The change agents’ network supports working in partnership with students as a driver for change in implementing technology enhanced learning. There is growing evidence that this approach is enabling providers and universities to deliver more effective student engagement activities and to engage their students in active dialogue about the digital aspects of their learning experiences as well as to explore the role of technology in supporting students’ studies and in preparing them for employment.
Working in partnership with students facilitates much more than effective engagement of students in the development of their digital environment. It can also prompt and support staff to develop their own digital capabilities and enhance their practice.
The change agents’ network facilitates the sharing of practice across HE and FE through a community mailing list, online webinars, institutional case studies and an online open access journal as well as offering a Staff and Educational Development Association (SEDA) accredited course for students and staff to develop the skills they need to implement effective partnership working.
So what is a student change agent?
Throughout the guide you will find references to students as change agents or students as partners as well as other terms used by specific institutions. Put simply, student change agents are students who work with staff to develop change within an institution. There are many different ways change agents can work from leading their own change to supporting a defined project or taking part in institutional processes such as recruitment and teaching practice observations.
The goal of engaging students working with change is that the process can significantly enhance impact, promote engagement, improve the quality of the learning experience and support sustainability.
Other institutional benefits include the development of unique student-led approaches to obtain a goal, non-compartmentalised results, ‘fresh-eyes’ and importantly the passion to make a difference. It is important to note that change agents are a beneficial arrangement and may include payment, enhanced networking opportunities, formal recognition and the development of employability attributes which can be evidenced on their curriculum vitae.
The 2014 UCISA digital capabilities survey reports that 30% of respondents are working with students as change agents with another 46% of respondents ‘working towards’ this.