How do students feel about their teachers and feedback?

How do students feel about their teachers and feedback?

How do students feel about their teachers and feedback? With Ella Longstaff

03

FEB, 2020

Students as Partners
Teaching & Learning

Feedback
Wellbeing

I’m Ella, a third-year communications student currently working as a Communications Support Officer and Student Partner in Deakin Learning Futures.

In a survey of students on campus, several undergraduates shared their experiences with teaching staff. Among some challenging experiences with tutors, students generally felt that most of their teachers genuinely cared about their progression and wellbeing. One stated the “majority of teachers…really care”, especially when they get to know students “on a personal level”. These students not only appreciated this personal approach, but also expressed a desire to connect with their teachers as they felt supported and valued, and this pushed them to do better.

The complexity of teacher-student relationships brings into question how students also respond to feedback. It’s important for students to obtain good feedback so they can improve and to adapt their work. This is the foundation of their learning and is a key reason to why students even come to university.

Many students had received relevant feedback and felt that their teachers really cared about their learning and wellbeing. On the other hand, some students indicated they received little to no feedback, and that teachers weren’t interested in their progression at university. Despite being able to communicate with teachers about classwork, these students still felt they were not receiving enough guidance and support. This type of detailed feedback was important and useful for them to enhance their skills for future assessments — as you can determine what you did well and what you can improve with more clarity.

Another common perspective was that If you invest in the subject and do the work, the majority of teachers will invest back in you and give you support and guidance. Again, some students disagreed, suggesting that multiple tutors hadn’t given enough feedback and that “it should be a requirement for tutors to give proper feedback to each assessment and to each student.” I personally understand this feeling — there’s no point in doing an assignment without receiving feedback, as the same mistakes are likely to be repeated.

The way students received feedback also was often questioned as the written word also lead to misinterpretations. One student studying Health Science mentioned that it can be frustrating if feedback is made “too general” and if tutors “don’t give constructive feedback”. Lecturers have often been under scrutiny for only giving negative feedback and not focussing on the elements of a task where students have performed well.

Beyond any of the noted issues that the student body faces in engaging with teachers and receiving feedback, one student summarised the general feeling of teaching at Deakin: “the majority of teachers are doing a good job and I’m very appreciative of that”.

It’s important to consider these varying student perspectives for our staff to strive to understand the student body better. And, having teachers who show a genuine interest in their student’s studies and wellbeing can go a long way in creating a positive impact on their social and learning experience at Deakin.

*To find out more about how you could partner with students in projects please contact learningfutures@deakin.edu.au

Resources

Bovill, C. (2019). Student–staff partnerships in learning and teaching: an overview of current practice and discourse. Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 1-14. doi: 10.1080/03098265.2019.1660628

Deakin University. (2019). Deakin Students as Partners: A guide to enhancing the student voice across Deakin. Retrieved from here

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“My opinion matters” – Students as Partners in Curriculum Design

“My opinion matters” – Students as Partners in Curriculum Design

“My opinion matters” – Students as Partners in Curriculum Design

02

DEC, 2019
Students as Partners
Teaching & Learning

Digital Innovation
Collaboration

Ever wonder what your unit would look like if students designed it?

That’s a pretty radical idea – staff expertise and guidance is essential to the learning experience. But it is possible to partner with students to co-create and co-design your curriculum – what might that look like?

In the CloudFirst CoDesign Project, we worked in partnership with Prakash Jha, a Master of Business Analytics student, to identify opportunities for student involvement in curriculum design. Using Deakin’s new Students as Partners framework we co-created the Student Participation Matrix to show how students can be involved as sounding-boards, influencers, decision-makers and co-creators.

Involving students can help you identify challenging areas, find new ways of presenting information or help develop a shared understanding of unit standards (which also develops students’ evaluative judgement!). For example, if students find it tricky to understand assessment requirements, you could partner with past students to redesign the assessment rubric, or create supporting resources – like this video by Law students Ruby Cordner and Brody Wons with Course Director, Sharon Erbacher.

If your students are from different disciplines, ask them to help you choose case studies relevant to their interests and career goals. Or start at the beginning, and bring a group of students together to find out what they thought worked really well, what was challenging and what could be done differently next time. 

