For further information, please contact Tony Trueman in the University of Bath Press Office on:
01225 384 220 or 07966 341 322

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Internal News - 11 November 2005

Update weekly email: your say

Last month we asked staff to give us your opinion about Update, the email newsletter sent every Friday. The results of the online survey have now been collated and are set out below.

We received 470 responses to the survey, and the majority of people were happy with the length of the email, its frequency and its coverage. Over 90 per cent of people either read it sometimes, often or always, and 90 per cent found it useful either sometimes, often or always.

A total of 142 people sent in more detailed comments, and responses to the most common observations are given below, as are plans for the future of Update.

We would like to thank all those who took the time to give us their opinions.

- Tony Trueman, Head of Communications

A number of you pointed out that the content of Update frequently duplicated some items on the internal home page of the website. “I check/skim daily the University of Bath homepage and the news there. When I receive the newsletter on Friday I have already read most of it on the home page.”

The reason for this is that one of the purposes of Update is to give a handy guide to the main important news items on campus. Many people do not have time to read each item on the website each day so this performs an important function of giving them a handy weekly resume. In future we hope to make it easier for most staff to go directly to items which have not been on the web, avoiding those which have (see below).

Some people asked that the presentation of the email be made more interesting “Make the font/design more attractive! It really looks dull on the page.”

The reason Update is sent out in plain text is that this is the simplest method of communicating – some people cannot receive html or graphics through email, and others can but choose not to. Everyone can receive plain text.

However, we are planning in the next few weeks to introduce a web version of Update. Here there will be a link within the plain text email that will open a web page which features the same information but with more fonts and graphics.

The web version will also have internal links within it, which will allow users to click to various parts of the newsletter – so skipping News, or Sport, or Events, etc, if they wish. We may also produce a section that contains only information that has not yet appeared on the internal home page, for those people who do not like the duplication (see above).

Other points raised included:

• Sending it out as a paper copy. Sending it out by email cuts down on paper used.

Opting out of receiving it. We have made a decision that there is no opt-out. The reason for this is that the University is under a duty, legal and moral, to inform staff about some issues, including health and safety. (This is why paper copies of Update are put on noticeboards round the campus, so that those without email access have a chance to see it.) We feel it is important that this continues.

Reporting negative items about the University. We feel that - providing no particular person or small group of people would be publicly embarrassed - negative items about the University, such as a fall in a newspaper league table, can be reported in Update.

RSS. We will look into the technical possibility of providing this if there is demand.

And finally, one of many positive comments: “I really struggle to read the detailed web site news on a daily basis, and this news [Update] brings me just the right amount of information (and access to other stuff) I might have missed each week. This is a great service, Many thanks.”

The results were (the first figure is the number of replies, the second the proportion of these replies to the total responses):

1. Do you read it?: 162 Sometimes 34% 139 Often 30% 129 Always 27% 40 Never 9% 0 No comment
2. Find it useful? 239 Sometimes 51% 132 Often 28% 52 Never 11% 43 Always
4 No comment
3. Length: 284 Just the right length 61% 171 Too long
6 Too short
9 No comment
4. How often? 297 Weekly
128 Fortnightly
20 Twice week
4 Daily
21 No comment
5. When would you prefer it to be sent? 177 Friday pm
144 Monday am
110 Friday am
39 No comment
6. Which area(s) would you like
to see less of?
121 Sports 26%
102 In the media 22%
84 Staff development 18%
82 Quote for the week 17%
68 Arts 15%
56 News 12%
49 Information about the campus 10%
39 Events 8%
7 Covers all the areas
of info?
242 Covers all the areas 52%
43 Covers some of the areas 9%
6 Covers none of the areas 1%
0 Covers most of the areas 0
179 No comment 38%