Course Feedback Survey

Course feedback survey: Getting involved

Thank you for providing feedback. Course Feedback Surveys provide your lecturers with information they can use to improve the delivery and design of their courses. All lecturers use the same standard set of questions across the University, delivered online through Vision, so that all students, at all locations have the same opportunity to provide feedback. Some departments have included additional questions on specific points of interest to them, such as tutorials or group work. Results are shared directly with the course teaching team, discussed and actions identified. This year, across the University, lecturers will provide responses to your comments on the Vision course page.

Lecturer testimonials

We asked lecturers how they use course feedback survey reports. Here are some of their responses:

"Every year, I look forward – if a bit nervously – to the results of the Course Feedback survey. The student responses let me know if I am achieving what I hope to achieve: clearly organised and delivered; fairly assessed; appropriate feedback……well, you name it. It has been a few years since I had any particular criticism, but what I did receive was fair. I changed my course for the next delivery. The major disappointment is the large minority of students who chose not to complete the Feedback survey (I only hear from 50-60% of my students). It would be a real advantage to hear all the opinions and views….."

Alex Bell, Associate Director of Studies for Engineering, School of Engineering and Physical Sciences, Heriot-Watt, Edinburgh

“The course feedback survey is one of the main methods by which we collect feedback from our students and we pay a great deal of attention to the comments students make. Students tend to be more open in the survey than they are face to face! One of the comments we received last year was that students did not fully understand how they could apply the theoretical material they were covering in their translation studies course to their practical translation tasks. As a result, the course team have tried to incorporate more concrete examples in the translation studies lectures to demonstrate theoretical issues as they are evidenced in real texts. We hope this will help students to understand better how theory can shed light on translation difficulties and also help identify suitable strategies to deal with them.”

Yvonne McLaren, Senior Lecturer in French and Deputy Head, Department of Languages and Intercultural Studies, School of Social Sciences, Heriot-Watt, Edinburgh

"Feedback from our students is an effective way for us to evaluate the relevance and rigour of what we deliver throughout our teaching semesters, from the pace of our delivery to the level of industry engagement we provide students, it is a vital source of information that helps make us better at what we do. It is not only an opportunity to tell us what you want us to do better though but also praise us for the things we are already doing well. Therefore we need to hear from all students. Constructive course feedback makes a huge difference and it has helped me as an academic bring in many new and diverse teaching tools. We offer current students a diverse range of professional engagement activities from career advice to practical case study workshops - these are activities driven from past course feedback surveys"

Michael Waters, Director of Studies (Real Estate)/Assistant Professor, The Urban Institute, Heriot-Watt, Dubai

"Student course evaluations are extremely useful and important to me as a course coordinator for a couple of reasons. First, the feedback tells me what students think and how I might improve the course. Second, course evaluations allow me to make course improvements for future students, such as making the material more relevant.

Several students expressed the desire for my lectures to be more interactive. This is a real problem in large classes, so to facilitate more interaction, I have started to use Socrative. This is an online smart student response system that enables the course leader to engage students with exercises and quizzes through their laptops and tablets. It enables formative feedback in real time. This software is open source and free of charge. To this point, I have received very positive feedback about its use during lectures."

John Sanders, Director of Academic Quality and Associate Professor, School of Social Sciences, Heriot-Watt, Edinburgh

The Course Feedback Survey (CFS) has always been an extremely useful tool that helps us to learn and grow to be a better educator. Constructive criticism provided by students is a valuable insight that enables lecturers to identify and rectify weaknesses that otherwise go unnoticed. While constructive feedback helps us improve, positive feedback provides encouragement that enables us to aim higher.

Feedback I have received in the past was that students had difficulty reflecting on lecture material, which meant they had difficulty targeting areas to practice for assessments. This feedback has led me to introduce a checklist to support reflection and preparation for assessments. This initiative was very well received and appreciated. The positive feedback and appreciation given through CFS led to adoption of the initiatives by other lecturers and the wider implementation now benefits a greater number of students in the programme.

Mohanaraj Balakrishnan, Assistant Professor, Malaysia Foundation Programmes, Heriot-Watt, Malaysia

"Student feedback is extremely useful to me in order to gain insight into the quality of both my teaching methods and materials. In the past, positive feedback on the interactive nature of my classes has led to me incorporating more groupwork, while constructive feedback on the contents of some lecture notes led me to rewrite a particular chapter. Without student feedback, it's much harder for your lecturers to improve the quality of our teaching for you, so please do take time to contribute to the Vision feedback survey - every comment counts!"

Gavin Reid, Associate Professor Actuarial Maths and Statistics, School of Mathematical and Computer Sciences, Heriot-Watt, Edinburgh

"Student feedback can be very instructive as it lets you know what the students thought about aspects of your course in a way that the other feedback channels don't manage. In particular the comments help provoke reflection and change for the next year. Like many of my colleagues, I only wish more students would complete the questionnaire (ideally everyone!) to help give a balanced picture of my course on both the good and not so well received points. As well as being a stimulus for change, the feedback also identifies things that the students receive well and help me decide what to keep doing or to do more of."

Graeme Bowles, Associate professor in Construction Project Management/Quantity Surveying, School of Energy, Geosciences, Infrastructure and Society, Heriot-Watt, Edinburgh