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BLOG: Brighton SU gets even more from surveys with some creative thinking

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March 2017 - Sam Medhurst, Web Developer & Digital Platform Coordinator at University of Brighton Students' Union shares a student engagement project which made use of core MSL functionality to great effect.

After the whirlwind that is Freshers was over, the Brighton Students' Union Marketing and Communications department huddled together to decide on the content we wanted to create to maintain digital engagement over the Christmas period.

Getting to know your Students' Union

After seeing what was possible with MSL's survey module, excellently demonstrated by Sheffield Hallam's use of it to create an 'Induction Module', we thought we would have a crack to see what we could come up with, also using the survey module.

The idea we settled on was to create a 'Get to know your Students Union’ info quiz to impart quick-fire Students’ Union information to the target audience. In this case, we’d be targeting students - predominantly freshers - who weren't perhaps confident with what we or any Students' Union exists to do.

The four-page info quiz featured sections on ‘Who we are’, ‘What we do’, ‘How to get involved’ and a last section asking the individual to respond with what they found out, already knew, or suggestions on what topics the Students’ Union could be providing more information on – all taking advantage of the survey module functionality.

Using HTML, style sheets and CSS

After design and content were decided on, survey sections were mocked-up and built by adding HTML within the survey sections and creating a separate style sheet as a toolbar style sheet in ‘Website Admin’ i.e. a style sheet only to be applied to the page the info-quiz sat on.

In terms of measurable engagement, final participant numbers were 75 total responses and 243 page views, giving us a benchmark of engagement we can work to when creating similar streams of work in the future. The project is by no means a work of art, however we found that taking a bit of time to add some custom CSS, beating into shape some not-so aesthetically pleasing default styles, really does pay off.

Managing internal workflow

We’ve also used the survey module to create a ‘Work Request’ form, where staff can submit work requests to our department, detailing upcoming projects that they would like our support on. When staff complete all fields and make the request, we make use of the notification functionality to notify us that a request has been submitted. Again, just another way to use the survey module to create something a little more bespoke.

Both projects allowed us to explore different ways to use the survey module, rather than just using it to conduct a survey. We are sure there are loads of interesting ways the different MSL modules can be used, so we plan on spending time identifying a few of these to take forward.

Let's share ideas

It would be great to hear about what other Unions’ do when creating content, your thought process, interesting ways you have used the different MSL modules, or feedback on our project, so please do get in touch if you would like to chat as I'd be interested to hear your thoughts.

Sam Medhurst
Web Developer & Digital Platform Co-ordinator
Brighton Students’ Union
s.medhurst2@brighton.ac.uk

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