Introducing students to evaluating units and teaching
Published: Wednesday 8th March 2017
The majority of ACU staff who were engaged in teaching units offered during the second half period of 2016 would have recently received their relevant final Student Evaluation of Learning and Teaching (SELT) survey reports.
When reflecting on the feedback provided in the SELT surveys, it is useful to think about how you can introduce, engage and educate students in the evaluation process for this semester. 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. At the beginning of a semester or any other Study Period, there is an opportunity to familiarise students with evaluations and 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 of 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/strategies that allow development and/or improvement of 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 may encounter 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 the information is important in clarifying the numerical 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 constructive feedback on the Learning and Teaching web page that can be distributed to students.