Idea

Advice Zone Online Is Not Fit For Purpose

by STEPHEN O'SHEA 07 March 2019, 22:58

Category: Student Support

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Avo

The University Promise

The Advice Zone Online portal was launched in the Summer of 2018 and came with the promises that it will make finding answers to questions "easier than ever" (USW, http://unilife.southwales.ac.uk/pages/3370-advice-zone-online?locale=en)
In addition, other services such as appointment booking were merged into the Portal to act as a 'one-stop shop' for students. Additionally, a new feature was to be implemented which allowed students to receive text alerts when an appointment is due to reduce Did Not Attend rates.

 

The Failings

Despite such promises, students are encountering numerous issues in relation to this new system. The below is not an exhaustive list of issues, but have been polled by the student population:

  • Email and Text alerts are not being sent to students prior to their appointments, causing them to miss appointments;
  • The site is generally hard to navigate and the FAQs require specific search terms to render desired results. This causes issues with students where English is a second language or students who are using mobile devices and do not wish to write out full statements;
  • Appointment bookings only go up to 14 days in advance. As such, if a service if not available within 14 days the student is required to log onto the appointment system daily in the hope of obtaining an appointment;
  • The Advice Zone Online has depersonalized services offered to students. Student issues have become part of a growing bureacracy within the Institution. In some cases, Advice Zone staff are advising students to go onto Advice Zone Online rather than providing a face-to-face service and dealing with it themselves.

 

The University have previously defended the Portal explaining that there were teething errors arising from the implementation and that they are "hoping to fix things soon". However, the University has not acknowledged that student issues are constant and can often be urgent and so the excuse provided is not accepted.

 

Resolutions

The Student Body proposes:

  1. Advice Zone Staff are reminded that they should fulfil their duties which involves face-to-face interaction. If the University Policy has changed to recommend they refer students to the Online Portal, this should be reverted.
     
  2. Existing teething issues, namely the text/email reminders, are looked into and fixed as a matter of priority.
     
  3. The Appointment System is changed to allow students to "queue" for an appointment where none are available for 14 days. This ensures Students are served on a first-come, first-served basis and not luck of the draw.

Comments

  • Default avatar
    Callum Easley   wrote, 08-03-2019 - 11:33

    The entire USW website has failings. It's awkward to navigate, important information is scattered around various pages when there should be reference to said information on every page relating to it. There is no link to my exam timetable on the exam homepage itself, I had to look around all the sublinks and eventually found it on the Academic Registry page. I have to Google what I'm looking for because the site itself is so un-user friendly. Also I see the site still has 'Copyright 2013 University of Glamorgan' as its footer in places.

  • Default avatar
    SU Admin   wrote, 01-05-2019 - 17:00

    Thank you for your idea. Although this didn’t hit 25 likes, we understand our students are keen to use this online service. We are working closely with the Director of Student Services and the Advice Zone Manager to improve AZO. We know good student communication is essential to a good student experience, and SU reps now sit on a new USW Student Communication Strategy Committee where we will be challenging the University to improve all areas of student communication. We will keep you updated on how we are getting on.

  • Default avatar