Virtual On line
June 22, 2020
June 22, 2020
June 26, 2021
Traditional course instruction has students on the receiving end, giving them limited opportunity to contribute to their learning environment, and improve their learning experiences. The most common, and often only, form of course-level student feedback typically used in most universities is an end-of-semester survey, which has no influence on the current course, and provides a slow path to improvement. This study presents a student-centered assessment model that provides timely actionable feedback allowing optimization of course instruction during the semester with the objective of maximizing student learning and the overall student satisfaction. The proposed model uses a simple structured approach that incorporates questions requiring numerical scores and open-ended questions to solicit student feedback.
This model includes four surveys administered over the semester. The first survey is given on the first week of classes to familiarize the instructor with the background and career goals of each student and their course expectations. Based on the findings of this survey, the instructor can adjust or clarify aspects of the learning objectives, help students strategize their studying based on their individual background, and plan, early on, a “fine tuning” of the course schedule to add needed or remove obsolete material. The second and third surveys are anonymous and give the students the opportunity to assess various aspects of the course and their learning experiences. Each survey is separated into three sections. The Course section focuses on assessing the course structure, including the course organization, teaching tools, instructor’s lecture notes, textbooks, and homework. The Instructor section focuses on assessing the instructor’s overall support of the course, including their teaching skills, responsiveness to questions, learning environment, and academic concern. The TA section includes an overall rating for the teaching assistant (TA). At the end of each section, a “Comments/Suggestions” box is included, where the students are encouraged to write their comments. These surveys are administered typically at 1/3 (Week 5) and 2/3 (Week 10) of the semester.
Based on the findings of each survey, the instructor makes a brief presentation during class, where the most frequent comments/issues are discussed along with actions to address them. The third survey further serves as a measure of the efficiency of the adopted actions from the second survey. The fourth survey is administered by the university typically during Week 14 of the semester and serves as a final assessment provided by an independent entity. This assessment model has been applied by the authors in two universities for the undergraduate courses of Statics, Engineering Mechanics: Dynamics, Structural Concrete Design and Computer Applications in Engineering and Construction, and the graduate courses of Advanced Mechanics of Materials, Structural Dynamics and Engineering Risk Analysis. The findings of this study show that timely actionable feedback is essential in improving student learning and satisfaction within the semester, and helps increasing engagement and excitement for a course, because the students realize that their opinion matters and can shape the structure of a course to their benefit. Statistical analyses of the surveys are presented and the sample surveys are provided as an assessment tool to potentially be adopted by other educators in engineering courses.
Sideris, P., & Koliou, M. (2020, June), The Role of Timely Actionable Student Feedback in Improving Instruction and Student Learning in Engineering Courses Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--35368
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