Student co-creation is an ambition for many staff and students examining the student experience. Recognising that students can have valuable insights into what, and how they learn is the first step in a co-creation model, however, ensuring that co-creation will be authentic and inclusive is challenging.
To explore this challenge, Advance HE is hosting the Students as Co-Creators Symposium at The Studio in Manchester on 26 January 2023, providing an opportunity to critically explore the role of all students as co-creators across all areas of their university experience.
We invited students to identify the themes they considered important to discuss at the symposium, to model co-creation and to hear this authentic critical voice. Alessandra Bossoni, a third-year student of Biomedical Science at Edinburgh Napier University, will be attending the symposium.
What are the advantages of having students as co-creators?
In my opinion, the main advantage of having students as co-creators is that you're not only considering the side of the academics, which of course is very important, but you also consider the side of the people who actually are learning - the students themselves. This of course has great advantages, because usually the people who will use the materials created are the students . This gives you an insight into what they want and what they need, but it also increases the chances of getting a diverse range of perspectives: across age, ethnicity and socio-economic background.
Co-creation also gives students the chance to engage with academics in a different way than the traditional – educator-student relationship, which can be very valuable for both parties involved: students get a chance to see what goes on behind the curtains, while the academics get to know the students as more than just a number in their records.
What personal example do you have of student co-creation that has benefitted both the students and the university?
I'm currently in my third year of Medical Science at Edinburgh Napier University. I've been involved in a project which explored why it is important to have diverse examples in the curriculum – not just to ensure a sense of belonging and inclusion for all students, but also to understand how diagnosis and treatments can be affected by skin colour and genetics.
I think I benefit from co-creation because I have had a chance to actually be a part of what I learned – actively influencing my learning as opposed to passively learning it. Thanks to the project I took part in, the university has been able to see my point of view as a student. What we noticed when collaborating with the staff is that sometimes they do not fully understand the struggles students face because most of them belong to a very different generation. What are the things that the students really value? We are a different generation and live in different times which in turn gives us a different perspective on the university experience. Of course, lecturers have been students before, but it's not the same. They are getting the insights from the student perspective while students get the chance to collaborate with some great academics and staff members.
What are you most excited about when attending the Students as Co-Creators Symposium?
I'm actually very happy to have been invited to the Symposium and there’s more than one thing that I'm particularly excited about. I am really thrilled at the idea of meeting other students who did something similar to what I did. I'm curious to learn about their projects and how they've been involved with their universities.
I am also very excited to meet other academics because in my opinion, the academics who are there are going to be the ones who are interested in hearing what students have to say. So from my perspective as a student, I really value that aspect of academics being willing to engage with the students as much as possible.
Students as Co-Creators Symposium 2023: Beyond Engagement - 26 January 2023
The active participation of students in co-creating their learning experience can add value and insights to the student experience for staff, students and institutions, however authentic and inclusive co-creation is challenging. In this symposium we want to critically explore the role of all students as co-creators across all areas of their university experience. Find out more.