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                                course representative learning pack

introduction & guidance notes

tutor notes

participant workbook

                                                          n   u       s
          n     u      s
    National Union of Students’
       2nd Floor, Centro 3,
         Mandela Street,
             NW1 0DU

                        ‘Students are entitled to a higher education that has
                         value, with national expectations and awards that
                      meet published specifications; and to fair and equitable
                     treatment in all aspects of their studies. QAA values the
                       participation of students in the assurance of academic
                                       standards and quality.’

                                                 (QAA Strategic Plan, 2006-11)

Student representation is at the heart of our movement.

Students have a crucial role to play in shaping the learning experience around them: as
recipients of information, as participants in their learning experience, as providers of
information and feedback, as shapers of their learning and as actors in the management of and
the delivery of the learning experience. Through class, course and faculty reps, we have in our
hands the power to directly shape and enhance the learning experience.

We have a shared responsibility to ensure that students are getting the most out of their
experience and that course reps are able to make the most of their position to improve their
own learning experience as well as that of others.

This course rep learning pack is designed to help you organise course reps to ensure that they
are maximising their potential and maximising wins for students – organising to win for our
members in education.

In unity,

Stephen Brown                     Wes Streeting
National Secretary                Vice-President (Education)

One of the key ways in which students get involved in their communities and ultimately their
students’ union is as course reps. Essentially the development of this pack is designed to ensure
that those educational activists are seen as integral to the development of those communities.
One of the key ways in which they can further their activism will be through the joint TUC/NUS
activists academy.

Course representatives are paramount to delivering for students at a local level. With a renewed
focus on NUS’s organising agenda this pack has been created to compliment the structures and
development programmes that are in place at students’ unions for course representatives.

In order to ensure that it is fit for purpose this new course representative learning pack has
been rigorously reviewed both internally and externally. Furthermore the pack has also been
through two robust piloting phases to incorporate the feedback that matters the most – from
course representatives on the ground.

using the pack...
There are eight training sessions in this pack each consisting of various lengths ranging from
20 to 45 minutes. Each session sets out the aims and the learning objectives of each session,
the estimated running time and the resources that you will need to gather before the session
begins. The material provides comprehensive guidance on running the sessions, including
questions to ask and when to refer participants to the accompanying resource sheets. Some of
the sessions require you to prepare material before hand.

To ensure that this pack is flexible, meeting the different learning and development needs
of the course reps in your union, the eight sessions created can be delivered together or

Symbols have been used throughout the tutor notes to help tutors easily identify the different
tasks the delegates will have to carry out throughout the course. These symbols are highlighted

                                                                         
                                                                    
                          Tutor Talk                    Role
                                                              Role Play
                                Tutor led discussion or       Play
                           
                                                             
                                                        
                               Group Exercise
             
                                                                         
                                                                          
                                
                                Pair Exercise                               
                                                    
                                                                          Coaching Question
        
                                                                         
                                             
                                Individual Task

a guide...
Session one: Course reps - facilitators of change
40 mins
This session aims to address the core fundamental of what the role of a course rep is. In doing so this session
highlights that course reps are in place to help create change for the students that they represent on their course
and that they should achieve this by being an active facilitator/organiser of change rather than passive observers of

Session two: Identifying issues
25 mins
In its most general sense, the role of a course rep is to represent students
on the issues that affect students. Through the introduction of the apathy
staircase and drawing attention to the need for issues to be ‘Widely Felt’,
‘Deeply Felt’ and ‘Winnable’ this session aims to encourage course reps to be
selective with the issues they choose to campaign and take action on.

Session three: Campaigning and taking action
45 mins
Put simply; campaigning and taking action is the final step in the apathy staircase. Through the example of Student
Union success stories this session aims to highlight that when widely felt, deeply felt and winnable issues are
identified, campaigning and taking action can facilitate this change and that course reps can have a huge role to
play within this process.

Session four: Mapping
45 mins
                    The process of ‘Mapping’ is simply the ongoing collection of piecemeal bits of information on
                    members/activists. This session aims to highlight how this simple concept can have a huge
                    impact on the effectiveness and sustainability of students’ union campaigns and the role that
                    course reps can play within this.

Session five : Developing networks and communications
40 mins
            Effective communication is paramount in any walk of life, not least so in campaigning and taking action.
            This session aims to highlight what a powerful tool Communication Action Networks (CANS) can be in
            achieving effective communication and the roles the course reps can play within them.

Session six: Overcoming apathy
45 mins
Campaigning and taking action on issues that are Widely Felt, Deeply Felt and Winnable is student representation
at its best, but to what extent is this possible when apathy is high as it is within student unions? This session aims to
make course reps aware of the chronic need to smash apathy within students’ unions and more importantly the role
that they can have in achieving this.

Session seven: Rights
45 mins
How can we effectively identify issues without being aware of our rights as students?
Through the vehicle of the students’ charter this session aims to highlight the role of
student rights in identifying issues and the role of course reps in the formulation of
student rights.

Session eight: Course rep training: the summary
20 mins
In referring back to each of the topics covered throughout the course this session aims to reinforce some of the key
learns and inspirations from this course rep programme.

To ensure that this pack is flexible and meets the different learning and development needs of the course reps in
your union, the eight sessions created can be delivered together or separately

                        The creation of this NUS course rep organising pack would not have
                        been possible if it had not been for support received from numerous
                        people in numerous organisations. NUS would like to take this
                        opportunity to thank these people for their time and effort:

                        Course Pilots
                        - Rachael Evans – Kent Union
                        - Rebecca Heard – Canterbury Christchurch University Students’ Union
                        - Lisa Manning - Buckingham Chilterns Students’ Union

Extended thanks go to all of those course reps/students that participated in the pilots and gave
their valuable feedback.

Review of the Course
- James Harvey – University of the Arts Students’ Union
- Oliver Fenwick – University of the Arts Students’ Union
- Duncan Cockburn – Senior Development Advisor, SPARQS

Activist Academy Workshop
- Elle Gray - The University of Portsmouth Students’ Union
- Mathew Kitching - Buckingham Chilterns Students’ Union
- Gemma Flannery – Liverpool Guild of Students
- Simon To – University College London Students’ Union
- Rebecca Hill – Bishop Grosseteste Student’s Union
- Chris Ford – Kingston University Students’ Union

National Union of Students’
- Jonathan Day      - Content, Testing & Delivery
- Scott Farmer      - Evaluation & Design
- Lisa Widdows      - Proofing