for future improvement. Again, communication concerns and lecture notes featured
prominently:
POSITIVE:
   Thank you for making my dream come true in being able to obtain a degree.
      Keep up the good work.
      Before I came to university I had not been diagnosed with dyslexia and the
       university have been excellent in dealing with the condition. I was an
       enormous relief to find out that this was the problem and the help with
       computing equipment and extra time in exams has made my life a lot easier.
       My improved exam results show this.

NEGATIVE:
   One problem I have encountered is the lack of on-campus parking spaces for
     the number of cars. There are often times when I am unable to get parked
     near the library due to non-disabled persons parking in the disability parking
     spaces.
      The University in my experience suffers from a great lack of communication
       between departments; this is also the opinion of many of my peers.
      Library videos do not have subtitles for students with hearing impairment.
       Video clips lecturers use are without subtitles either.
      I feel that it is entirely up to the student to ensure she or he gets what she
       or he needs; unfortunately, as disabled students, we need to keep on top of
       our work and it is not always possible to keep popping in to chase things up.
       I feel disabled students are treated no differently when it comes to I.T
       services or Library services; if I am incorrect this is due to a lack of
       information I have been given.

SUGGESTIONS:
   I think dyslexic students should be allowed more time when taking out heavy
    demand books as it takes us longer to read them and so puts us at a
    disadvantage at busy loan times.
      There seems to be a general attitude that students in my position are some
       how trying to cheat or get a free ride and this is not the case. in fact it makes
       learning incredibly difficult, or it wouldn't be a disability eh? We have
       suggested several times that if all the course notes were put onto disc and
       handed out at the beginning of the course, then this would benefit us and
       stop those who don’t turn up to lectures getting a free ride.
      Set all word documents to default to Arial rather than Times New Roman,
       especially on lecturers’ computers.
      The student support centre is excellent but they seem to be kept at arms
       length from the departments of the university. I would like to see more
       integration and this could possibly be done by more authority given to staff
       at the student support centre, so they can deal with problems between
       students and their departments.
      I think that some general training for all academic staff would be really good
       to give them a better understanding of disabilities and how they affect
       students. I realise that this could be expensive, but even a leaflet that could
       be circulated might help. You could introduce disabilities and the support
       services available within the university and include case studies of students
       who have different disabilities and the problems that they have faced, and
       what the lecturers could do differently to provide better support to the
       students - I'm sure you could find students to help you with this. Personally,
       while support from other organisations etc. and the department could
       definitely improve, the support that I have received from the support service
       over the last 5 years has been consistently excellent - they are the one
       department in the university that will really go out of their way to help you,
       and not just the disability advisors etc. but the secretaries top - they provide
       a really good and valuable service.

The responses to those questions that allowed free text have been considered as a
whole, to allow an analysis of what seem to be the major concerns for disabled
students. The issues that were raised most often are:
          Lecture notes: Lecture notes were mentioned 40 times. Most of the
           comments related to students not being provided with notes in advance of
           lectures. There were several comments about notes not being provided
           until a week after the lecture, or not at all. There were a few positive
           comments about notes being available on the web and certain lecturers
           going out of their way to provide good notes.
           Exam provisions: These were mentioned 16 times and comments were
            mostly positive, though there were concerns about the notification of
            arrangements being last minute.
           Communication: Communication issues were raised 14 times. The
            concerns here were either poor communication between Disability
            Advisers and School Disability Coordinators or between School Disability
            Coordinators and course lectures/tutors.
           School Disability Coordinator: There were 5 indications that students
            did not know who this was for their School(s). This should perhaps be
            rectified jointly by university Disability Advisers and the Schools/College.
           Exam noise: This was mentioned 4 times. Comments related to students
            with extra time being disturbed by other students leaving the exam room
            (either the main hall or extra time room). Students indicated that this
            disturbance wasted much of their extra time. There were also comments
            about invigilators using mobile phones and laptops during exams and this
            being distracting.
Other comments included a wish for academics to have a greater understanding of
disability issues and difficulties for students at the Foresterhill site. A couple of
students expressed a wish for students to be able to meet with a Disability Adviser
at Foresterhill.


Recommended actions
That the University Disability Advisers and School Disability Coordinators work
together to:
   a)       improve the profile of School Disability Coordinators
   b)       improve communication between Disability Advisers and School Disability
            Coordinators and between School Disability Coordinators and other
            colleagues
   c)       improve provision of lecture notes for students who require them

								
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