Introducing students to evaluating units and teaching

Published: Wednesday 9th March 2016

Discussions with Students about Evaluating Units and Teaching

Early discussions with students about the Student Evaluation of Learning and Teaching (SELT) survey are key to communicating the importance of providing feedback on their learning experiences at ACU.  When introducing the Unit at the beginning of a Semester or any other Study Period, there is an opportunity to familiarise students with evaluations and perhaps ask them about their expectations of the Unit.  Clarifying student perceptions about the unit at the outset may prevent unrealistic expectations.

Teachers’ encouragement of students’ contribution to the feedback process is critical. Teachers could emphasise the importance of providing feedback and give students tangible examples of improvements made as a result of previous feedback.

Other possible sources for information

SELT feedback is received at the end of semester, and can only be utilised in future offerings of the unit.  The general recommendation is to use formative evaluation tools that allow development in the unit during the semester.  There are a range of alternative feedback strategies that can be used throughout the semester to gauge how the unit is progressing.  These include polls and quizzes which allow for immediate adjustments to the unit and respond to issues students have in a timely manner.

Teaching students to give professional and constructive feedback

In your discussions with students, it is a good idea to let them know that their comments in response to the open ended survey questions are taken seriously and are important in clarifying the numerical evaluation data.  Remind students that teaching staff are human and as such will be affected by both negative and positive comments. Therefore it is essential that their feedback is professional, considerate and constructive.  Advise them to be specific, provide examples and suggest strategies for improvement.  There is a guide for students on giving critical feedback on the LTC web page that can be used as a guide or distributed to students.