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Efforts by universities to record feedback from students need to be improved, according to a new study.
The report, Effective Course Evaluation: The Future for Quality and Standards in Higher Education, was commissioned by course evaluation firm Electric Paper and is based on interviews with 10 senior university managers and students’ union officers.
The report argues that gathering feedback from students will become more important from next year when UK universities will be increasing their tuition fees.
According to the Electric Paper report, one of the reasons universities fail to elicit useful feedback on courses is that many students feel inundated by surveys. Asking more questions is not necessarily the way to get meaningful answers, it says.
Glenn Burgess, pro vice-chancellor for learning and teaching at the University of Hull, is quoted as saying: “Students are increasingly overloaded with surveys - from the National Student Survey downwards - so you need a good reason to encourage participation.”
The report also cites anecdotal evidence that paper-based surveys are more successful than those conducted online, and quotes Ian Marshall, deputy vice-chancellor at the University of Coventry, saying a switch to online surveys had backfired at the institution.
The report suggests that with fees set to increase students will adopt a more consumerist approach, and that data on the student experience, from studies such as the National Student Survey, will be more important as a result.
Posted by Jacqui Fox
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