Taking stock: identifying quick wins for next term

The end of term is the perfect time to reflect back on the learning and teaching within your modules. Whether you have just finished a short module, or are half-way through a ‘long-thin’ module, now is the right time to draw upon your student feedback and your own experience whilst they are fresh in your mind.

Often, student feedback will indicate opportunities for minor improvements that can make a big impact to the way the VLE is used to support the module. As discussed at this term’s show and tell, colleagues have drawn upon student feedback to make improvements to the way the site has been structured and laid out.

Feedback from the Autumn term may also indicate where students have not been able to interpret instructions, find guidance on using a tool or participate in a learning activity. Discovering these issues now will help to avoid them in subsequent terms. Such problems are remedied through clearer instructional writing, linking to guides and expectation setting that connects online activities to the face-to-face teaching.

A reflective cycle

We have previously discussed detailed evaluation processes that can be applied to whole modules or programmes: Evaluation with Blended Module Design. This guidance will be useful for smaller-scale reflective development cycles also. For example, if you have used the VLE to support an online formative assessment, you could target the questions in student feedback forms around that one intervention, rather than generic open-ended questions that may not provide you with the critical perspectives needed for developing your practice.

Example themes for evaluation include:

  • Quality and usefulness of online activities and resources, for example aesthetics or identified purpose
  • How the learning activity ran, for example instructions and meeting learning objectives
  • Levels of participation and interaction, for example motivations or skills gaps
  • Input from the lecturer, for example feedback and support

Adapted from: Jara et al. (2008), cited in the guidance linked in Simon’s blog post.

Methods for collecting student views

  • Paper-based forms
    • Your Department may have a standard template that can be used.
  • Google Forms
    • Quick to set up, follow the instructions provided by Google and share the link with students.
  • University’s Feedback System
    • Departments usually have an administrator who controls access to the system if you have not used this before. This system uses SITS data to email and send reminders to students.

Thinking about module structure

When reviewing last term’s teaching, think also about the activities being undertaken by you and your students. Using a term-long work chart to map points of interaction, assessment and marking can help your planning and identify potential problems. For example, your work plan may indicate pinch-points for students independent study, or highlight the need for better connection between lectures and seminars. The plan will indicate also where technology (such as the VLE) is being used to help focus your evaluation.

2 responses to “Taking stock: identifying quick wins for next term

  1. Pingback: Responding to the IT Survey 2014: taking your views on board | E-Learning Development Team·

  2. Pingback: Responding to the IT Survey 2015: Taking your views on board | E-Learning Development Team·

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