Teaching & Learning


New guide to gathering feedback and engaging students through events

3 March 2020

Student Partnership team launch new guide to non-survey based ways of gathering student input and feedback.

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Listening to students 

Feedback from student surveys and Academic Reps is vital in inspiring improvements at UCL, but departments can gather students’ ideas in other ways.

At the mid-point of the annual National Student Survey (NSS) period, we continue to encourage final year undergraduates to complete the questionnaire before the closing date (30 April); surveys are a great starting point for identifying trends in the student experience and understanding where there might be issues or success stories, and free text comments help provide some context around those results. 

However, to really understand in more depth what’s driving student feedback, data is best used in conjunction with insights and knowledge gathered through other - often informal - forums.

The Student Partnership team (Office of the Vice-Provost Eduction & Student Affairs) are always looking for new ways to engage student views on how to improve education and their experience at UCL. Their new staff guide outlines different types of events you can set up for collaborative sessions with students.

Benefits of further feedback

Gathering further feedback can be beneficial in different ways:

  • Discussing survey results can help provide background and context for confusing or surprising survey results or sudden shifts in trends

  • Workshops or hackathons provide an opportunity to explore solutions and ideas together and make action plans

  • Timely or regular events mean you don’t need to wait until the next survey cycle to engage with students and hear their feedback

  • Facilitating ongoing dialogue between students and staff helps everyone feel valued as a member of their learning community.

You can get useful insights from your students by running workshops or test sessions in which the participating students are encouraged to go through a particular ‘user journey’.

Organising an event for students can be a great opportunity to explore ideas and proposals in detail. Not all conversations need to happen in formal settings. In fact, some departments find that a simple regular coffee morning is the most transformative activity they’ve initiated. Regular events that don’t focus on feedback specifically can still help to support ongoing dialogue with staff and students - providing greater insight into student opinions or any ongoing concerns. 

Further information 

Alongside the new guide, Evi Katsapi's (UCL Institute of Education) case study on 'How to engage students in a small to medium cohort of undergraduates' is a step-by-step to building a learning community. 

Fur more support on engaging students in partnership, vist our Student Partnership pages or contact a member of the Student Partnership team

Download the 'Staff guide: ideas for feedback and social events'