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Enhancing students’ experience through course evaluation feedback

An image of a student in a feedback loop to visualize course evaluation feedback.

The frequency with which course evaluation feedback is collected, combined with a higher response rate than other types of survey, means that colleges are sitting on a goldmine of precious student feedback.”

Relative Insight higher education expert Emily Brooke’s summary of the importance of thoroughly analyzing course feedback surveys headlined our latest webinar — Manifesting favorable feedback loops: Enhancing educational insights from course evaluation feedback. During the 30-minute session, Emily explored how institutions can implement a systematic program that effects change.

She outlined why it’s important for colleges to use this feedback as a foundational element of their enrollment and retention efforts, the importance of interpreting feedback for teachers from students, and analysis techniques institutional research teams can use to quickly take action on students’ responses.

You can register to watch the session on-demand using the button below. Below is a summary of the key areas Emily covered during the webinar.

Extracting the most from course evaluation feedback

Emily highlighted that course evaluation surveys are rich with insights when compared to other types of student feedback. This is not only down to higher response rates. Often, students use course evaluation feedback survey to talk about all aspects of on-campus life.

Despite containing a goldmine of information, thorough analysis of these responses is uncommon among colleges. Why? Emily outlined what’s currently holding institutions back:

“Due to the sheer volume of responses, combined with institutional research teams lacking the proper tools to analyze it, usually course evaluation survey responses are handed straight back to stakeholders such as instructors without being analyzed at all.”

She showcased how colleges could use Relative Insight to mine course feedback surveys for insights. Highlighting an example where an institution compared responses from its high-performing business course to other classes, Emily illustrated how the university used feedback to help other faculties improve the structure of their degree programs.

The analysis showed that instructors’ use of practical examples resonated with students. They talked about this 3.0x more overall than students doing other courses, suggesting that this focus on real-life scenarios had an impact on student satisfaction.

The importance of analyzing feedback for teachers from students

As well as curriculums, course evaluation feedback also offers valuable insight into students’ views on their instructors. Emily highlighted numerous ways in which colleges can deploy feedback for teachers from students.

She covered both the worst-case and best-case scenarios for instructor feedback. For the former, she discussed a case in Canada where a professor was fired after being found to have made ‘sexually oriented statements’ to students. Part of an investigator’s recommendations into the case was for the institution to put in place a rigorous process to evaluate course evalautions.

However, a more common application of feedback for teachers from students surrounds positive performance evaluation. Emily noted that institutions use course feedback surveys to determine which instructors deserve pay rises and promotions.

As part of her focus on this topic, Emily demonstrated an example of a college doing exactly this. She showed how an institution had isolated feedback around one instructor – anonymized as Dr X – and compared this to other lecturers.

“You can see that students really liked their fun approach to learning and were highly engaged with their lessons.”

She also highlighted how the institution used feedback analysis to improve teaching. Evaluation of the same instructor illustrated that students felt they rushed through classes on occasion. As a result, the institutional research team was able to feed this back to Dr X.

‘Set-and-forget’ analysis programs

Given that some institutions still conduct course evaluation feedback using pen and paper, Emily sought to demonstrate what a best-in-class feedback analysis program should look like.

She guided webinar guests through an ideal six-stage process to get from collecting feedback to effecting change. As part of this rundown, Emily highlighted how Relative Insight’s new automation tool, Relative Flow, simplifies the process even further.

“If you’re gathering course evaluation feedback from a survey tool, you don’t have to download and re-upload a survey file. You can set up Relative Flow to create ‘set-and-forget’ automation; the data coming through your survey platform will automatically populate within Relative Insight, making your analysis even faster.”

Want to see the webinar in full? Register to watch it on demand using the button below.