Don’t Let Anyone Trample Over Your Rights!

This is KSU’s message to the University student. The purpose of this message is not to alarmingly suggest that the University of Malta is putting the student’s rights at stake in some way. The purpose of this message is targeted to raise awareness of the importance of self-respect and dignity for the University student.

React intelligently to situations were you feel you rights are undermined. Remember that KSU is there purposefully to be of support to you as a student! KSU is your council, and although it is typically committed in organising activities for self sustenance, it is largely focused in maintaining a supportive role for the student’s University experience.

KSU wanted to make this reminder more visual and even more present in the University students’ hangout – Student’s House!

Floor Sticker

And what are the means to communicate your concerns to KSU? Be comfortable and do any of the following:

  • Come at KSU office to speak directly to us!
  • Email us on education@ksu.org.mt
  • Acess our Online Complaint System and submit an academic complaint ticket.

To help you even more with the Online Complaint System, KSU has prepared the below info-graphic as a handy guidance. For a more detailed guidance, please view this Education Blog entry.

Don’t let anyone trample over your rights!

Ksu_Inforgraphic_ComplaintSystem

KE/KPS Seminar 2 – March 2014

1978452_10152128424014221_196241793_o

KSU has invited board members of student organisations and student representatives of the University of Malta to the second KE/KPS Seminar of the 13′/14′ term.

This took place on Saturday 22nd March 2014 at Microsoft Innovation Centre at Skyparks, MIA, Luqa. The seminar programme consisted of the following agenda KE-KPS Seminar 2 – March 2014 – Agenda.

The Seminar kick started with two very interesting training sessions. The training sessions were thought provocative, interactive and most of all relevant to the skills needed for effective student representation. The First session was delivered by Mr Josef Said from KONNEKT and focused about the various skills which contribute the Leadership. The second session was delivered by Mr. Morgan Parnis from Business Leaders Malta and focused on how to effectively delegate commitments in an organisation.

After the coffee break, Mr Saviour Vassallo from the Office of the Commissioner for Voluntary Organisations gave a presentation about the importance of a student organisation to become legally enrolled as a VO. he focused on the requirements for enrolment and also the commitments which keeps a VO legally abiding. The Office for the Commissioner of Voluntary Organisations is the regulator of VO’s whilst VO’s reap benefit of enrolment to support provided by the Malta Council for the Voluntary Sector.

Following lunch the members divided into two workshops. These workshops were organised as part of a working process currently carried out within the Social Policy and Education offices of KSU.

Inspector Timothy Zammit from the Malta Police Force – Cyber Crime Unit led a workshop on Cyber Harassment. The discussions were focused on what defines harassment and what makes cyber harassment different. Insp. Zammit spoke about how one can prevent cyber harassment and who one can contact if the need arises. Importance was also given to the fact that there is a lack of education and awareness on these matters both at University and at other institutions. Therefore, this factor is what the KPS Cyber Harassment working group shall be focusing on in the policy being drafted.

Dr. Charmaine Cristiano Grech from the Ministry of Education and Employment led a a workshop on the Education Act Reform. During this workshop KSU’s recommendations were discussed and students present from a wide spectrum of sectors at University of Malta were able to express their opinions and discuss point raised. The discussion shifted from an aspect of legal provisions to the more practical implementation of measures.

These seminars are a joint initiative between the Education Office and the Social Policy Office of KSU.

The Online Academic Complaint System

The Online Complaint System is a KSU Education office initiative which provides a hub for students to create and submit an academic complaint ticket. This allows an efficient way in which KSU can follow  up on the progress of each ticket and ensure a timely resolution.

This year the system was improved by roping in student representatives as virtual participants in the system. This will allow the Education Office to cooperate more closely with student reps by assigning complaint tickets from the relevant Faculties and Institutes. The info-graphic below is part of a campaign to raise awareness of the system and how to use it.

Ksu_Inforgraphic_ComplaintSystem

 

 The Education Office is providing you with a detailed stepwise guidance through this article. Follow these steps to learn how to submit an academic complaint when the need arises.

Step 1: Access KSU’s official portal – http://www.ksu.org.mt.

Step 1

Step 2: Access the complaints section on the portal’s home page.

Step 2

A number of quick links are available on KSU’s portal home page. These links guide the students to a number of practical services which are of their interest. To learn more about the complaint system, the ways and means of voicing a complaint and to whom you’d like to voice your concern, select read more on the ‘Complaints’ tab.

