MDS Block representatives
Every block, one or more students volunteer to represent their peers, acting as a liaison between students and MDS leadership (we/our/ours). This allows us to see how the block is going, allowing us to make changes if need be.
Here are some guidelines for the “block rep”.
1. Introduce yourself to your peers as the new block rep
We recommend doing this via Slack. If there isn’t a “students only” channel, please do make one. You can try creating a private channel and then tagging
@students in there. This will hopefully prompt you to invite all students into the channel.
2. Collect feedback throughout the block
The main responsibility is to collect feedback from your classmates. Feedback is usually collected informally and then also through one or more surveys during the block. We have generally found that surveys with both quantitative and qualitative fields are useful - the text fields allow us to hear individual student comments, and the quantitative fields let us know where the majority sentiment lies. Furthermore, in your survey we suggest including both a positively-framed question and a constructively-framed question, e.g. “What is working well in this course?” and “What could be improved in this course?”. During the meeting (see below), block reps often provide us with a document summarizing the survey results, which we archive for future reference.
One thing we would like you to keep in mind is that the feedback passed on to instructions should be constructive and should not contain personal attacks or hurtful comments. Part of your role is to moderate student discussions as they are happening and/or remove/edit hurtful comments from surveys if you think they are inappropriate. If you are unsure about something, or would like help with this process, please reach out to your faculty contacts (probably the Option Co-Directors) and we will help.
3. Attend our team meeting
We’ll ask you to attend our team meeting, usually in the 3rd week of the block (or late in the 2nd week). Often, the block reps will share survey results with the teaching team right before the meeting (thought this is not required). These results don’t need to be in a polished form (see below).
4. Communicate back to the cohort
After the team meeting, we might ask the block rep to contact students. You can do this via Slack.
A note on the expected time commitment
You are taking on this role on top of your MDS course work, which is already very intense! The Block Rep position is not meant to be onerous and we don’t intend for it to take up large amounts of your time. We expect you’ll be active on Slack, and you’ll spend some time creating surveys. However, we don’t expect you to turn the survey results into a polished presentation or polished document. The raw survey results are fine (or sometimes the block reps remove some problematic comments if sharing raw text comments). If you’re ever unsure about the scope of your duties as Block Rep, feel free to ask us.
A note on the role of the block rep feedback
Please see also this document about the role of the block rep’s feedback to the MDS team.