We were unsure of whether to continue with CSE this year because of work pressure of adapting services because of COVID-19 and also stress of undergoing assessment remotely for the first time. However I’m really glad that we went ahead.
It was a good opportunity to reflect on what we’d been doing, and because everything we’d been doing had been to support students and staff during COVID-19 crises, I found that we had plenty of recent evidence to be able to put in the assessment document. It was good to see how the work that we were doing was especially providing a more equitable service for students. I found the assessor sympathetic to our slight lack of preparation – certainly not up to our usual standard – and gave us opportunities to provide additional evidence on the day.
The online assessment went very well on the day. This was our 2 year assessment, which I think was a help as it was not as long or detailed as the full assessment. In future, I think I would prefer the 3 year re-accreditation assessment to be an in-person visit, but the 1st and 2nd year assessments could certainly be done online. Our fears about the technology being an problem or a barrier were unfounded and all the participants were able to take part without any issues. This was quite early on in the COVID-19 crises, when we weren’t as confident in working from home as we are now, but all went really well, and in future we’ll be a lot more confident about online assessment. Our university is relatively remote so there was an unlooked-for added bonus in that the assessor did not need overnight accommodation and therefore the cost of the assessment was a little less than usual. The report that we received shortly after the “visit” was thorough and insightful. We’ll certainly be using as a basis to improve further.
The only disappointment was not being able to show off in person the newly refurbished room in the library which had only opened the previous autumn.