By Stephanie Horsley: Elearning and Curriculum Associate, Teaching Support Centre
The campus-wide Student Questionnaire on Courses and Teaching (SQCT) has been part of the teaching and learning fabric at Western for over 20 years. Since 1995, SQCT Scantron sheets distributed during the last three weeks of courses have been used to collect student feedback on course and instructional experiences. SQCT feedback supports teaching and learning at Western in a variety of ways, such as providing instructors with positive and constructive feedback on their teaching and courses, informing program decisions, and contributing to the teaching dossier used in regular faculty review.
Beginning this fall, Western is moving the SQCT to an online system called Your Feedback.
The move online follows recommendations of the 2015 Joint Student Questionnaire on Courses and Teaching Working Group and has several key advantages:
During the Summer 2016 term, Your Feedback was piloted in 36 courses by 32 instructors, resulting in approximately 1100 completed SQCTs. Responses to the new online system were very positive: Instructors appreciated the speed and ease with which they received their feedback and the richness of students’ comments. Students indicated that they appreciated how easy the system was to use, that they could fill out the questionnaire at a time most convenient to them during the course feedback period, and that Your Feedback gave them additional time to reflect on SQCT questions and leave more thoughtful comments.
Your Feedback is powered by Blue software, developed by Montreal-based company eXplorance. Blue was selected due to eXplorance’s proven international track record implementing SQCTs as well as their partnerships with institutions such as the University of Toronto, the University of Melbourne, the National Bank of Canada, and NASA.
The Your Feedback system provides undergraduate students in typical half or full year courses with a three-week window to complete the questionnaire before the course final exam period begins, which they can do on any internet-enabled device. The course feedback period will vary for courses that fall outside the regular semester structure.
Students will receive an email link to the Your Feedback system when the course feedback period opens. Your Feedback can also be accessed from OWL or Student Center. Students with incomplete SQCTs will be emailed completion reminders throughout the feedback period. Students can complete and submit their SQCT in a single session or save their progress and complete it at a later time. While the overall, real-time response rate of a class can be tracked, instructors and faculty administrators cannot identity which individuals have or have not completed a SQCT, nor can they connect a response back to a specific student.
Instructors will continue to provide 15- 20 minutes at the beginning of a single class within the Your Feedback period for students to complete the SQCT using an internet-enabled device. This year, departments can request a proctor from the Office of the Registrar to visit on or near the last class to facilitate this time. As with the paper-based SQCTs, instructors, Chairs, and Deans will not receive SQCT reports until after final grades are submitted, although Your Feedback will allow reports to be distributed more quickly than in the past.
This year, Western is focusing on moving the SQCT online. The content of the SQCT will remain unchanged from the previous Scantron version. A revised SQCT is in development for 2017-2018.
Moving the SQCT online presents Western with opportunities to raise awareness of the importance and purpose of the SQCTs as well as clarify policy and processes related to SQCT administration. In addition to providing information on how to use the Your Feedback system, the yourfeedback.uwo.ca website provides implementation and data interpretation information and resources for students, student leaders, instructors, and administrators. It also outlines the history of SQCTs and related policies at Western. A multi-faceted and wide-spread awareness campaign about the move online and importance of SQCTs will begin as the first Your Feedback period approaches.
SQCTs have a long history at Western. The move online improves the administration process while supporting a renewed discussion about the ways in which SQCTs facilitate the incorporation of student perspectives into the Western teaching and learning community. Watch for more information about Your Feedback in the coming months!