Staff-student partnerships have benefits for both staff and students, including enhanced engagement, improved classroom experiences and assessment performance, a sense of belonging and trust, and enhanced relationships and wellbeing (Bovill, 2019). As Prakash explained:

“This collaborative approach helps both staff and students. While the academic team gets students’ perspective and feedback from their recent experiences, students too get some benefits such as feeling more invested in their education, taking responsibility for their learning and getting experience in co-creating the learning materials with staff.”

Prakash Jha – CloudFirst student partner

To find out more about how you could partner with students in curriculum design, contact us (d.taylor@deakin.edu.au or joanne.elliott@deakin.edu.au). As for the ‘why’, we’ll let Prakash have the last word!

“I have been learning through Cloud Deakin and classroom lectures, but this internship gave me opportunity to understand the effort and the process behind the unit design. Every day, I felt that as a student my opinion matters, and I felt important. In fact, I felt that I can bring a difference, a positive change by sharing my experience about my learning journey. And this is the best experience for me so far.”

Prakash Jha, CloudFirst student partner

*To support more staff to engage with student partners, Deakin has launched a SaP Community of Practice – contact Jo Cook to get involved. And keep an eye out for next year’s National Students as Partners Roundtable (28th August), hosted by Deakin, to share your experiences and learn from others.

Resources

Bovill, C. (2019). Student–staff partnerships in learning and teaching: an overview of current practice and discourse. Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 1-14. doi: 10.1080/03098265.2019.1660628

Deakin University. (2019). Deakin Students as Partners: A guide to enhancing the student voice across Deakin. Retrieved from here

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A Students Perspective of Microsoft Teams with Joan Sutherland & Rahul Masakorala

A Students Perspective of Microsoft Teams with Joan Sutherland & Rahul Masakorala

A Student’s Perspective of Microsoft Teams with Joan Sutherland & Rahul Masakorala

04

NOV, 2019

Teaching & Learning
Good Practice
Digital Innovation
DLE3

Above: Joan Sutherland & Rahul Masakorala

Joan Sutherland, Senior Education Developer sits down with Deakin student Rahul Masakorala, to explore his perspective of Microsoft Teams – the good, the bad, and otherwise. 

Collaboration is a hot topic in digital learning, particularly how it can be effectively applied as a learning strategy and to engage students, many of whom arrive with advanced digital experience and expectations. At Deakin University, we aim to augment these experiences with platforms that are used in the relevant industries, so as to ensure our graduates are ready for their world of work.

 The School of IT have done exactly that by reviewing their collaboration projects, consulting with industry and implementing Microsoft Teams to facilitate this collaboration. Microsoft Teams is a ‘collaboration hub’ that operates in 44 languages and is currently used in over 500,000 organisations – including 91% of Fortune 100 companies. So, when the School of IT were sourcing a solution for their collaboration projects that mimicked the world of work, they implemented Microsoft Teams. 

Useful Resources

For more on potential tools in the DLE 3 Collaboration stream and microsoft teams please visit the Collaboration page (staff access).

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Student Voice Series – Learning at Deakin University with Ella Longstaff

Student Voice Series – Learning at Deakin University with Ella Longstaff

Student Voice Series – Learning at Deakin University with Ella Longstaff

03
OCT, 2019

Teaching & Learning
Student Voice
Students As Partners

I’m Ella, a third-year communications student currently working as a Communications Support Officer and Student Partner in Deakin Learning Futures.

How do students feel about their learning experience at Deakin University? I went out and interviewed students on campus to hear about their experiences whilst studying here and how they feel about their learning at Deakin. Most students agreed their basic educational needs are covered – i.e. appropriate facilities, teaching staff and resources. Ultimately it is still difficult to accommodate all types of learners. Despite being able to study in person and online, there are various benefits and shortcomings.

Some students think that classroom teaching is often repetitive and occasionally failed to motivate students to do well. One student from the Faculty of Business and Law described some teachers as being “too formal and repetitive”, which made the class “boring”. Creative ways of delivering content would go a long way to improve this.

“If a tutor does different activities to engage you, as opposed to just reading off a PowerPoint”.

