Implementation of the standard Student Module Evaluation Template
James Balkwill, Programme Lead in the Faculty of Technology, Design and the Environment, discusses how he achieves high module evaluation response rates.
A standard student University-wide module evaluation questionnaire was initially developed and used across all faculties during 2011/12. Following the move to Moodle, a strategic decision was made by the University AESC that from September 2012 the questionnaire should be accessed through the new VLE. This system has several benefits; it is efficient, it has the capacity to prevent multiple or invalid entries, and it can be accessed via hand-held digital devices.
Data entered by students is now collated within the Academic Performance Tracking Tool (APTT). APTT can be used to automatically populate the module review template. Module leaders can see the rate of response as students complete the questionnaire and have instant access to the data.
APTT allows two levels of reporting and analysis: module level, for use primarily by the module leader(s) and module team, and Faculty/University level to help provide an overview and identify trends.
The function of the questionnaire
The questionnaire is a simple, largely quantitative, quality assurance tool which:
- enables the University to confirm that a basic minimum of module evaluation has occurred,
- helps to identify where good practice is occurring,
- helps identify modules where students have expressed low satisfaction which might warrant further investigation.
The module evaluation questionnaire is not intended to be a replacement for other innovative and exciting evaluation methods that module leaders are already using, and module leaders are encouraged to use other methods (e.g. mid semester evaluations) alongside the University questionnaire. However, provision has been made for tutors to ask their own bespoke questions through the Moodle system. Unfortunately these do not feed through to APTT.
The questionnaire is not designed to provide the sort of data required to review and enhance module content and delivery and module leaders will probably need to use the template alongside bespoke evaluation methods e.g. focus groups if a more comprehensive analysis is required.
The questions may not be appropriate for some modules. Therefore dissertation/independent study, practice, distance learning and work based modules may use bespoke questionnaires as long as student feedback is obtained and fed into module reports for consideration at subject committees. The project working group will be developing an evaluation questionnaire suitable for dissertations and projects during 2013/2014.
Using the module evaluation questionnaire in Moodle
- Check that your module has a Moodle site. If it doesn’t ask the Faculty DMeLD to create one.
- You will see a hidden activity (light blue link) in the top of the course - near the module guide, just after any other resources there. If you do not see this, in the first instance, please contact your DMeLD, as it is likely that they are missing because the modules are not linked to PIP; if this does not resolve the issue, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Decide when students will have access to the questionnaire i.e. decide when the link will go “live” and also when you will close it.
- You activate the link to the questionnaire by clicking the eye icon in course edit mode.
- You deactivate the link (when you want to close access to the questionnaire) by toggling the same icon. Having a clear cut-off date encourages students to complete the questionnaire.
- The "analysis" and "show responses" tabs, reached by clicking on the "module evaluation" activity link, enable you to monitor responses (but not which students have responded). For a visual representation of this please go to:
This link also assists module leaders who use “meta-sites” i.e. dual level and joint module Moodle sites.
You should monitor response rates while the link is live and encourage students to complete it.
Data from the evaluation questionnaire is available to module leaders via APTT. The update to APTT occurs overnight.
The data must be used as part of the module review for Subject Committees in the following semester. The module review form is automatically populated through APTT. This is now the only way you can obtain formally, a module review template.
Increasing student response rates
Engaging students with the process of feedback
Being open and encouraging feedback throughout the module tends to enhance formal feedback rates. So, work on creating a culture of feedback on the module through using a variety of approaches to collecting feedback throughout the semester.
Emphasize the importance of student feedback, identify changes made as a result of previous student evaluation and describe the process for obtaining student evaluation for the module.
You might consider introducing the questionnaire to students midway through the semester. During a large group teaching session, half way through the semester, try opening the questionnaire and shows students where it is, what they are asked about and when and how students can complete the questionnaire. At the end of the mid-way session the questionnaire should be closed again by opening editing and clicking on the 'eye' by the title. If you need any assistance ask your Faculty DMeLD to talk you through this.
Activating the template.
The module leader decides when students can activate the Template. The date it is activated and the length of time it is open will depend on the type of module, pace of the learning and the timing of the assessment points. Module leaders should inform students when the Template is accessible and for how long.
Link to Moodle Calendar or session
Consider ‘dragging’ the module evaluation questionnaire link into the relevant 'week' (the week that you want students to complete the form) on the module’s Moodle site.
Smart Phones and I-devices
The most effective method so far of improving feedback rates and which also provides instant results is to use smart phones and I-devices within classrooms either via Wi-Fi or 3G. This method has proved the most successful and will produce good student response rates and useful opportunities for dialogue with students. A Basic Guide to enable module leaders to promote and make increased use of student mobile devices in the classroom is at the following URL.
This link also provides details of how students can access EDUROAM; it is worth asking your student to make sure they can access EDUROAM at least the session before you intend to undertake the module evaluation. Faculty DMeLDS can help you do this.
There are chrome books available from your DMeLDs that you can borrow for use by any of your students who do not have Smart phones.
During the time that the Template is accessible, module leaders can monitor response rates by clicking on the Module Evaluation links and looking in “Analysis” and “Show responses”. High responses rates were achieved by modules leaders who emphasised the importance of student feedback and kept the student group informed about the status of the evaluation and the student response rate. Several e-mails were necessary to remind students of the need to complete the questionnaire. Opening the Template in a classroom at the end of the module for discussion can also encourage students to go away to complete it. Students also valued information about how feedback is used and module leaders should talk through with students how a summary of the feedback is presented to the Subject Committee which influences the next run of the module.