Professor Lester digs deep with student feedback
Engaging holistically with student feedback in 2010 produced an outstanding turnaround for ABOR3500, Aboriginal Education, Policies and Issues. So much so that the course now sits above University average in the category students said needed the most improvement - Feedback.
At wits end
During 2010, students enrolled in ABOR3500 reported in their Student Feedback on Courses (SFC) a concern about lack of feedback on assignments. They rated this aspect of course delivery below University average.
When this came to the attention of Professor John Lester of the Wollotuka Institute, he was surprised.
“I couldn't fathom why students were not happy with lecturer feedback, as we had gone to considerable lengths to strengthen this important area… I was at wits end trying to fathom what more we could provide”, Professor Lester said.
He took immediate steps to dig deeper, determined to find the source of this concern.
“So we went to the students to find out what more we could do. It quickly became evident that we had forgotten the most fundamental of procedures. We hadn't taken the time to explain how to access feedback on Blackboard!
“While this was a simple mistake, in the process of this analysis, other improvements were also discovered that further strengthen this area”, he said.
Together with his staff, it was decided that some adjustments to existing roles were needed, as well as development of training and resources, such as the 'Casual Teaching Guidelines' and a workshop for new tutors. These initiatives were implemented ready for the 2011 academic year.
The results have been remarkable. Professor Lester said this is testament to holistic engagement with student feedback and working together to find solutions.
This approach was applied across the Wollotuka Institute's suite of courses, most of which also saw considerable improvement in 2011 SFC results.
“Amazing what you learn when you make the effort to look closely at this invaluable student viewpoint”, Professor Lester said.