Friday, 22 November 2013

Student Union Stall: What We Learned

Hi everyone!
I’m Louise, a third year Psychology student and member of the SALT F3EDBACK team. You hopefully have seen us in the foyer of the Student’s Union this week offering free biscuits and sweets, in return for your opinions on feedback at the University of Sheffield. First of all, on behalf of the F3EDBACK team, I would like to thank you for your engagement with the project so far, we had so many interesting conversations with people about their feedback experiences and had a great questionnaire response. The success of the F3EDBACK stall in the union will definitely help steer the future of this project. This blog post will summarise some of the interesting and important things we encountered on the stall whilst interacting with you. I will also explain what we plan to do next and how you can continue to get involved.
F3EDBACK for US hits the SU
Most of you who walked past our stall put a counter in the voting station which asked; “How do you rate your experience of feedback at the university of Sheffield". Interestingly, the majority of the counters were in the ‘Satisfactory’ or ‘Poor’ boxes, which means that we have a lot of work to do! However, we did notice that a lot of the students who put counters in the ‘Good’ box were from the faculty of Science and Engineering. It will be interesting to talk to the students and staff to find out what is so good about the feedback in these departments, which maybe the humanities departments are missing.

Voting Station Results:
How do you rate feedback at the University of Sheffield?
Good: 85
Satisfactory: 68
Poor: 28

Also, many students we spoke to didn’t realise that the university has a 3 week policy for returning and giving feedback for work submitted. A lot of you said that your department definitely did not stick to this policy and some didn't receive feedback until months after they had submitted their work or taken exams. This is something we feel it is essential to look into, as lots of you expressed that the timing of your feedback was really important to you.

Obviously, at particular times of the year staff are inundated with exam scripts and coursework to mark, consequently a quick turn around with feedback isn't always possible. The next thing on our checklist therefore, will be to speak to staff within departments across the university and find out what they have to say about giving feedback. Hopefully, by considering both staff and student perspectives on feedback at university, we can meet the needs of everyone with the improvements we intend to make.

Whilst on the stall, myself and Stuart had an interesting chat with a member of CiCS. He explained to us that there were numerous ways that staff can give electronic feedback, however from our experiences these technologies are not widely used. We hope to find out more about electronic feedback by talking to CiCS about the available resources. This is an exciting opportunity that may help to improve the accessibility, timing and legibility of feedback.

What can you do now?
To follow up the hundreds of questionnaires that we’ve gratefully received from you we will be holding a focus group next Friday (29th November) 1-2pm in the IC. There will be FREE PIZZA! So if you would like to give just an hour of your time to chat to us about feedback and stuff your faces with free food please get in touch. After this, we plan to approach you again after you have received feedback from your January exams and deadlines. By hearing your opinions before you’ve received feedback and after you’ve received feedback, we hope to find out what’s missing and bridge the gap with a miraculous solution. In the meantime, we will be behind the scenes talking to departmental staff and CiCS about their opinions on feedback.

Until then, please follow @F3EDBACKforUS on Twitter, like our Facebook page and continue to give us your valued opinions.

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