Module Evaluation Questionnaires are an important part of UCL Student Engagement practice, providing valuable student feedback to departments and faculties on their programmes.
Module Evaluation Questionnaires (MEQs, also referred to as SEQs) are an important means by which students can express their views on their educational experience. The feedback helps programmes to maintain academic standards as well as facilitate meaningful discussions between staff and students on their delivery and on ways to improve and enhance provision.
Module Evaluation Policy
To ensure departments and faculties participate in the evaluative process, UCL has updated the Academic Manual, to include a new MEQ policy. It has been designed to support staff and facilitate existing good practice, and is applicable to all taught programmes (including MRes programmes).
UCL Core Questions
The five core questions, introduced in 2020-21, provide consistency in the student experience and a broad diagnostic tool relevant to all modules. We would encourage staff to use these questions as a basis for their MEQ.
Below you will find some other key questions you might consider using in your module evaluations. By using these at a department or faculty level, it will help to ensure staff have a cohesive module evaluation approach, allowing for easier comparison of module scores.
Benefits to using online MEQs
Using an online questionnaire can help reduce administrative burden on departmental staff, and provide some consistency around feedback requests received by students. They also have the capability to generate reports and graphs so that you can see results and themes, even for very large modules, at a glance.
A consistent approach in your department, or faculty, particularly around using the same question set can produce more effective analysis, identify trends and help pick out good practice.
There are a variety of systems in use to survey students at UCL; if you are still using paper based forms for module evaluation, we would strongly recommend you consider using Moodle instead.
Frequently asked questions
- Why is UCL recommending Moodle as the tool for online MEQs?
Staff and students are already familiar with Moodle and it's questionnaire tool is easy to use and effective. We have also created a couple of questionnaire templates for staff to use to make things easier.
Moodle MEQs have been included in the checklist for how to align your course with the Connected Learning Baseline (CLB).
- We currently use a different online MEQ tool, can we swap to Moodle?
Departments are welcome to move to Moodle as this will improve consistency of experience for students and Moodle may also be less of an administrative burden than other tools.
Please use the step-by-step guidance and video walk-throughs provided in the information section to use/edit one of the existing templates. Please contact your Faculty Learning Technology Lead for further guidance.
- Can departments decide what questions are included?
Yes! The five core questions identified by the Harmonising module evaluation project have been incorporated into the two MEQ templates provided, but you can use the core questions and add your own.
Using the five core questions will allow us to better align our evaluation data with institutional surveys and contextualise results (such as the National Student Survey (NSS) and the Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey (PTES). It also has the potential to analyse MEQs at a departmental, faculty or institution level. Students will also have an improved survey experience if departments are using more consistent questions.
- Are MEQ responses on Moodle anonymous?
Unlike previous versions of Moodle, the current one is anonymous and logs cannot be used by departments to identify users.
Tips for improving response rates
- Encourage feedback from the outset
The use of module evaluation data is vital to making improvements to teaching and learning methods. It is important to communicate to students from the start of the module that they have an opportunity to contribute to its development with their feedback, via module evaluation.
The induction week (as well as handbooks and other guides) can be an ideal opportunity to introduce the evaluation process, when it takes place, and to celebrate some of the positive changes brought about through student feedback.
Creating and developing a culture of responding to the student voice encourages further participation in the evaluation process. Students are far more likely to engage positively with module evaluation if staff are seen to respond to issues, and engage with their suggestions.
- Pre-launch communications
To raise awareness and underline the importance of your MEQ, you could send a pre-launch email. We recommend that this comes from a senior member of staff as this gives the evaluation more weight. Consider summarising how feedback from previous surveys has been taken on board and changes that students and staff have made together.
Reminders can also be delivered during teaching sessions, especially about the date the survey opens and the opportunity for students to have their say.
Student Academic representatives are another valuable resource in getting the message out and can help with sending messages via Unitu, lecture “shout outs” and social media etc.
- Set aside in-class time
Traditionally, the highest participation rates are achieved when staff set aside time for students to complete the MEQ in-class. This usually takes place during one of the final teaching sessions, and can make completion easier for students, as it provides a dedicated timeslot and involves less survey reminders.
If your teaching is being delivered online, we recommend the same principle, to use the last 10-15 minutes for students to participate in the MEQ, using the chat area of the teaching platform to drop a direct link to the module evaluation.
This should be followed up with an email shortly after the session with a link to the survey, as not all students may have been able to attend.
- Monitor response rates
Check the level of participation. If you’re using survey functionality in Moodle, you can target non-participants through the reminder tool, with a brief message and a customised subject line to catch attention. On other platforms such as Forms or Opinio, you may need to send an email reminder to the whole cohort.
Following the launch and initial reminder email for a survey, there is always a spike in response rates. Whilst reminders are possibly the best single way of improving participation rates, there is a danger of irritating students by sending too many.
You may find your students respond best to informal, friendly communications, so consider varying the tone and style of your message each time. For example, instead of saying “Please help us reach X%”, consider “We need another X students to complete the survey to reach X%. Please be one of these X students".
Inevitably student response rates are lower than those completed in class, and participation around 30-40% is actually quite typical for online surveys – more than this is a great result!
- Close the loop
A robust feedback process closes the loop and demonstrates how continuous quality improvement is driven by students.
- Send a “thank you email” and, if you have had time to review the results, it can be effective to include an initial response and details of what will happen next.
- Consider posting an action plan on your Moodle page for students to refer back to, and report on progress – what can be changed, and more importantly what can’t be changed and why.
- A “You Shaped UCL” campaign provides an excellent opportunity for a department to demonstrate to students the changes they have either initiated, or helped bring about by working with staff.
- The results of student surveys also form a vital data source as part of the Annual Student Experience Review (ASER) and feed into the summary report and improvement plan for all taught programmes.
Closing the loop is vital to achieving a really great student experience and ensuring that we are working in partnership with our students.
For any further questions, please contact Yusuf Ozkizil, Project Manager - Student Engagement, Office of the Vice-Provost Education and Student Experience.