In the loop: getting the most out of feedback

uos_cmykAs part of SPEAQ, the 9 partners in European HEIs are developing initiatives to improve quality practice and culture within HE institutions. The initiative that we have chosen at the University of Southampton addresses feedback issues, which were raised in the first phase of the project by students, academic staff and quality staff. We have been developing online resources, which we will present to University of Southampton staff and students in the autumn through an interactive workshop.

We have chosen to approach issues of feedback in practical, clear and meaningful ways, and to achieve this, we will:

• Examine current methods for giving and receiving student feedback at the university (illustrated by case studies of what is already being done successfully by some teachers, quality managers and students);

• Provide activities which encourage reflection on how staff and students can improve the ways in which feedback is delivered, received, and reported;

• Provide clear explanations of quality assurance processes and mechanisms at the University and how these relate to the feedback given and received by student.

We have recently interviewed two dedicated members of staff: Bella Millet, Professor of Medieval Literature, who recently received an award for ‘student feedback’ at the Student Excellence Awards, and Simon Kemp, Principal Teaching Fellow, whose work was recognised through the award of a National Teaching Fellowship in 2010. Simon is also currently the national Academic Lead in Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) at the Higher Education Academy. Bella and Simon both highlighted the need for teachers to know their students in order to give meaningful feedback. Both also emphasised the value in giving verbal feedback to students which gives teachers a chance to explain their comments better and ensure that they are understood by students in the way they were intended. The full interviews will be available online soon.