Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Google Plus and Student Feeback

Following in the footsteps of my colleague Alan Cann, we’ve been piloting the use of Google Plus to support our first year undergraduate module (History of English) at the University of Leicester.

One of the ways we have used the stream is to encourage student feedback on the module on a week-by-week basis.  Traditionally, module feedback is taken once the teaching has finished and used to feed forward into the redesign of the module for the coming year.  We have not found a satisfactory way of allowing students to see what we do with their feedback, and only a small sample of students (10% of the cohort) usually completes the surveys.  But we know that feedback is vital, should be formative, rapid and dialogic.

Last week we posted our first ‘#Fridayreflection’ question, asking students to reflect on the role of Powerpoint presentations in lectures as part of their learning.  Only nine students (of the 160 signed up to the circle) posted to the stream on this topic, but still, the feedback was very useful. It has mean that we could modify the presentations right away (we are only in week 3 of the course) and, more importantly, we could talk with the students immediately about their comments.

I’m hoping that more students will join in, and I want to find a way of encouraging higher levels of engagement.  We are not assessing their contributions, so the feedback is voluntary.  If you’ve got suggestions, please let me know!