Step 3

The tab will provide you with general information about complaints. There are three main categories of recipients to whom students might want to contact. These are:

  • Faculty/Institute Student Representatives
  • Student Organisations
  • KSU’s Education Office

Each of the options above provides you with all the relevant information a student needs to set up a contact point between himself/herself and the complaint recipient.

For students who would like to keep their personal information undisclosed , there is also the ‘Anonymous Complaint’ option.

Step 3: Login to your KSU profile

At the bottom of each page of KSU’s portal, there is the constant option to access your personal KSU profile. You might remember accessing this in order to apply for your parking permit. Aside from the parking permit, the KSU profile provides a number of other services, including the submission of academic complaints.

Step 3-1

Once you login successfully you will be led to your KSU profile page where a number of options are available. One of the option tabs is ‘Academic Complaints’ where you can easily submit a complaint or else view past complaints and their status of resolve


Step 3-2
Step 4: Submitting an Academic Complaint.

From the mentioned optioned, the student can easily choose ‘Submit an academic complaint’ which will provide the interface. The complaint system functions on behalf of a simple form in which details relevant to the complaint are filled.

Step 4

Once the complaint has been submitted it will be reaching the education office which will keep close contact with the author of the complaint in order to reach an effective resolution in the shortest time possible.

Step 5: Follow-up your complaint.

Once submitted, the education office will receive your complaint and if deemed feasible your complaint may be assigned to the respective faculty/institute student representatives. However, if a matter is general or urgent, the KSU education office will mostly deal with it.

Your complaint submission will open a communication thread with the Education Office. The thread will be assigned a status tag dependent on the progress which has been achieved in dealing with the complaint. It is important that you follow-up progress on the complaint by regularly checking on it and replying to the education office when required.

Using the tool wisely!

The more appropriately the tool is used, the more effective will be its results. The tools purpose is to create an important communication bridge between students but misuse may lead to its loss of purpose. The tool should be used only for academic-related issues and students should not opt for this tool to ask general queries. Here are some tips which may help an effective use of the tool:

  • Make sure that your issue of concern has grounds for an academic complaint.
  • Student representatives can be very supportive in this area. Look into communication with them prior to the Education Office.
  • Provide accurate details related to yourself and the subject of complaint.
  • Explain yourself as concise as possible however feed in all the relevant information. Make sure that the complaint recipient (Education office) can clearly understand your concern.
  • Follow-up your complaint by providing regular input when asked to.
  • If a meeting is required to discuss the issue, do make yourself available.
  • Be as objective as possible!

The Student’s Charter

One of the main aims of KSU, as clearly indicated in its statute, is working to protect students’ rights, which are outlined in this Students’ Charter. The education office has always been an active body in KSU, working closely with students, listening to their queries and providing advice. The Students’ Charter is an essential reference tool which helps them understand what their rights and duties are.

The Student’s Charter is a document which enlists the rights and responsibilities of the University of Malta student, the responsibilities of the University of Malta towards its students and also the responsibilities of KSU as the official representative of the student body.  The Students’ Charter outlines the unique relationship between the University and its students as equal stakeholders in higher education. It illustrates the entitlements and responsibilities of both, as well as provides a framework for the University to develop and improve its services, where appropriate.

It is in the University of Malta’s interest to safeguard the well-being of students and therefore the University advocates the guidelines outlined in the Student’s Charter. The University is expected to  foster this amongst its academics in order to extend the University’s views across the exercising of its duties and service to students.

KSU believes that a positive step would be the formal recognition of the Student’s Charter in the Academic Staff Collective Agreement. This would signify an act of goodwill from the academics/University of Malta’s side to ensure that the guidelines in the Student’s Charter are being implemented. KSU is holding the necessary discussions during the current renegotiation of the collective agreement so that the above proposal may be included as a provision.

This KSU proposal is being voiced in the spirit of creating a more widespread commitment toward the well-being and protection of the University of Malta student.

KSU meets Gozo Pro-Rector

In the spirit of identifying areas of improvement for the benefit of the Gozitan student body, KSU has recently met Gozo Pro-Rector Prof. Joe Friggieri. The talks with Prof. Friggieri provided interesting insight on current efforts by UoM with regards to services towards Gozitan students.

KSU must again highlight and recognize the pronounced increase in the number of students which are allowed to the exams in Gozo. This initiative first saw the light of day following pressures by Gozitan students themselves through Grupp Universitarji Ghawdxin (GUG) where KSU has constantly shown its support. Since then, it has been continued and improved upon and we are now seeing a record number of students being able to do their exams in Gozo.

During the meeting, the Gozo Campus Library was discussed and it was highlighted that an area of improvement would be the addition of computer facilities. In light of this, KSU will be seeking support from Library and IT Services in order to look into the possibility of further investment in the area. KSU will also plan for a scheme through which printed resources at the Gozo library may increase.

