Unit Feedback

Mid-unit evaluation has changed for block delivery 2020-21 and is now being referred to as Unit Feedback

Introduction

At the point of implementation of wholesale change to programme delivery, it is vital that our student voice mechanisms are dynamic and responsive. This will be achieved by developing our existing systems to take a more live and real-time approach, as we will need to:

  1. be confident that our delivery is working
  2. share what is working particularly well as quickly as possible
  3. respond swiftly to emerging student learning needs/preferences/styles
    1. both within unit and
    2. be prepared to review and implement changes to units yet to be delivered

Unit feedback provides the opportunity for timely discussions with your students about their learning experiences. The process:

  • encourages your students to reflect on their learning experiences to identify what is working and to suggest developments from which they will directly benefit;
  • provides an evidence base for you to consider your students’ perspectives and to adjust the unit in response to their feedback;
  • provides an opportunity for meaningful communication with your students to find out what works and build on this success, as well as identifying areas for potential development, for your unit and also other units to be delivered in later blocks. This is an iterative process and you are encouraged to share what works and what works less well with your programme leader and fellow unit leaders.

Essentially students need to know that their feedback is valued and it influences their future experiences (both on the unit and throughout their degree), so it is important that there is some mechanism for feedback and sharing of learning.

 

The following principles are proposed:

Unit Feedback Process

the cycle of unit feedback: planning, conducting the feedback, review and action planning, feedback to students

Unit Feedback should be sought no later than the end of week 3 in the block.

The process should include some enquiry about the level of intellectual stimulation/academic challenge and also specifically seek feedback from students on how they are experiencing blended delivery. There is a caveat to this as your Faculty Head of Education might ask you to follow a specific format, so check with your Departmental Education Lead if this is the case. This is a means to engage your students in discussions about their learning and teaching. It is important that students are aware that they are participating in a unit feedback process, as there will now be a question in the ISS asking them if they have done it.

Conducting the unit feedback process

Here are some suggestions about how you can conduct your  unit feedback process. We will continue to develop this list, so please share any practice you develop in this area with utacpd@mmu.ac.uk.

Stop, Start, Continue – via post-it notes (if you are on campus), Kahoot, Padlet or as a mind mapping activity if you are conducting this exercise remotely. You can frame this to include a consideration about the level of academic challenge and also how blended delivery is working. You could ask your students to-

  • identify aspects of the unit that are not working for them (stop)
  • generate ideas about how the unit can be developed in some way (start)
  • reflect on what is working (continue)

Survey/ Questionnaire – we recommend that if you are using this method that it be done electronically.

One minute papers - give your students one minute at the end of the live session to write down the answer to a specific question. See our lecturing resource for more about one-minute papers »

 

Review and action planning

Once you have conducted the exercise, you can then consider your students’ feedback, respond to their comments clarifying any points, and communicate the actions you will be taking in response to their suggestions. Your UTA academic link is happy to discuss your ideas about developing your unit in response to unit feedback, if this would be helpful. It is also an opportunity to have mutually supportive conversations with your colleagues in the programme team to discuss and share ideas, perhaps as part of peer support for teaching.

 

Feedback to students

The final stage of the process involves a prompt communication with your students to let them know how their feedback has influenced the future direction of the unit. For example, you could post their comments and your response on Moodle and then talk with them at the start of the next session to explain the actions you will take and why some suggestions are not possible to action and the reasons why. Finally, you can reflect on your experiences to inform the planning process for your next unit feedback exercise. The final stage of this process is to communicate the key themes which emerge from this process to your Departmental Education Lead, so that best practice can be quickly identified and shared; similarly, if you are discovering that some activities or approaches are working less well, please communicate that, so that others can benefit from your experience.