Tag Archives: feedback

Student views on feedback forms

To find out more a student intern, working with staff in LTDS,  evaluated existing feedback forms and gathered opinions from students to identify what works and what could be improved. The project considered a total of 66 forms from 19 different schools and included focus groups and interviews with individual students.

What did they find?

These are a few key findings and you can find full details in the project report.

Form Design

Have clear, separate sections showing:

  • Strengths and areas for improvement
  • Clear advice for future work

Only use tick boxes for objective areas of the marking criteria, such as grammar. When tick boxes were used for subjective areas, such as argument, students found this unhelpful.

Look at your feedback forms and consider whether these should be redesigned. Consult with the students in your school as part of the process.

Utilising the form

Type feedback, wherever possible.

Introduce structured opportunities to help students understand:

  • expectations of the marking criteria
  • the ways in which this is reflected in the feedback sheet

Discuss how you use marking sheets with your colleagues. Try to develop a consistent approach to:

  • the volume of feedback
  • the use of notes in margins

For more information get in touch with LTDS@ncl.ac.uk

Peer Mentoring: Feedback Sessions

With the Peer Mentoring Scheme well underway across the University, mentors have been meeting with convenors to check how things are going.

Alison Graham convenes the Peer Mentors in the School of Biology.

feedback-session-peer-mentoring
Students in Peer Mentoring feedback session

She meets with Peer Mentors in the school in week 2, week 4 and week 7 or 8, just to check how students are doing and make sure that mentors and mentees are getting the most out of the scheme.

‘What I’ve started to try to do is to incentivise the meetings, so the students feel that they are getting something out of them, as well as just catching up.

‘I came up with the idea of tying them to the Graduate Skills Framework, so I often work through how the mentors will be able to use their skills in applying for jobs.

‘We go through how to evidence the skills that they’ve gained in applications and at  interview.’

Alison hopes that this approach will make the scheme more lucrative for second and third year students who may be unsure about giving up their time.

‘It’s really about making sure that students can see and really use the skills they are gaining form being a Peer Mentor, in addition to helping other students.’

Alison says the scheme has proved popular in the School and that students have described it as useful but that often the whole experience relies on engagement from the mentors.

‘We have some excellent mentors who establish a real social group and relationship with their mentees by organising trips and events.

‘We try to encourage that and encourage teamwork within the groups – for example, we organise a treasure hunt in week one where they all have to work together.’

She says that the amount of engagement with mentors depends on individual students and often to circumstances.

‘But it depends on them. Some students only really liaise with their mentor in the first few weeks but some need a little bit more.

‘They also tend to turn to their mentors around exam and assignment time.

‘But it can also be really important for some students who are struggling.’

As a convenor for the programme, Alison points out that its important for the mentors to be trained and supported so that they know what queries they can answer.

‘We have to be quite careful to make sure that they know how much help they can give students with their academic work.

‘Obviously they can provide some advice but we don’t want people sharing assignments or anything, so that’s something we have to train them for.’

As well as the feedback meetings, Peer Mentors have all been invited to a Thank You party, taking place on 5th December in the Great North Museum.

Claire Burnham, the University’s Peer Mentoring Coordinator said: ‘We’re very excited about the event.

‘The Mentor of the year award will be presented on the night and we’ve already had 400 nominations from students across the University.

‘It’s a great way of rewarding our mentors and our convenors for all of their hard work.’

 

VLE Feedback Sessions April 2016

In April, the Learning and Teaching Development Service and the Student Union ran some pop up feedback sessions in the Business School, the Robinson Library, the Student Union and the Medical School asking students one question, ‘What one thing would improve your experience of Blackboard or the LSE?’ The same question was also added  to the Blackboard My Institution page to which students could give an online response.

In total, 434 students gave feedback, 402 about Blackboard and 32 about the LSE. The student responses were collated and categorised into main themes. Some students covered more than one theme in their answer.

Few students had issues with the functionality of Blackboard and 20.65% of comments were very positive where they felt staff engaged with it. From the small sample of students who commented about the LSE, 43.75% of comments were positive and found it very clear and easy to use.

The main Blackboard issue students raised was regarding organisation and consistency of module content with 22.64% of the students who responded recognising this as a problem. In answer to the question, student comments included, ‘All lecturers using the same way of organising. Everything in the same place!’ and ‘Same layout for every module. It would make it so much easier if all modules had the same layout.’

Other key themes included the mobile application, Blackboard Learn and the availability of lecture materials and ReCap recordings.

This feedback gave us a very useful snapshot of student opinion on the VLE. You can read the full report that was shared at the HaSS and SAgE FLTSEC meetings this month and view the student comments by Faculty, School and Stage.

If you would like any tailored Blackboard training or would like us to work with you to reorganise your modules or come along to your school meeting to discuss creating a school, or discipline, specific template , please contact LTDS.

 

If you go down to the Robinson Library today…

Psst! Do encourage your students to get down to the Robinson Library today for some Easter treats!
All they have to do to get a free creme egg (or a £1) and to be in with a chance of winning £20 is to visit the NSS Student Awareness table between 11.15 and 14.45.

