University

​​uOSatisfACTION, welcome to the College of Ottawa Complaints Workplace – La Rotonde

Photo credit:

Article written by Eya Ben Nejm – Journalist

Since its launch in 2018, uOSatisfACTION has identified itself 7,000 comments from the student community. This is a University of Ottawa (U of O) platform designed to allow students to voice their concerns about a professor or a specific service. How does this tool solve problems students encounter?

The platform enables students to comment anonymously or by name on a complaint. Alain St-Amant, director of uOSatisfACTION and professor of chemistry and biomolecular sciences at U of O’s Faculty of Science, says he receives complaints and feedback from students on everything related to the university.

Intermediary between students and good service

uOSatisfACTION receives feedback from students to give them a better experience. St-Amant explains that they don’t necessarily know which service to contact when a problem arises. At the time of receiving the complaint or concern, uOSatisfACTION tries to transmit the information to the service concerned, he explains. Depending on the problem, the platform transmits the information to the vice dean or vice dean of the faculty, to the bachelor’s or even to the graduate administration, St-Amant continues.

As soon as a problem arises, some students turn to uOSatisfACTION. However, some complaints could be resolved internally before contacting the platform, says Amélie Mercier, a second-year drama student with a biology minor. She says before turning to such a tool, she prefers to discuss it with teachers, as she believes that “communication is the basic element of society”. The exchanges with the teachers are also promoted by St-Amant, who specifies that it is an isolated case, according to the teachers’ replies.

If, according to Mercier, it’s preferable to try to argue with the professors before filing an allegation, sometimes the students don’t know which service to turn to, Nuance St-Amant. In these situations, uOSatisfACTION then acts as an intermediary.

No obligation, only suggestions

Fall 2022 intake has been introduced compulsory return to face to face, allowing teachers to freely record their lessons. At the beginning of the year, most complaints concerned demand for hybrid courses or in favor of course registration, informs St-Amant. This echoes Mercier’s experience, who says she wished the teacher had added her to a video conferencing platform so she could attend classes after missing three acting classes due to the coronavirus. . Only his biology teacher offered him accommodation so he could attend classes virtually.

uOSatisfACTION makes suggestions to teachers, but it’s not possible to force them to record their lessons, says St-Amant. He explains that recurring complaints about a professor are forwarded to the vice-dean of the faculty to resolve the dispute, but the professor has the right to refuse. It’s not possible to fire a teacher or force him to change the way he works if he doesn’t want to, he adds. However, the director believes that the platform has managed to ‘open the eyes’ of teachers by introducing a form of flexibility.

Student identity protected

In the event of a complaint, everyone has the right to present themselves anonymously. Students provide uOSatisfACTION with their name, but may indicate that they wish to remain anonymous when forwarding the complaint to the relevant service or professor. However, St-Amant points out that uOSatisfACTION’s activity does not end with the simple transmission of requests and complaints. The team screens each of them to eliminate any clues that would reveal identity during the incident, such as the fact that he’s sitting in the front row, he illustrates.

Depending on the case, anonymity is not always the best solution. Anonymous emails with no details aren’t an easy way to fix the problem because they’re often “too vague to follow up,” says St-Amant. He takes the example of a fourth-year student who didn’t think about graduating because he was missing a course. The dissemination of his name then allowed the director to consult his academic profile on the database to address his concerns.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button