Some students also indicated they preferred Work Integrated Learning or “hands on learning” which “is more attractive compared to other assignments”.

Above: Students Conversing on the Way to Class

In my own experience, the units I did best in had outgoing teachers that were fun and got us involved in group discussions and peer-assessment, rather than reciting unit content. I also feel it’s important to break down the teacher-student barrier and that teachers should show that they care for both our wellbeing and learning. One student mentioned:  

“I don’t know if…teachers care…Maybe they do and they just don’t show it”.

Classes on campus offer opportunities to ask questions in a group and one-on-one. Having group discussions in a classroom environment made students “psychologically more inclined to remember things”. However, some students found it difficult to attend classes due to the times allocated. This drives the transition to units or classes available on CloudDeakin, as it is flexible and can be accessed at any time. One student discussed the benefits of online learning as “a great way to catch up on lectures” if they can’t make it to a class. There are however, shortcomings of digital learning, as platforms like CloudDeakin offer a different type of engagement. Some students think these online spaces are too formal, aren’t as motivating and limited. I find this leads to lower participation in forums and online sessions. Personally, I feel it harder to engage online as I enjoy active energy of classroom learning.

Although CloudDeakin is a great resource for students and teachers, classroom learning offers a unique experience for learners. Having the opportunity to go to class and interact, structures learning around a different type of engagement. Despite the pros and cons of each experience, I believe that to enhance learning in a classroom and online, teachers need to find a more creative approach to engage different learners.

Some Useful Resources

For more on Students as Partners please visit DSL’s Students as Partners Sharepoint site here

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Student Voice Series #02 with Rahul Masakorala

Student Voice Series #02 with Rahul Masakorala

Student Voice Series #02 with Rahul Masakorala
02
SEP, 2019
Teaching & Learning
Students as Partners
Good Practice

Digital Innovation
Rahul Masakorala, a student partner and intern from SEBE, works in Deakin Learning Futures, actively contributing to the Digital Learning Environments projects 3 (Collaboration and Portfolio). His is one of many student voices at the university shaping how projects are developed and strategies implemented.
In 2019, the DLE3 Digital Tools project – as part of the larger DLE-program – significantly contributes to the Deakin LIVE Agenda’s promise to “Provide a brilliant education where students are and where they want to go using elegant and engaging digital tools”.

Deakin’s Digital Learning Environments are diverse and complex. To grow our position as a world leader in premium digital – or CloudFirst – learning, the DLE 3 project aims to deliver the continuous improvement of, and cohesion between, these environments for the 21st century learning.

The DLE3 Project is defined by three project streams: collaboration, self and peer assessment and ePortfolio. Each project stream is built around a pedagogical framework or set of principles that supports the development of skills and capabilities to prepare our graduates for the future world of work and lifelong learning.

Recently the DLE3 Project has welcomed a student partner as part of a DLF internship program to help investigate, analyse, trial and evaluate educational technologies across project streams. Rahul, as a new addition to our team, reflects on his time with us at DLF:

“I am currently in my second year of my game development degree and joined the DLE3 team just a few weeks ago. The student as partners framework has allowed me to provide a student perspective when investigating digital tools in teaching and learning. While the teaching practices play a crucial role in selection of these tools, it is equally important that the tools are user friendly and the student feels they have a reason to use it, aside from being required to. My role working within DLE3 so far has let me bring up issues through trying out these tools for the first time and this feedback has informed the evaluation of digital tools. In addition, as Microsoft Teams and some of the other technologies being tested are present in the units I am undertaking, I can provide not only the ideas and problems faced by myself, but by other students in a way that cannot be represented with a survey.

As part of these evaluations, I have also had to look through the lens of the teachers perspective, which at times can be challenging, but I am beginning to understand some of the concerns and reasons for wanting specific features from a teaching point of view. The experience so far has been a learning one, being able to sit in on meetings with heads of faculty and be given equal opportunity to speak out and voice opinions on the tools being discussed feels less like a “peek behind the curtain” and more like an extension of what I do during my academic activities at university.”

Useful Resources

For more on DLE3 visit our Future State Architecture page here (staff access).

And for more on the Students as Partners initiative here is a publication by our own Deakin colleagues Milburn, L. & Jones, D. 2019

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