The mid semester review bridge the gap
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The Mid-Semester Review – Bridge the Gap. Barbara Vohmann, D ean Bowyer, Debbie Philipson, Pauline Start, Mark Tree, Dr. Julian Priddle. Introduction.

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The Mid-Semester Review – Bridge the Gap

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The Mid-Semester Review – Bridge the Gap

Barbara Vohmann, Dean Bowyer, Debbie Philipson, Pauline Start,

Mark Tree, Dr. Julian Priddle.


  • This study considered the efficacy of the Mid-Semester Review (MSR) that is used in the Department of Engineering and the Built Environment (EBE)

  • The MSR intends to identify good and bad features of a module in a timely way so that improvement may be made.

Feedback is collected from students in a number of ways: -

  • Institutional: Module Evaluation Questionnaires (MEQ), National Student Survey, Student Experience Survey

  • 'Informal': collecting feedback through a variety of mechanisms

  • 'One-off' versus 'Always open'

  • Additional surveys, including a mid-semester implementation of the MEQ

  • Online feedback tools such as VLE discussion or ‘post-it walls’ such as Padlet

  • In-class response tools such as PollEverywhere

  • In-class discussion

  • Direct dialogue, in personal tutorials, and with course reps.

Most staff use a range of methods (4 or 5), and staff who believe in the values of mid-module feedback are likely to use more mechanisms

The institutional approach (MEQ) - pluses and minuses


  • Consistent approach

  • Data collection integrated with institutional processes


  • Questionnaire may not collect relevant data

  • Timing may not allow prompt response.

In an online survey of university staff, we found that staff already use some form of mid-module feedback: -

  • A surprisingly large proportion of respondents indicated that they already used a mid-module survey (39%) or would like to use one (36%)

  • Most felt mid-module surveys are positive. The main concern was that students may be over-surveyed

  • 21% of respondents agreed that the Module Evaluation Survey (MES) provides effective feedback on modules, and only 12% agreed that the MES is taken seriously by students.

As a staff member, what feedback do you want?

  • The EBE MSR originated with a 'how are you coping' survey. It was implemented across the department, bringing in some MEQ-like questions.

Relationship between mid-semester review and module evaluation survey

  • What does this mean? Students have already made up their minds? Or failure to act on their feedback?

  • We saw a need to revise the mid-semester review, to enhance the student experience rather than merely predict it.

  • We met as a team to discuss this, and also consulted with Department staff, then revised the Mid-Semester Review questions

  • We also re-named it the Student Progress Review

  • The focus now was towards the student thinking about their own engagement with a module and what support students needed, as well as what they thought of the subject matter.

Questions for discussion

What would you as a student like to be asked in module evaluation?

How do you think students should receive feedback from module evaluation?

The student view was

  • Teaching quality was perceived as the major topic, followed by communication with staff, module organization and resources

  • Students were not confident that the feedback that they provided through the mid-module survey is considered seriously

  • Students were not certain that their feedback through the mid-module survey is treated confidentially

  • Some of the comments that students wished to make related to individual staff, and the mid-module survey is neither an effective nor an appropriate way to do this

  • Students wished to have teaching staff present the main conclusions from their feedback on modules

  • Students needed to know what changes were made following their feedback.

Question for discussion

How can we as a university bridge the gap between staff and student perspectives?

Conclusions and feedback.

What works and what doesn't work? Good practice

  • If you are collecting mid-module feedback using survey tools, ensure that questions cover aspects that are relevant to students and that can be answered unequivocally

  • Whatever way you use to collect feedback from students, make sure that you have a strategy for responding and making any necessary change

  • Make your responses are public, even if the feedback or question comes from a single student (unless there are issues of confidentiality)

  • Don’t confuse students with several different survey tools, and if possible use similar approaches in the modules within a course.

  • Make sure that students understand the difference between what you are collecting as feedback and the institutional surveys such as MEQs and the SES

  • Encourage students to provide constructive feedback that can be used effectively, and emphasise that negative comments without contextual information are ineffective in creating positive change.

  • Students tend to view mid-semester feedback as a means of judging modules, so use such feedback as an opportunity to revise in light of students’ views prior to module evaluation at the end of a module

  • Provide a short PowerPoint to provide brief feedback to tell your students what you are changing to help meet their needs

  • Course group leaders are encouraged to liaise with their students and advise them as to changes being made following student feedback.

Thank you for listening and contributing.

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