Regular engagement between students and staff is the best way to ensure that students’ experience of learning on a module is understood, and the student voice is heard and can inform teaching.
Continuous Module Dialogue (CMD) is a different way to evaluate modules at UCL. Traditional end of module evaluations provide staff with feedback from students once a module has ended, making it too late for staff to address issues or clarify misunderstandings. This is frustrating for students and staff. Research also tells us that student responses in end of module evaluations tend to be biased against certain groups of staff.
Over the next academic year, we will pilot CMD. This approach encourages professional dialogue between students and staff while the module is in progress. The aim is to provide brief, structured opportunities for students to feedback to staff at regular intervals throughout the module, giving staff the opportunity to respond if required.
Introduction to CMD
A Continuous Module Dialogue (CMD) approach will be piloted in 2022-23. The aim is to ensure that students can raise questions and seek clarification while they are in the process of taking the module. Students' express frustration that the information they provide on end of module questionnaires is too late to benefit their learning experience. CMD also provides an opportunity to teach students the importance of raising concerns in a professional manner, which is an important skill for their future careers.
For staff, it is frustrating to find that students were experiencing difficulties once the module has ended. CMD will ensure that staff can clarify misunderstandings, signpost to resources, reinforce information or make any required changes, before the module ends.
CMD will not take much time in a teaching session. Importantly, it ensures that teaching time is not wasted by providing essential information on whether students are coping with the current content, understand the assessment and are able to access the required resources.
It is suggested teaching staff could use Mentimeter to conduct short polls in teaching sessions, and we suggest students are polled no fewer than three times per term between the start and end of the module.
CMD is initiated by asking students a small number of key questions (see suggested templates below), during a synchronous teaching session. The focus initially should be on the areas that we know are of greatest concern to students: key areas of teaching content, access to resources and understanding what is required in assessment. As term progresses, the questions could remain the same or staff could change them, depending on the responses.
By using Mentimeter, staff will receive instant feedback from students and can address any areas of concern through dialogue with students in that teaching session or the next. The Mentimeter participation link can be shared with students, prompting topics for dialogue. In this way, students will know that their voice is being heard.
UCL staff and students can access Mentimeter for free. You can activate your account here.
Question templates are available for you to use (you can add these to your Mentimeter account) or can be used as a basis for creating your own.
It’s important to emphasise that CMD is a dialogue process between staff and students in a module. There is no formal reporting of the outcomes. Instead, we will collect information on how staff have used the process, how it could be improved, and whether it has generated the kind of dialogue that has helped staff to hear and respond to student voice. We also might expect to see improvements in the Student Voice sections of local and national student surveys. Students will still have a formal opportunity to evaluate their programme at the end of the academic year.
Forms and guides
- Step-by-step guide to UCL's Mentimeter template [Word]
- CMD Department Capture Survey
- CMD Departmental Summary Form [Word]
- Activate your Mentimeter account
- UCL Mentimeter Resource Centre
- Using Mentimeter in lectures and assessment [Case study]
- UCL Module and Programme Evaluations Policy