Early Module Feedback Questionnaires can help you gather and respond to student feedback early in Term One
Academic departments have indicated that they would like to receive early module feedback from students, in order to quickly check that students have been able to access the relevant resources; that they understand the purpose of the teaching, and what the content will be; how they are assessed; and where to get help if they need it.
We suggest that Early module Feedvack is collected during week 3, 11-15 October 2021, so that there is suffient time for follow up and action.
This guidance has been developed to support departments with this work, and is comprised of two sections:
- The Early Module Feedback Questionnaire template - how to use it
- Designing feedback questionnaires - how to create them on Moodle and tips on designing them
Staff from the UCL Arena Centre, the Office of the Vice-Provost (Education & Student Affairs) and Digital Education have worked together to design a quick, simple Moodle questionnaire to meet this need.
The “Early Module Feedback Questionnaire” (EMFQ) is to be used by module leads as a 'temperature check' to gather and respond to students' feedback about their early experiences of Connected Learning on the module. It is not intended to be an evaluative, reflective survey – it is to get headline themes and catch problems early.
UCL has an extensive suite of feedback tools, including Staff-Student Consultative Committees, SEQs, Unitu, institutional surveys etc. which the EMFQ will complement, and they will allow for these evaluative and qualitative responses further down the line.
Benefits of using the EMFQ template
Using this template will reduce the administrative burden on departmental staff, and provide some consistency around feedback requests received by students. It also has the capability to automatically generate reports and graphs so that you can see results and themes, even for very large modules, at a glance.
The questionnaire only includes yes/no answers by design, as it intended to be a starting point, with local follow up where required. The questionnaire does not include any open text questions, as processing the responses increases staff workload and analysing students’ comments adds additional complexity. Open text comments in a small module-based feedback activity such as EMFQ would bring issues around anonymity, the need to strip out inappropriate comments, and closing the feedback loop.
This is how the questionnaire will look to a student: simple and quick to complete!
How to add an Early Module Feedback Questionnaire (EMFQ)
You can find step-by-step instructions (with screenshots) on how to add an EMFQ to your Moodle course in the Student Partnership team's visual guide (MS Word document).
You can also watch a video guide on how to add an Early Module Feedback Questionnaire to Moodle (Screencast).
Using the data
Where students indicate that they do not know how to access resources or help, or understand the module or assessment, Module Leads should ensure that these areas are revisited. You could do this by hosting a discussion in face-to-face or online sessions, or posting on Moodle.
It can be difficult to assess what percentage or number of students saying ‘no’ needs addressing. If in doubt, you can always send a general reminder to all students that if the survey highlighted any gaps for them, they can speak to their Personal Tutor, Teaching Administrator or relevant staff or service. Later in the term, the Student Success Advisors will also be a useful resource.
If staff want to discuss their results and identify how to address any issues they can get support from their Arena Centre Teaching Fellow and/or Faculty Learning Technology Lead. Issues can be explored in more depth with their help or by using the additional support options below. Staff are also encouraged to continue to engage with our established student feedback mechanisms, outlined below.
- Term One SSCCs
Term One meetings often take place in late October/early November and are a good opportunity for surfacing department-level issues from the first few weeks of term. Departments may wish to hold SSCC meetings more frequently in the first term. The Students’ Union has plenty of resources for UCL staff working with Student Academic Representatives and supporting SSCCs, including guidance on running SSCCs remotely.
Unitu is a sophisticated platform with a variety of tools for students to give feedback, ask questions or raise issues. There is expanded coverage among UCL departments for 2020-21. Staff can now also propose questions through the system.
- Institutional Surveys e.g. New to UCL
Institutional student surveys will continue to run at UCL, with New to UCL (launching 29 October) offering rich insights into the experience of our new students. The OVPESA Student Partnership team will release headline data from New to UCL before Christmas.
- Student Evaluation Questionnaires (SEQs)
There has been a project to ensure all SEQs are able to take place online. We are aware that some departments are planning to do early and/or mid-term SEQs.
- Student Reviewers of Teaching Practice
Staff can apply to work with two students as part of UCL’s peer dialogue scheme. This initiative offers the opportunity for staff to have a conversation with a pair of students about their teaching practice and the learning experience of students on their module. Students are trained (with a focus this year on thinking critically about how students learn online) and matched with staff by the UCL Arena Centre. There is also funding available for students to run focus groups. This is open to all staff and is very popular with students.
- UCL ChangeMakers
UCL ChangeMakers can be used as a tool to address feedback from students and work with them to implement change. Staff and students can apply for either £450 or £700 in funding (which will mainly be used to pay student stipends) and offer an opportunity for staff and students to work together on solutions to local student experience issues.
- Focus groups
The OVPESA Student Partnerships team provide guidance on how to run focus groups to explore issues in greater depth, but these could also be run by Academic Reps with departmental support (e.g. via ChangeMakers funding).
Departments may already have planned to use their own early feedback methods, which is fine. There is no need to replace what you have planned for with the EMFQ. The most important thing is that you have some means to get early feedback from students, and are able to respond to requests for information about how teaching is going.
When choosing a tool and designing a questionnaire, be aware of the workload in department – in terms of preparing, running and analysing the survey, and please be sensitive to the danger of survey fatigue for students and ensure that your mechanism is light touch.
Options for module-level feedback include:
- Verbal feedback - Small modules (less than 20 students) where contact between staff and students should be sufficient to surface any problems in a more discursive manner do not need to use an online tool. You may also want to canvas students for feedback via meetings with their Personal Tutors.
- Moodle questionnaires - Technical guidance on creating these is available in the Moodle Staff Guides Questionnaire Miniguide. You could also use the EMFQ as a template, and adapt it to suit your department for example by adding a question.
- Other survey platforms - If you already use other platforms such as Opinio or MS Forms, you can use these to host a similar survey.
- Mentimeter - The online polling, questioning and voting tool for use in your classes or presentations, whether they are face-to-face or online, synchronous or asynchronous. For more details go to the Mentimeter Resource Center.
When choosing your questions, remember that at this stage we are looking for a ‘temperature check’ or pulse survey – short, pointed questions that can be completed in a few minutes, to give easy-to-use headline responses. You should avoid using open, reflective and evaluative questions that are resource intensive for both the respondent and the recipient.
UCL has an array of feedback tools, including SSCCs, SEQs, Unitu, institutional surveys etc. which the EMFQ will complement, and they will allow for these evaluative and qualitative responses further down the line.
If you are designing your own questions, please consider the following issues:
- Keep the questionnaire brief and think about the data that a question would generate. For example, you may prefer to use closed questions for ease of analysis.
- If you add an open text question to your survey, please ensure that you give your students guidance about appropriate answers, and be prepared to read all the answers and follow them up so that the students feel that their voice is heard.
- Ensure that you are able to “close the feedback loop” to anything you ask. Students will want to see positive and timely action in response to their feedback.
- You will need to set up your questionnaire to be anonymous. If you use open text questions, students may unwittingly reveal their identity or identify others, so please remind them not to do this. You will also need to ensure that any accidental revelations are redacted if you are sharing the results more widely in your department or faculty.
- If you include open questions with open text answers, you may unfortunately also receive some inappropriate comments – again, please ensure that these are removed before sharing results.