The best way to collect nominations will depend on your awards and your institution.
Wherever you are your students are probably surveyed A LOT so it’s important to avoid survey fatigue by making sure award nominations aren’t too close to other surveys or too time-consuming to complete.
Some students’ unions have found that they got more nominations using hard copy forms; by handing them out in public areas on campus, students were more likely to pick them up and fill in while waiting for friends, etc.
That said, if you’re going to get a large number of nominations, hard copy forms will make it more difficult to bring your results together and to store these for the future. This could mean a significant amount of admin work.
Case Study: SU Arts use a black and white paper nomination form which works pefectly! The students relate to the simplicity of the design and the Students’ Union can photocopy the nomination form over and over depending on demand!
However, hard copy nomination forms are less useful where you are having lots of different awards as this would make for a huge and unwieldy nomination form which may put students off. This would also need significant resources and may conflict with the environmental aims of the institution and student association.
Whether you’re using hard copy or online forms, using open questions on nomination forms and providing space for comments on nominations will not only help with selection but also provide valuable information on student views which can be used later on. This is often the most useful information when shortlisting and deciding on winners.
Some project partners said they would have liked to have been more open and transparent at the nominations stage about how the selection processes were going to work. Allowing your nominators to know how your selection decisions are going to be made will increase the levels of trust in the process and the results of the awards themselves.
Providing a ‘what happens next’ information box on nomination forms, whether online or hardcopy will make sure students know how their nominations and comments are being used and reassure any students who may be worried about commenting. Some partners also included a tick box on their forms so nominators could indicate if they’d like to attend the awards ceremony if one of their nominations was shortlisted.
Edinburgh Napier who produced hard copy nomination forms used volunteers in t-shirts with the awards logo on it to hand out forms, which were collected at ‘ballot boxes’ across the campuses. The forms used asterisks to indicate mandatory questions so respondents weren’t put off by feeling they had to fill out the whole form.
Glasgow Caledonian used mostly online nomination forms which were available on each student’s Blackboard (the institution’s Virtual Learning Environment, or VLE), but also had a manned stall in the library foyer with net books where students could complete the online nomination forms there and then if they thought they’d forget later.
Strathclyde was unique in allowing academics to nominate peers for awards, to increase the sense of ownership between staff and students and encourage staff discussions about teaching quality and best practice. However, the awards were delivered entirely by the students’ association. The institution involvement also helped to get the message across to staff about what the awards were all about.
Abertay used the Bristol Online Survey website as a vehicle for their nominations. https://www.survey.bris.ac.uk/
EUSA used their own designed and owned site which was protected by the university to ensure only current students were able to nominate. Nominations were collated in the EUSA office by administrative staff before being scrutinized by the judging panel.
UWS nominations online used a drop down menu, to allow students to choose which and how many categories they nominated in. This may increase nominations for institutions running larger numbers of awards as students may be put off by having to choose a nominee for each category. Additionally, while requiring nominations in all categories would increase the level of responses to each, you would risk the quality of the information and nominations.
UHI incentivised nominations by entering nominators into a prize draw to win an ipod.