Quality monitoring practices
At Federation University, the 2020 Learning, Teaching and Student Success Plan (Focused) explores the need to identify student engagement early in a course, when there is still time to intervene and provide additional supports. It is also important to conduct before census date to enable students the option of withdrawing without financial penalty. Each School and/or Department has their own guidelines, but the most common include:
- beginning of teaching Week 3, 6, 9 & 12
- beginning of teaching Week 4, 8 & 12
In each of the teaching weeks stated, there is an expectation that teaching staff review student attendance, participation in peer, group and individual learning opportunities, completion of tasks set during that time and demonstration of learning (whether that be formal or informal assessment). What is important here is that this process is completed a number of times throughout the semester, not just in the first few weeks, and again at the end.
Monitor your learning design as part of ongoing evaluation
All elements of the course design and course facilitation process require regular feedback to ensure that the intended learning outcomes are being achieved. It's too late at the end of a course to find out that targets aren't being achieved, or students are missing the point. Consider the following questions:
Is the learning journey you designed achieving the learning outcomes you set out to achieve?
- If yes, what is working? Why do think it is working? Is it the clear instructions you are providing? Or maybe the ease of navigation? Is it the resources available to support the intended learning? Or the sequence of topics?
- If no, what is not working? Is it something that can be addressed immediately for future weeks? Or something bigger that will have to wait until the next offering? Who can you engage to support you with these decisions?
Do you have a balance between enough of the same, whilst adding new and different?
- Too much the same? Whilst it is good to maintain consistency in the learning journey so students can manage their time and have an opportunity to develop their skills, you don't want to make each week so predictable that it becomes boring.
- Too much is different? The other end of the spectrum is having too many new things introduced that students don't feel they have any opportunity to master any skills, grasp concepts or develop learning relationships.
How do you know what your students like to engage with and not as part of their learning?
- Formal feedback -. FedUni undertakes a formal student feedback process called eVALuate. This online tool enables students to provide feedback at the end of a course and comment on the both the course, and the quality of teaching.
- Informal feedback- In a face-to-face setting, this might involve observation, voting with hands, or anonymous comment slips posted in a box as they leave class. In an online setting, it might involve some simple learning analytics (like logs or participant reports), or observing timeliness of task completion, or a simple anonymous collection of key likes and dislikes using a Moodle Feedback or Survey tool.
Did you know that FedUni as a policy on how often, when and how students can be surveyed? This is not to stifle opportunities for obtaining feedback, but more to ensure that students are not bombarded with surveys. For further information, visit Student Survey Policy.
Examine when your students are engaging with learning
The other thing to consider is WHEN are your students engaging with learning? When are your students online? Do the majority of your students access the online learning space in the mornings, or late evenings? On Thursday's or Sunday's? Are they online for a few hours once a week, or chunks of 15-30 minutes multiple times a week? How many students like to work ahead of schedule, or keep to schedule, or lag behind a little? The answer to these questions can help guide your engagement with students on a personal level and when and how materials are made available to them.
Adapt your learning design to accommodate your student learning needs
Now that you have identified what your students are engaging with and when, and most significantly what they are NOT engaging with as part of their online or blended learning, consider the impact this is having on their satisfaction in learning, and success in the course. What are you going to do about it?
As stated earlier, the learning design process is not exclusive to the pre-semester time slot. Learning design "on the fly" or learning design "first aid" is attainable throughout the semester. It is important to utilise the monitoring data and reports you have collated to adapt your learning design to accommodate your students learning needs.
Resources, strategies or assistance
- Buckley, F. (2000). Team teaching: What, why, and how? Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications Ltd
- Federation University Policy (Code: SS2014), Student Survey Policy
- Federation University - Monitoring student learning
- Federation University - Process for monitoring
- Federation University - Technologies to enhance monitoring
Contact your School’s Learning Designer or L&T Technology Support liaison for more information in using the tools built within Moodle to support your monitoring needs.