Quality evaluation practices
Reviewing teaching practices for the purpose of improvement is just one component of the review process. You can be the a highly dynamic teacher whom students love to work with, but if the content you are covering or the ways you ask students to engage with learning are not relevant, then students fall short on participating in a quality learning experience. The same goes for a well-designed course with a quality online learning component, being delivered by a teacher who falls short in their ability to facilitate that learning.
Closing the loop
FedUni supports the implementation of the Student Evaluation of Learning and Teaching Policy, particularly the key principles associated with the collection, reporting, distribution and actions relevant to student feedback. The purpose of this policy and supporting procedure is to affirm the institutional commitment of obtaining student feedback as a legitimate mechanism in ongoing institutional quality assurance regarding learning and teaching. This procedure details processes that relate to:
- collection of student feedback
- the analyses process
- the report framework structure
- the reporting distributed pattern
- closure of the student feedback loop
- evidence of action relevant to the student feedback
It is not enough to just collect data on the student experience. We need to ensure that we are responding to that feedback, and making the necessary adjustments to ensure that future reiterations of the course are undergoing continual review and enhancement. And this needs to occur throughout the life of the course, not just at the end.
What to evaluate
The subject of evaluation in learning and teaching is extensive:
- An institution may evaluate at a macro level, looking for the effects of a switch from face-to-face delivery to a blended or online approach. At FedUni, this occurs at a program level, School level, University level and higher education sector.
- A teacher may evaluate the micro components of course design or interaction patterns in the learning experience. There are a plethora of components of your course that you can review. The three tabs below are a list of components developed by FedUni staff who have attended the Introduction to Peer Enhancement workshops offered by CLIPP at various times throughout the teaching year.
Consider the structure you currently have in place to facilitate the students learning journey. Can students find what they want when they want it? Do they receive quality and timely feedback on both learning and assessment? What process of communication do you have set up to engage with the students? Are intended learning outcomes and the link to assessment clearly identified throughout the course?
The course structures should be enhanced regularly to ensure they meet the needs of an ever changing student cohort. Consider the components of learning structures listed below from your peers that you could consider for review:
- Course Descriptions - layout and timing
- Assessment aligned with intended learning outcomes
- Content aligned with assessment and ILO's
- Alignment with accreditation processes
- Mix of formative and summative assessment and feedback
- Prompt availability of resources to students
- Scaffolding of knowledge, skills and application within course
- Feedback on learning - when, how and how often
- Flexibility with learning activities
- Creating a 'realistic' and authentic learning environment
- Evidence-based assessment tasks
- Realistic ability to 'teach' and drive online activities
- Moodle structure and navigation
- Links to graduate attributes
- Course evaluation processes
- Level of teacher presence
Evaluating the effectiveness of your learning resources and enhancing them is an ongoing process. Courses should rarely be considered 'finished' and just rolled over to the next offering. There is always more contemporary resources to use, more authentic examples to give, or new learning technologies that can enhance the learning experience. Are the instructions clear and concise to enable successful participation? Do students have access to course materials in a timely manner - especially if they are required to be prepared for a F2F class?
Is there variety in the learning resources and learning activities that you use? Consider the various components of content and learning resources listed below from your peers that you could consider for review:
- Student engagement in online discussions
- Learning journey to accommodate a range of learning styles/preferences
- Frequency and variation of tools used
- Balance between teacher and student facilitation of learning
- Balance between active and passive learning
- Materials/resources up to date
- Extension activities available
- Clarity of instructions for student learning expectations
- Conducting of group or team work in online spaces
- Ease of navigation of online learning space
- Balance between how much F2F and how much online in blended courses
- Ability to 'flip' classroom
- Layout and ease of content resources
- Student engagement with content resources
- Student usage of content resources
- "Death by..." readings?
- "Death by..." narrated PowerPoint presentations?
- "Death by..." discussion forums?
- Instructions and resources that support assessment tasks
- Using the right online learning technology tool for the learning required
Whilst often forgotten when reviewing courses, teaching administration practices can impact significantly on the student experience. Do you moderate all assessment tasks, with all staff grading the assignments? Do you ensure that all staff in the teaching team have an opportunity to contribute their expertise? Are student emails, phone calls and online posts answered within 2 working days? Is all grading and feedback for assessment tasks returned to students within 2 weeks as per University policy?
Consider the components of teaching administration listed below from your peers that you could consider for review:
- Time frames for marking
- Communication processes with students - how? when?
- Communication processes with teaching staff - how? when?
- Processes for feedback on learning
- Identifying 'at risk' students
- Managing 'at risk' students
- Administration skills
- Minimum IT skills for staff
- Moderation processes
- Managing teaching workloads
- Processes of reporting and tracking engagement
- Maintaining practices within Uni policies and processes
- Cross-campus co-ordination
- Discipline majors
- Allocation of marking
- Collegiality with peers
- Course and lesson review/evaluation processes
- Conflict/crisis management
- Inclusion of partners
- Processes of obtaining student feedback
Resources, strategies and assistance
FedUni 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 (LT1353), Learning and Teaching Policy
- Federation University Procedure (LT1964),Peer Enhancement of Learning and Teaching Procedure
Contact School’s Associate Dean of Teaching Quality or your School's Learning Designer to book an Introduction to Peer Enhancement workshop to explore how you can commence a review and enhancement of components of your learning and teaching practices.
Contact your School’s Associate Dean of Teaching Quality to explore ways in which you can evaluate components of your course and/or teaching practices, and ‘close the loop’.