Driving engagement, delivering better outcomes

I found the tablet really useful in lectures to download PowerPoints and lecture information and then annotate my notes as the lecture is being given. Because the tablet is small and light, I bring it to uni every day, whereas if I just had a laptop I wouldn't. I use blackboard a lot on it and my uni emails.
Student, University of Worcester

The purpose of Books Plus is to support students with the cost of study resources and to encourage student engagement and a sense of belonging.
Director of Student Services, Anglia Ruskin University

Whether its engagement with learning resources or being able to join in with more on campus social activities, Aspire solutions can enrich the student experience. Universities that have implemented Aspire solutions have seen their NSS approval rating increase at almost twice the average over the last six years.

Birmingham City University: Case Study


Central to Birmingham City University’s strategy is transforming students and they have a number of goals that support this strategy:

  • Ensuring that student learning and support enables students to progress to successful achievement.
  • Maximising student satisfaction and the learning experience.
  • Becoming recognised as the sector leader for student engagement

To support student learning and engagement, the University wanted to introduce a scheme that would take part of their cash bursary provision and turn it into a strategic driver of student engagement.


Working with JS Group, the University has introduced the BCU Aspire scheme. Under this scheme, 1st year students get a BCU Aspire branded smartcard with £150 of funds that they can spend on learning resources. The scheme has its own online student store – www.johnsmith.co.uk/bcu - and is managed by an on campus JS Group Engagement Partner. The Engagement Partner works with all the University stakeholders to promote the scheme and to report on student engagement. The Engagement Partner also recruits Student Ambassadors to discuss the scheme with students and to garner feedback on how the scheme can be improved.


Student take-up of the scheme has been high and the response very positive across a number of key criteria.

In terms of recruitment, BCU Aspire is #2 in the 11 reasons to choose BCU (https://www.bcu.ac.uk/student-info/why-study-at-bcu/why-choose-us) and students report it had a positive impact on their choice of university.

Importantly, students report that the scheme has helped them study and achieve whilst at BCU:

And students would recommend the University to others because of the scheme:

To find out more about the scheme at BCU or how Aspire Engage could form part of your student engagement strategy please contact Matt Fooks on