Tuesday, 19 November 2013

'Students Talking to Students'

I’m Dr Chris Stokes, and one of the small team of staff* who started the process of what has become the ‘F3EDBACK for US’ project. The project idea came from a meeting in the Arts Tower early in 2013, where we discussed the idea of a student-led feedback project and how to fund it. We were lucky that the Higher Education Academy were looking to fund projects like ours, and even luckier to be awarded the money to support it.

The idea for the project came from the understanding that as teaching staff we knew that we wanted to increase the satisfaction of students with feedback (the National Student Survey provides us with annual measures of student satisfaction), and we also knew that the answer would be more complicated than simply providing more feedback. We wanted to have the conversation with students across campus about what feedback meant to them, how they thought it would be most useful to them, how often they wanted it, and in what format.

There are lots of well established channels of communication in the University for these sorts of discussions to take place (through course reps, the Student Union etc), but we thought that there was one that was currently missing: students talking to lots of students, in person and through social media, specifically about feedback. Through these channels the conversation has the potential to get to all students, to interact with them in many ways, at many levels, and could be facilitated by the very people who can identify with them best - their peers. Using the information gathered from such a massive conversation, best practice examples and guidance can be collated and given to teachers across the University to help them improve the effectiveness of the feedback they provide in their teaching.

The F3EDBACK for US Student Ambassadors for Learning and Teaching (SALTs) are now guiding and working on the project, and over the next few months they will be touring, talking, blogging and tweeting about feedback, gathering information from students and staff about what they think is most effective. We’ll then be sharing the best ideas and advice through this blog and our website, so please let us know your thoughts on feedback, come and talk to the team if you see them out and about, and visit our webpages to see how we are getting on.

*The cross- faculty team that put the bid together were Dr Chris Stokes (Medicine, Dentistry and Health), Dr Penny Simons (Arts and Humanities), Ian Hicklin (Social Sciences), Claire Allam (Student Services), Professor Alistair Warren (Science) and Dr Graham McElearney (CiCS). The project is now being run by the F3EDBACK for US Student Ambassador team together with Oli Johnson (Academic and Learning Services).

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