Blended and/or online learning may be as new for your students as it is for you. Finding out what works for them and what needs to be changed is going to be even more important than usual. Consider additional student surveys (with ‘you said we did’ style feedback) or organising focus groups online for students to tell you what is working and what is not. This can give students a sense of ownership and collaboration with staff and others, especially if they are able to see how their feedback is changing practice. Alongside feedback on course delivery, it is important to understand student views of e-assessments and how they contribute to their learning.

Examples

Easy
Course Evaluation Forms

What you can do

Course evaluation forms are issued for completion at the end of a course to identify how well a course has been received by students and to highlight any areas of good practice and any areas for improvement.  You may also wish to consider using a short, focussed version of the course evaluation form throughout the term.  

To encourage students to engage with course evaluation, it is important to be clear with them how feedback will be used and what has changed as a result of their, or previous cohorts’ feedback.  Students are more likely to continue to engage with the process if they can see the impact it can have.  Some key things to consider when requesting student feedback: 

  • Being clear that students are not marked down because they give feedback.
  • Doing this as early as possible during a course so there is an opportunity for issues to be addressed and for students to build confidence in the system.
  • If asking for regular feedback, making this as low a burden as possible with options for simply agree/disagree scales rather than solely free text.

Things to consider 

  • Some students are nervous about providing feedback, even on an anonymised basis.  
  • Some students, who are experiencing a high level of anxiety or stress, can give feedback which can be abusive or offensive to staff.  It is important to help guide students on how their feedback will be used and therefore what format is most likely to contribute to change. 
  • Considering a range of ways for students to provide feedback which can incorporate accessibility. 

How to do it 

For more information on the course evaluation form see https://www.abdn.ac.uk/staffnet/teaching/scef-7869.php

Student Staff Liaison Committee

What you can do

Staff-student Liaison Committees (SSLCs) provide a forum for staff and students to discuss matters of mutual interest. It is likely that a great deal of discussion this year will centre on blended learning experiences and, consequently, it is important that consideration is given to how SSLCs will work well in the blended environment.

SSLCs do not run in the same way in all schools. Some have separate SSLCs for each programme, while others hold SSLCs by discipline. Normally, SSLCs are comprised of student representation from courses or programmes, and Schools will need to consider whether the approach they take remains appropriate. 

Class representatives will need to be provided with adequate support to enable them to consult with those students they are representing.  Alternatively, Schools may wish to consider holding an SSLC as an open forum where all students are invited to attend.  It is important to find out from your students what approach they feel would work well for them. 

Things to consider

Drake Music have generated some very useful tips on ensuring that online meetings are accessible. These can be accessed HERE

Advanced
Journals

What you can do

Journals are a means for students to track their progress with their learning, however, they can also be used as a mechanism for staff to obtain feedback from students.   

Experience has shown that some very rich information can be gleaned from journal entries and can highlight areas that a student may be struggling with or areas that they are really enjoying.  As students are completing this task as part of their reflective learning experience, the secondary use of the entries as feedback requires no additional work for the student.  Reviewing each journal entry can be a very time-consuming process, however, and you might want to consider this being a specific task for one member of the teaching team to review and extract relevant comments for sharing with others in team.  

Things to consider 

  • Clear communication - explain if tutors (give details of who) will be viewing the journal or if this is a ‘private space’. 
  • Alternative methods by which to submit a journal, such as an audio journal. 

How to do it 

Focus Groups

What you can do

Focus groups are a great way to take a snapshot of student opinion and to generate discussion and ideas. It is important to remember that focus groups may not give a representative view of a cohort, as participants tend to be self-selecting, however, they are still a great way in which to hear from a range of student voices and, in particular, solicit ideas for improvement or change. 

Suggested questions for use in focus groups are available here. The questions, drawn from other institutions, will need to be adapted to the purpose of a specific focus group. 

Things to consider

  • At a focus group, students’ identities and views will be shared with their peers and with the person facilitating the group. Guidelines on how the data gathered will be handled will therefore need to be set.  
  • If groups are being held prior to the completion of marking and the return of course grades, students may be uncomfortable providing criticism if they are concerned that this may affect their grades.   
  • You may wish to consider having someone who is not a member of the core teaching team as facilitator.

How to do it

There are some excellent resources created as part of the TESTA process that gives some guidance on how to set up and conduct a focus group. These can be carried out with video conferencing. 

The TESTA resources focuses specifically on feedback on assessment and you may want to consider having a focus group looking specifically at his important topic. 

Here are some other guides from Durham university that may also help with your planning.