Responding to student evaluation of teaching: closing the loop

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Research and Development in Higher Education Vol. 38: Learning for Life and Work in a Complex World

July, 2015, 528 pages
Published by
T. Thomas, E. Levin, P. Dawson, K. Fraser & R. Hadgraft

Our undergraduate curriculum focuses on preparing students to be critical thinkers, problem solvers, and knowledgeable, responsible information technology (IT) professionals. Students often question the relevance of core subjects which are designed to introduce and develop these attributes; such units regularly perform poorly in student evaluation of teaching. Although these subjects are strongly grounded in meeting industry expectations regarding employability skills, students do not value the learning as the curriculum is deemed non-technical and not worthy of inclusion in an IT qualification. As these are core subjects, improving student perceptions and learning outcomes is of critical importance. Simply responding to student feedback received via student evaluation of teaching had not resulted in any improvement; so a holistic approach was adopted. A workshop was organised to explore the issues and develop a strategy to improve outcomes and perceptions of these subjects. Rather than addressing student feedback specifically, the underlying issues that led to students’ negative perceptions were identified and addressed. Recommendations were implemented in 2014 resulting in improvements in student evaluation for relevant subjects. In this paper, we will discuss the process that was adopted to respond effectively to student evaluations, and explore the impact that this had on them.

Keywords: student evaluation of teaching, student engagement, quality improvement