Elliot Chapin (BA History and Archaeology) won £20
Elliot Chapin (BA History and Archaeology) won £20

Final Year students can fill out the NSS there and then if they wish.
There’ll be more opportunities for students to take part across campus over the next few weeks: Continue reading If you go down to the Robinson Library today…

STAR CASE STUDY: Feedback Foghorn

Would you like your students to be able to see all of their feedback in one place?

Do you feel like you’re pouring useful advice and feedback into the void?

You need the feedback foghorn!

Lindsey Ferrie

Lindsey Ferrie in Biomedical Sciences has been piloting the scheme in Biomedical Sciences which allows students to use e-portfolio software to compile, track and store their feedback across their course.

The system allows them to track their academic progress across software such as Grademark, Turnitin and PeerWise in order to analyse areas of strength and weakness and to see clearly  their academic progress. Continue reading STAR CASE STUDY: Feedback Foghorn

STAR CASE STUDY: Using Industry Professionals in Law

Lecturers in the Law School are making use of industry professionals to teach students about ‘real-life’ as a legal professional.

The school makes use of professionals from local practices to assess first year’s interviewing techniques and invites Law Lords and senior judges to meet students in order to help them to establish contacts and feel comfortable in the formal and often cliquey legal world.

Jonathan Galloway, just one lecturer making use of professionals in both law and economics as part of his Competition Law module, thinks that regular contact with those working in the profession gives Newcastle students the edge.

Dr Jonathan Galloway of Newcastle Law School‘Not only is it great to hear from someone who can tell you in a more anecdotal sense how the theory you learn about during your degree works in real world situations, it also builds students’ confidence.

‘For many of them, the world of court, particularly places like the supreme court or Parliament can seem completely out of reach. Meeting a senior judge or law lord can help them to feel more comfortable and confident in applying for jobs or placements at these types of places later.

‘For some Newcastle students, they may never have met a barrister or a judge before. Having people who work at some of the most prestigious firms or in the top jobs deliver elements of their courses helps them to see that these sorts of professions are within reach for them and hopefully encourages them to aim high after they graduate.’

For Jonathan, this works both ways: ‘It also works the same way for the firms themselves. Although many of the most prestigious firms in London, they come into regular contact with students from London-based Law Schools, many may not meet many students from Newcastle.

‘Inviting them to speak means that they already have a sense of what Newcastle students are about and how much they could offer their firm as a graduate.’

The Law School makes use of professionals to assess interviewing techniques in the early stages of the degree and to deliver some lectures on modules such as Competition law and Human Rights law.

Although much of this takes place later in the course and Jonathan is keen to stress that students always already have a theoretical grounding in the area which professionals come to discuss, he thinks it is inherently valuable for the students:

‘We’ve had some really excellent people, not just lawyers but economists too to help the students get a more rounded sense of how wide-ranging legal studies is and how many different sectors the law touches upon.’

To read more about what Law is up to see the Case Study Database.

Or if you have an example of really effective teaching practice in your School do get in touch with Katherine.cooper@ncl.ac.uk.

 

School of Biology Gets National Recognition for Innovative Assessment Feedback

Do your students complain about the feedback they receive on assessments?

Are you interested in a more efficient marking process, which engages students and increases student satisfaction?

Alison Graham from the School of Biology, was a runner-up in this year’s Turnitin Global Innovation Awards because of her innovative use of GradeMark and Turnitin.

Alison integrates marking rubrics written specifically for each assessment into GradeMark and produces libraries of comments for that assignment.

She was a runner-up in the Student Engagement Category of the international competition.

These comments can be added directly to students’ work, noting how they can improve and providing more detail than possible on pro formas. Alongside these assessors can add free text comments specific to the individual student’s work.

AlisonGraham
School of Biology’s Alison Graham

Students like it because the can quickly see the areas which they need to improve on. Integrating the marking rubric into GradeMark gives the students a visual indication of where their work is at on each strand of the marking criteria, giving a useful level of detail to the single overall mark.

[The rubric] was the most useful aspect of the electronic feedback as this helped me to gauge which areas of the assignment I was lacking and therefore where I would need to focus my improvement for future work. It also helped me to understand why I had received the mark I had in relation to the marking criteria for each section and thus why my overall grade was within a certain grade boundary.Student feedback on the system

For staff the system, once in place, made marking quicker and more efficient. Online marking removes the logistics of lugging around paper copies of work, and the bank of library comments mean that common issues on the work can be quickly responded to with detailed, relevant and specific feedback.

Alison notes that “Markers are not restricted by the space in the margins and online marking removes any issues with students being unable to read handwriting”

Using GradeMark also leads to a greater consistency of marking on modules which are team-taught.

Alison has found that engaging students in the marking process, through timetabled sessions, helps them to understand the reasons for the marks they are getting. Modules using GradeMark consistently perform highly on the module feedback surveys, and on the National Student Survey there has been an increase in students agreeing that “The criteria used in marking have been clear in advance”.

This approach is now being used by a number of staff in the School of Biology and elsewhere, and online marking through GradeMark has clear potential to be used by staff in all departments across the university.

If you’re interested in finding out more about GradeMark and integrating it into your own teaching, we can help you. Get in touch with LTDS at ltds@ncl.ac.uk, you can see other examples of good practice using Grademark and Turnitin in our Case Studies database.