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Reviewing Course Evaluation Data: Perception vs reality Peter D Munn and Sheila D Scutter

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Reviewing Course Evaluation Data: Perception vs reality Peter D Munn and Sheila D Scutter. Introduction. Graduate Course Evaluation Questionnaire (GCEQ) provided to all graduates Australia wide Comprises 25 Likert scale statements and two free response items

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  • Graduate Course Evaluation Questionnaire (GCEQ) provided to all graduates Australia wide
    • Comprises 25 Likert scale statements and two free response items
    • Six key areas of graduates’ experience
      • Clear goals and standards
      • Appropriate workload
      • Appropriate assessment
      • Good teaching
      • Generic skills
      • Overall satisfaction
  • University of South Australia uses good teaching, generic skills and overall satisfaction as key performance indicators of perceived teaching quality
  • Areas of concern with Nursing program GCEQ scores.
    • Assumed to be due to course content
    • A comprehensive review process to understand specific areas of concern in nursing.
nursing program
Nursing program
  • Three year undergraduate program
  • Offered in 2 city and 1 regional campus
  • Offered in internal and external mode
  • Approximately 1000 students
  • Many part time students
  • Access via Year 12, STAT, bridging programs
  • Special entry test for ATSI students
  • Very high participation of equity groups.
  • Graduate Course Evaluation Questionnaire(GCEQ)
    • GCEQ data for the nursing programs across the city and regional campuses were analysed by external and internal mode of study
    • Thematic analysis on comments on the ‘best aspects’ and ‘areas most in need of improvement’ responses analysed by mode of study
    • Individual item scores reviewed
Student experience questionnaire (SEQ)
    • Distributed online to all currently enrolled students
    • Feedback on aspects of academic life, resources and services
    • Sixteen Likert scale items and two open response items concerning course and program quality
    • Responses compared by mode of study
    • Thematic analysis of comments by mode of study
Course Evaluation Instrument
    • Each course in the University is evaluated every time it is offered
    • Course Evaluation Questionaire (CEI), online instrument developed by the University
    • CEI contains 10 core Likert-scale questions concerning course quality
    • Additional items may be added, this analysis concentrated on the 10 core items
Focus Groups with Students

Three focus groups were conducted:

    • Two with interstate, rural and metropolitan South Australian students
    • One with indigenous students and their learning support coordinator
  • Focus Groups with Staff
    • Eight staff representing both campuses

GCEQ Scores, Good Teaching


GCEQ data

  • Concerns over good teaching, overall satisfaction and generic skills;
  • Low response rates may be a source of bias

Student Evaluation Questionnaire

  • Responses to most statements were positive with a mean score over 4 (maximum 5);
  • Lower scores received for items relating to:
    • Support provided by teaching staff;
    • Timeframe for return of assignments;
    • Knowing what is expected in assignments;
    • Consistency in marking.

CEI data

  • Limited response by students made interpretation of data difficult;
  • Feedback on courses ranged from very good to very poor;
  • Main areas of concern:
    • I felt there was a genuine interest in my learning needs and progress;
    • The workload for this course was reasonable given my other study commitments;
    • I have received feedback that is constructive and helpful.
Focus Groups: GCEQ/SEQ analysis
  • Course Materials and Content
    • Little comment
    • Valued flexibility
    • Often arrived late
    • External students felt “second best
    • Revised courses in 2004 to update content
Communication between students and academic staff
    • A major concern of external students
    • Interpreted as lack of interest by academics
    • External students felt disadvantaged compared to internal students.
    • Staff concerns about students accessing email
    • Geographical support groups disestablished
Learning Support Service Availability
    • Requirements for assignment writing
    • Particular concern for indigenous students
    • Available online but prefer alternative delivery
    • Need for support/study groups
    • Difficulty accessing learning advisers.
  • Teaching and Learning Issues
    • Time not spent productively in workshops
    • Clinical experiences very positive
    • Staff/student ratio low
    • Lack of training for staff in external delivery
    • Student preparation for the online environment
    • High percentage for exams in science based courses
Assignments and Assessment
    • Consistency of requirements within courses
    • Turnaround times major concern
    • Clarity of expectations.
    • Large number of students affecting turnaround
  • GCEQ scores indicated concerns about overall satisfaction, good teaching and generic skills
    • The instrument
    • Response rates
    • Timing
    • Interpreting the data
  • Students are not given the opportunity to provide many areas of this feedback in GCEQ.
  • Where is was possible to provide comment in the GCEQ, it was not reflected in item scores.

Key concerns of students identified from thematic analysis and focus groups:

  • Timely, consistent and useful feedback;
  • Communication with academic staff;
  • Learning support;
  • Practical workshops/professional placements
  • Lack of preparation for study

Agreed practice model to be implemented

  • Provide up to date study guide
  • Early arrival of course materials
  • Fortnightly email communication
  • Respond to emails and calls in 24 hours
  • Contribute to discussion board weekly
  • Harvard reference material
  • Geographical location maps
  • Information packages for Maths and English support
agreed practice model
Agreed Practice model…

Key points sheet for assignments and marking

  • Moderation of assignment marking
  • Staff development for external mode
  • Two week turnaournd for first assignment
  • Feedback before next assignment due
  • Promote course evaluation
  • Respond to student feedback
Initiatives around GCEQ response rates and distribution.
  • Extension of preparatory courses (Sciences)
  • Review nursing workshops
  • Review assessment
  • GCEQ scores alone do not provide direction for program improvement.
  • Thorough analysis of course and program feedback is necessary to understand problems and to develop appropriate changes to programs.