Course Feedback by Students
What Is Course Feedback?
After each term, (former) students are asked to provide feedback on the general organisation, and certain specific aspects of the teaching practice with which they have come into contact. The output generated by this so-called course feedback (Dutch: vakfeedback) is used by Ghent University’s teaching staff and the administrative bodies to monitor the teaching practice, and adjust it wherever necessary. Indirectly, course feedback also contributes to a permanent actualisation of our general education policy.
Course Feedback vs. Course Evaluations
Course feedback by students is the new term that has been adopted by the Education Council since 2020. It refers to the course evaluations of old. Not only the term was updated, however. In 2019-2020, the question set was thoroughly reviewed and adjusted.
Course Feedback Content
Course feedback is a structured, generic question set about a specific course unit, by means of which students are able to give feedback to their lecturer(s). The generic question set consists of items organized into several topics or sections:
- learning effect
- active learning
- learning materials
- items pertaining to the individual lecturer
- miscellaneous items
Course Feedback: Proceedings
- the Quality Assurance Office (part of DOWA) coordinates the course feedback proceedings;
- the faculties’ Quality Assurance Units (in Dutch: Cel Kwaliteit Onderwijs - CKO) organize the course feedback for their specific choice of course units. A number of course units is reviewed every term, taking care that every course unit has been surveyed on a three-yearly basis;
- students complete a question set for every lecturer/course unit combination. They receive an e-mail generated by OASIS from the moment the question sets are available. Under the heading ‘course evaluations’, OASIS provides them with an overview of the course units that need reviewing. All surveys are anonymous;
Course Feedback: Processing and Using the Results
- after an automatic processing of the results, the individual lecturer will be notified that his/her report(s) are available for consultation under the heading ‘Course Evaluations’ in OASIS;
- from that moment, the faculty’s Director of Studies has access to each lecturer’s report(s) as well;
- next, the lecturer is given two weeks’ time to add personal feedback/reactions to the report(s). OASIS only gives access to the lecturer’s own results. There is only one feedback possibility per report (cf. also ‘How to Deal with the Results?’);
- after two weeks, the report(s) - including the lecturer’s reactions - become available to the Programme Committee Chair and the Department Chair. Reports are discussed during EQCU-meetings (Dutch: Commissie Kwaliteitszorg Onderwijs - CKO);
- in case further monitoring and/or actions are needed with regard to specific course units, the lecturer will receive an e-mail. Lecturers may e.g. be invited to a meeting with the faculty’s Director of Studies and a QAU-staff member to discuss an action plan together;
- the course feedback results, including a possible action plan/improvement plan will become available to all those involved (the lecturer, the Director of Studies, the Programme Committee Chair, the Department Chair);
- final reports from previous academic years can be consulted under the heading ‘Course Evaluations’ in OASIS (cf. also ‘How to Deal with the Results’);
- the EQCU may decide to hold a new survey for a specific course unit in the following academic year.
Tips on How to Deal with the Results
- the information gathered from course feedback is precisely that: feedback to the lecturer. It is not meant as an assessment of the lecturer. What is important, is that the lecturer knows how to deal with the information personally and efficiently. Lecturers are asked to briefly sketch their personal reflections on the feedback given by the students, and to indicate where they see room for adjustment or improvement;
- final responsibility for a course unit lies with the lecturer-in-charge. If necessary, s/he invites all the co-lecturers to discuss the course feedback. The report offers the possibility to indicate specific roles: lecturer-in-charge, or co-lecturer for the entire course unit, one specific module, or a single class;
- the report contains results per item as well as an average score per section. The number of items per section varies. The sections or dimensions and their respective scores have an informative (rather than a formative) function;
- compare results over the course of the previous years in order to discern possible evolutions in the feedback that was given;
- for those who are interested in positioning themselves against a larger entity, e.g. the study programme, we refer to the aggregated reports for all lecturers that will be made available in UGI for Education Policy.
- At the request of a programme and with the permission of the lecturer, individual coaching can be started up in collaboration with the Education Department's Quality Assurance Office in which the lecturers receive personal feedback and advice about their teaching approach and/or teaching style. In consultation with the lecturer it will be determined which aspects of the teaching activities will be included in the coaching and which approach will be followed (e.g. attending lessons, looking at learning materials). The coaching is strictly confidential and the department will only communicate with the lecturer involved. Would you like to make use of this individual coaching? Then please contact email@example.com
Want to Know More?
More information on the course feedback by students can be found in the Education and Examination Code, articles 83 and 84.
More information on the new professorial staff career path and policy and the personal reflection report: https://www.ugent.be/nl/vacatures/mobiliteit-loopbaanpaden/loopbaanpad/zap.
Information in figures/reports about education at Ghent University can be found in UGI-Onderwijsbeleid. In the future, UGI will also contain reports with aggregated results of the course feedback.