February 1, 2011, by Teaching at Nottingham

Listening to our students

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Amir Ghaemmaghami: “For every single module we have a module evaluation from the students. We also have staff/student committees which meet at least once every term, sometimes more. There is at least one representative, usually two representatives, from the course who attend and if there are any issues, we can discuss them as the modules are being taught.”

Louise Mullany: “If we’ve material that’s emerging inconsistently through our student evaluation of modules, then we’ll look at how that then impacts on what we do next: does something need changing? If it needs changing, there’ll be a process of dialogue between different representatives in the school, or through the teaching and learning committee.”

Peter Cartwright: “One of the things that we insist on in the school is that where Student Evaluation of Modules is concerned that members of staff fill in a form which responds to that and we put that on line so students can see it, so they can see that we take their comments seriously. We do think about those. We won’t always agree with them and in some cases it could be saying well students have said this but there is a reason for doing things the way that we do and I think it’s important for us that we justify that we just don’t take it for granted that the fact that we’ve done something in a particular way means that that’s the right way to do it.”

Will Bowden: “Often the informal one-to-one feedback you get on what people found interesting. The things also that they found difficult to understand, difficult to grasp. It’s those things that, I think, really feed into your teaching and you get an impression of areas to work on, thing that are going well that you might develop. So I think it’s those personal interactions that are as valuable as the formal evaluations of teaching.”

Fran Ebling: “We evaluate teaching with SET and we evaluate modules and we have the consultative committee, but I think we’re privileged because it’s a small course, that we do a lot of small group teaching and there’s that kind of immediate feedback of what things are working, what things aren’t. In the final year each member of staff might have three or four project students working with them on a kind of daily basis and so you’re getting a huge amount of feedback and informal feedback on what aspects of the course they’re enjoying and where the problems are. So we use that range of different forms of student feedback, some formal, some informal and the course undoubtedly changes as a result of that and we hope improves.”

William Bowden (School of Humanities),
Peter Cartwright (School of Law), 
Fran Ebling (School of Biomedical Sciences), 
Amir Ghaemmaghami (School of Molecular Medical Sciences), 
Louise Mullany (School of English Studies).

One of a series of interviews with staff that contributed to the development of the Teaching at Nottingham handbook.

Posted in Curriculum designQuality assuranceStudent views