Module evaluation forms a key part of our Student Voice Framework, allowing students to provide feedback to Schools and the University at a detailed level, leading to the enhancement of their educational experience. Module evaluation can also be used to support staff in the continual improvement of their teaching through reflection on the outcomes.
The following recommendations were designed to support schools in the operation of effective module evaluation and re-emphasises minimum requirements for module evaluation that have previously been outlined by the University. Thematic areas that should be covered by module evaluation have been set out, along with discussion of how the outcomes of module evaluation should transparently feed into the enhancement of the educational experience.
It is expected that all Schools implement the following minimum requirements for 2013-14, as approved by Academic Strategy and Quality Committee in July 2012:
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a. All Schools should carry out an evaluation for every module (or unit of study for non-modular programmes) each year.
All modules must be evaluated each year (for undergraduate and postgraduate taught modules), towards the end of the module. The method utilised can be decided within the School. Further guidance on the range of methods available will be provided, including the advantages and disadvantages of each. For example, those currently using online methods do tend to have lower response rates than those distributing paper-based evaluations during class time, however it is easier to analyse the responses using an online method. Case studies on the different methods used will be made available to Schools.
b. Schools should actively encourage feedback from students throughout the programme and respond to issues arising promptly.
Students often raise concerns that the outcomes of module evaluation do not tend to benefit them directly. Whilst they do see that it will benefit future cohorts, as the feedback from those before have done for them, they would like to see more options for enabling small adjustments/changes to be made during the module. Therefore other forms of feedback from students should be actively encouraged in addition to end-of-module evaluation to allow matters that can be more easily addressed to be dealt with during the module, e.g. ‘drop-box’/suggestion box schemes, mechanisms through Student Reps, mid-module feedback, focus groups, more regular Student-Staff Panels.
c. The importance of module evaluation should be communicated to students appropriately.
The importance of module evaluation needs to be communicated to students appropriately, in order to ensure they know how to complete the surveys, understand the importance of their feedback, and feel confident that their views are taken seriously.
It is beneficial if this is linked to communicating the outcomes of previous module evaluations and the actions taken as a result, as outlined in “h” below.
d. Students should complete module evaluation anonymously.
Students should feel safe in the knowledge that the opinions expressed in their feedback will not affect their performance on the module or programme. Comments about individual members of staff must be anonymised before analysis is discussed in any forum other than one-to-one with the member/s of staff concerned.
e. Schools must use an institutional core set of module evaluation questions, which can be added to with School-specific questions.
The core set of questions was developed following consultation with Schools and students and approved following further discussion at ASQC in October 2012. Schools will be able to add School-Specific questions to these templates. Standard templates for the core questions are being provided, in English and Welsh, for MS Word, Learning Central, Bristol Online Survey and Questionmark Perception, which Schools may use if they wish to prevent duplication of effort.
f. Schools should adopt a consistent approach to the analysis of modules.
Schools should develop a consistent approach to the analysis of all module evaluation data and provide an overview report for the Board of Studies, which should also feed into Annual Programme Review and Enhancement. Schools must provide the quantitative data for the core questions if requested to do so as part of the University quality processes. Comments about individual members of staff must be anonymised before analysis is discussed in any forum other than one-to-one with the member/s of staff concerned.
g. Outputs from survey activity should be considered by the appropriate Board of Study and shared with the relevant Student-Staff Panel.
There should be standard agenda items for Boards of Study to consider the overview report, the outputs from module evaluation and to discuss the required actions. As a minimum the quantitative data for the core questions should be provided in an easy-to-read format to Student-Staff Panel members so that they can help to inform the actions that should be taken.
h. Outputs and actions should be communicated to all students.
Once outputs and actions have been considered and agreed, these should be available to all students. It is also important to communicate when it is not possible to take a particular action and explain the reasons for this. The method used for communicating these messages can be decided within the School, but could include via Learning Central, by email, on Notice boards or through timetabled feedback sessions.
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The principles of this guidance relate to all students although it is recognised that some areas may need to be adapted by individual schools to meet the needs of specific programmes and levels of study (e.g. postgraduate taught & research students; joint honours students; part-time students; distance learning students).
Schools wishing to discuss their implementation of the new Module Evaluation process are welcome to contact:
Dr Sarah Williamson
Head of Student Engagement and Education Support (Registry and Academic Services)
Phone: +44(0)29 208 79225
Page last updated: 1 October 2013