When it comes to evaluating a course and reviewing its contents and processes, the student voice can be the most strongest - after all, they are the 'client’. What you need to consider however is that whilst student feedback is very useful, continually asking for it can be frustrating for students. To 'protect' students from constant requests for feedback, Federation University has implemented the Student Survey Policy to ensure that student surveys have a clearly defined purpose, are appropriately planned, designed and implemented and the acquired data achieves that purpose, thereby enabling:
- coordination of the timing and quantity of student surveys, thus managing the student survey load;
- avoidance of excessive student surveying through the provision of shared data and survey analysis;
- quality assurance on the questioning, sampling, delivery, data collection, privacy and storage of surveys;
- identification of surveys where Human Research Ethics approval is required.
Survey's are just one way of gathering feedback from students. Click on each of the menu items below to explore a range of ways to collect the information needed to evaluate the learning experience of the student.
An example of obtaining formal, formative feedback during the semester may include:
- Peer Review Process - Consider requesting a peer review of a component of your teaching, course or administrative processes. Each School undertakes a slightly different approach to how they conduct this, so please contact your Director, Learning and Teaching to explore how this can be a regular fixture in your course evaluation structure.
- Qualtrics - This tool can be used to ask students questions similar too, or in addition to the types of questions asked in the University's formal, summative survey - eVALUate - conducted at the end of the semester. Use of this tool would require approval as part of the Student Survey Policy, and may also require ethics approval.
FedUni has one official online survey tool for collecting Student Evaluations of Learning and Teaching (SELT) as part of the SELT Policy and Procedure.
- eVALUate - This online survey commences in Week 9 of the traditional teaching semester and remains open for seven (7) weeks in standard teaching periods and five (5) weeks for non-standard. Students are notified via an invitation email sent to their FedUni student email. Course Co-ordinators and teaching staff within each course run receive the de-identified survey results approximately one month post the semester completion.
- Student Service Data - Student academic support services such as FedReady, PASS, ASK, The Writing Centre and Learning Skills Advisers all collect information on the students that access their services. Information such as the Course, School and reason for accessing is de-identified data that these services are happy to share with Course Co-ordinators for the purpose of identifying issues and considering strategies for addressing such.
The trick to getting quality feedback is ensuring that you ask the right question, and that they are short and sharp to answer. Keep the number of questions to no more than 10, and a simple tick box or rating response makes participation easy for students. Some examples of obtaining informal, formative feedback throughout the semester may include:
- Peer Observation - Consider asking a colleague to come and team teach with you, or offer to team teach with them, in the online setting. This is an informal way to see how other people approach learning and teaching - especially those of you who are relatively new to the blended and online environments.
- Moodle Feedback tool - This tool can be used to ask specific questions around a single topic, or it can be used at points within the semester to obtain feedback on the student experience. Any question that you would normally ask in a face-to-face environment, you can ask here.
- Adobe Connect 'poll' function - For those undertaking a synchronous session in a virtual classroom, there is an inbuilt 'poll' function that allows teachers to anonymously ask students any question you like. It may be on their understanding of a particular topic or concept, or the ease of navigation, or the progression of group work. Any question that you would normally ask in a face-to-face environment, you can ask here.
- Moodle Discussion Forums - The types of questions that students pose in these spaces can provide teaching staff with insight into what students are experiencing. If you receive a plethora of questions related to an upcoming assessment task, then you know that your instructions may not be clear, or that students are unable to find the information that they need.
- Moodle Learning Analytics - There are a range of reporting tools that you can use to access what online resources your students are accessing and when.
Visit Teaching Practice - Evaluation: Learning Analytics for more information.
The trick to getting quality feedback is ensuring that you ask the right question, and that they are short and sharp to answer. Keep the number of questions to no more than 10, and a simple tick box or rating response makes participating easy for students. Some examples of obtaining informal, formative feedback throughout the semester may include:
- Peer Observation - Consider asking a colleague to come and team teach with you, or offer to team teach with them. In one week of each semester, Federation University has a 'Peer Observation Week' whereby a range of staff from across all Schools open their doors to share their approach to face-to-face teaching.
- Attendance - The number of students attending scheduled large or small learning sessions is a pretty good indicator of how students are valuing the content, the contribution to learning or timing of scheduled classes.
- Question box - This is a common way to receive feedback after a tutorial class on a teaching approach, process of delivery, understanding of the content covered. Simple and quick, all you need is some small pieces of paper and a box with a hole that they submit as they leave the room!
- Clickers - There are a range of different types of 'clickers' - hand held devices, Apps to download onto phones, just to name two. These are great to use in large teaching spaces such as lecture halls, where you can pose questions throughout your presentation to get feedback on student understanding of a topic, levels of engagement or interest with a topic, additional resources required etc. If you are interested in using something like this, please contact CAD Learning Technology Support on email@example.com to discuss the best tool to use for your course.
Some examples of obtaining informal summative feedback at the end of the semester are the same tools as you would use to gain informal, formative feedback. Questions in this space should be information that you are require that supports specific needs of your course.
Remember that students will also be completing the formal, summative survey at the same time, so you don't want to double up with the same or similar questions. Keep it short - maybe no more than 10 questions...
- Click here to access the Learning Technologies Hub – Online resources to set up evaluation tools or functions
Federation University policies and guidelines
- Federation University Policy (CG1702), Student Evaluation of Learning and Teaching Policy
- Federation University Procedure (CG1703), Student Evaluation of Learning and Teaching Procedure (Higher Education)
- Federation University Policy (SS2013), Student Survey Policy
- Contact your Institute Learning Designer via the CAD Portal to explore ways in which you can obtain feedback as part of your learning design.