Currently, UoM offers video-conferencing facilities to groups of Gozitan students following courses from Gozo. One must appreciate the logistical challenge of video-conferenced lectures and this is therefore available where justified, such as where the number of students at the receiving end is reasonable. This is currently implemented for a number of postgraduate courses such as evening courses and was found to work quite well. In light of this, an increase in video-conferencing units can be a good step forward in improving the facilities available. KSU will be seeking support from IT Services in order to assess the possibility of increase in such facilities.

At the same time, KSU is also working on increasing promotion of the online (e-learning) academic tools at UoM. Among these lies the uploading of assignments to VLE, an initiative which is expected to benefitGozitan students significantly.

On a sidenote, it was concluded that Gozo campus could also benefit from project by KSU which supports students’ daily lives at University. Therefore KSU is currently liasing with Precincts Office in order to extend its water fountain project by installing one at Gozo Campus.

Prof. Friggieri augured that KSU continues its effort in representing students. In the spirit of collaboration, KSU will also maintain contact with GUG so that improvements for Gozitan students can be sought collectively.

KSU meets Academic Affairs Pro-Rector

The KSU education office is working hard to ensure that ideas for improvement in the quality of education materialize in an effective manner. KSU is always seeking to suggest methods which may allow an even better academic experience.

In light of this, KSU recently held a meeting with Pro-Rector for Academic Affairs – Prof. Alfred Vella, to discuss and review certain proposals as constructively as possible. Matters discussed and respective way forwards mainly include the following:
  • KSU is committed to ensuring that valuable academic tools such as VLE and Turnitin are being used across the board at UoM. UoM is equally committed that these tools are made use of by academic staff. The current Academic Online Tools Survey will allow KSU to inform UoM of any gaps, in order to take immediate action
  • In line with the availability and use of Turnitin, KSU is suggesting that Online Assignment Submission is promoted and made widely-available across UoM. In such a digital age, this will facilitate academic commitments. Such a proposal will be put forward for discussion through Senate.
  • Quality assurance in education is a subject at heart for both UoM and KSU and both parties work with full interest in this area. The Study-Unit Feedback is an interesting quality assurance exercise through which academics may improve the delivery of education. With this in mind, KSU is proposing that a system is implemented by which students’ own improvement is facilitated through feedback from their lecturers. ThisAssignment Feedback can be considered a feedback mechanism reciprocal to the study-unit feedback. The education office is currently consolidating a proposal which suggests an implementation of a standardised means which allows students to receive feedback on their work. In the near future, this will also be proposed to Senate.
The meeting with Prof. Vella was very productive. From the outcome, KSU can evaluate the valuable input received in order to identify the best course of action to take so that the student body’s proposals reach their target. This augurs well for a more consolidated education system for the benefit of UoM students.

KSU is ever committed to enhancing its healthy relationship with the Rectorate of the University of Malta and looks forward to engage in more similar colloquial discussions in order to tap benefits for the University student.

Extended Library Hours (inc. Earlier Opening Hours!) – January 2014

Extended Library Hours (inc. Earlier Opening Hours!) Cover Photo

KSU is once again collaborating with the University of Malta Library to bring you another session of Extended Library Hours from 6th to 31th January 2014!

For the first time ever, through its healthy collaboration with the Library, KSU has managed to secure earlier opening hours of both Main Campus and Health Sciences Library. From this January session, opening hours shall start from 8:30am rather 9:00am as a pilot project to test effectiveness of this initiative.

The opening hours for the January 2014 Extended Library Hours session will be the following:

extended_opening_hours

KSU would like to encourage all University students to make most benefit out of this service. Please also take note of the following message from the Library Administration:

Dear Student,

Exams are approaching and the amount of patrons visiting the Library for research and study increases substantially.  In this regard, the staffs of the University of Malta Library want you to feel comfortable while pursuing your studies in our buildings.  The following rules are intended to balance the needs of the Library with the convenience to our users.

  1. Observe the silent study areas and be considerate of others by helping to maintain an atmosphere of quiet.
  2. Food or drink (except water) is not allowed in the Library.  Food and drink can damage library material, equipment and furnishings, and it may disturb other library users.
  3. Due to the limited amount of lockers, every student is required to empty the locker and return the key on a daily basis.

Please observe these rules and encourage others to do so as well.

The Management 

KSU thanks the UoM Library administration for their consistent cooperation and urges students using the Library to behave appropriately and respect the staff and students making use of this facility.