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Course feedback gives students a voice in the development of courses and programmes

At the School of Business, the student gets 1-2 course points for giving feedback.
Kaksi opiskelijaa juttelee keskenään. Kuva: Unto Rautio / Aalto-yliopisto
Photo: Unto Rautio / Aalto University

The School of Business has sought to raise the amount of feedback for courses in different ways. Teachers tell students about the feedback they have received and about development measures taken on its basis, and they also respond to the feedback from students with feedback of their own. Teachers are likewise encouraged to share feedback they received from the previous course at the start of the next corresponding course.

Feedback given by teachers in response to feedback they received and the development measures that are taken emphasise the significance and importance of course feedback: they help the students see that they are listened to and that the feedback is utilised in the development of courses and the entire programme. Getting points from giving feedback highlights the significance of feedback as part of the mission of a course.

Now that course feedback is getting more recognition than before, teachers have also been given instructions on the processing the feedback. A file template for teachers has been produced in Learning Services for this purpose, and teachers have been urged to share a summary of feedback with students in the MyCourses system, for example.

All courses need continuous development

It is useful for students to see how other course members have responded in the feedback questionnaire.

‘Sometimes content that one student may have seen as irrelevant might be considered by most of the other students to be the best that the course had to offer. It is also important for students to get to know what action a teacher will take based on received feedback, and to hear why something cannot be changed if change is not possible. All courses need to be developed constantly, and the development is most likely to succeed in cooperation with students’, says Perttu Kähäri, Head of Development.

Today teachers at the School of Business give students 1–2 points for responding to the feedback questionnaire. This has been done before in some subjects, but now this practice is being used more extensively.  As earning course points needs to be clear and transparent for students, it is good to remind them about the credits that are available when the feedback questionnaire opens.

‘One of the general goals of degrees is that graduating students should have good interactive skills and readiness for constant improvement and development of their own fields. The ability to give constructive feedback and to understand the significance of feedback received is a theme that cuts through higher education. This offers good reasons for including course feedback that adds to points among the course assignments’, says Tomas Falk, Associate Dean for Teaching and Learning.

Further information:
Tomas Falk, Associate Dean for Teaching and Learning
[email protected]

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