Welcome to the March issue of Teaching Matters: Student voice on academic feedback

Photo credit: Jason Rosewell, Unsplash, CC0

Welcome to the March issue: Student voice on academic feedback

This month’s issue highlights student voice on academic feedback. Blog posts will discuss how students engage with the University’s various resources for giving feedback and how staff incorporate this feedback in their teaching. The University of Edinburgh continuously strives to improve its feedback mechanisms in an effort to meet students’ evolving demands of representation and participation in pedagogical concerns. A wide array of mechanisms provide students with the tools for expressing their opinions on course content, teaching approaches, assessment strategies, and so on. These are illustrated in Academic Service’s Giving feedback: a student guide diagram.

A still image of the Giving feedback: a student guide interactive diagram.

Some of these mechanisms include the Student Panel, Student Surveys and EUSA’s Student Representation system.

The Student Panel was established in order to offer students a more active say in university-wide decision-making and to reduce the number of surveys. The Panel is a volunteer-based system that any student can be a member of. Throughout the year, panel members receive different ‘tasks’ to participate in that range from responding to questionnaires to participating in interviews and focus groups. Sarah-Jane Brown, the Student Surveys Operations Lead, will open this month’s issue with a discussion on how the student panel has generated creative input in university-wide decisions

Student surveys have been, and continue to be, valuable mechanisms as they provide in-depth and comprehensive feedback on specific courses and student experience in general. Surveys are anonymous and aim to provide data which can be used to improve the experiences of current and future students. Survey responses often directly influence course and assessment modifications. Salvador Aguilar Hernandez will share how responding to mid-course surveys has impacted his learning experience as an undergraduate student at the School of Social and Political Science.

Finally, student representation is a key component of student voice on feedback. Edinburgh University Students’ Association (EUSA) does committed work in mobilising students to represent their school and provides innovative training throughout the year to empower student leadership. It also implements democratic frameworks for feedback such as the Student Council that incites all students to submit motions for discussion. Gemma Spencer, a postgraduate student at the School of Health in Social Science, will give us an insider look at her experience as a student representative. Meanwhile, Esther Mijers, Senior Lecturer in Scottish History, and Ethan Rummel, an undergraduate student at the School of History, Classics and Archaeology, have co-written an insightful post about student-staff liaison committees, sharing tips on how to improve communication between student and staff through the student representation system.

Previous Teaching Matters posts on student voice and feedback that you may find interesting are:

Happy reading…!

Josephine Foucher

Joséphine is doing a PhD in Sociology at The University of Edinburgh. Her research looks at the intersection between art and politics. She works with Jenny Scoles as the Teaching Matters Deputy Editor and Student Engagement Officer.

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