By Chris Fulton, Centre for Teaching and Learning Enhancement
At a faculty lunchtime event on 2 February, faculty members shared their experiences using various student response and survey systems that are used to collect student feedback and conduct different types of quizzes.
This faculty lunchtime event began with a discussion of the mid-term student feedback survey that is typically conducted by faculty members in the middle of the semester. One talking point was that the kinds of questions that are in the questionnaire template provided are of a very general nature and may not be useful for instructors looking for explicit feedback on their course content or teaching approaches. Faculty members at the event suggested that instructors revise and add questions that are relevant to their courses or teaching approaches to the standard questionnaire.
A professor also offered a practical suggestion on how to make use of students’ feedback. A professor described the benefits of conducting a student feedback survey in the first 30 days of course. By collecting students’ feedback earlier, one can obtain a better understanding of his or her students’ expectations or preferences earlier in the semester. And then, a professor can tweak their course or teaching approach to align closer to students’ preferences.
Faculty members also noted that an advantage of using electronic systems for conducting surveys is that surveys can be easily distributed, however, it would save a lot of time if several basic templates were made available for faculty members to easily import into in the various systems, e.g. Qualtrics, UMMoodle and Poll Everywhere.
In addition to small group discussions, this lunchtime conversation featured three presentations by Prof. Kar Wei Ng (IAPME), Prof. Sophia Deng (FSS), and Prof. Yisu Zhou (FED). These three professors shared their experience and described examples of how online surveys and quizzes can be used in university classrooms. Each professor discussed advantages and issues of the three main student response systems supported by the University of Macau.
Prof. Billy Ng found that UMMoodle, particularly a “choice activity”, was useful for tracking students’ performance and attendance. Since UMMoodle requires students to log in to answer questions, the results of students’ quizzes or choices are saved to UMMoodle and can be viewed immediately or reviewed after class. Prof. Ng also found that the student response system Poll Everywhere was useful for engaging students in large classes particularly because it allowed for anonymous responses. For instance, no-stakes review quizzes at the start of the class that were anonymous were perceived by students as being fun. Prof. Ng would also use Poll Everywhere to ask students how they felt about a mid-term exam and use that feedback to adjust the next exam.
Prof. Sophia Deng described how her teaching approach involved group discussions as a way of engaging all students in classroom learning activities. She then described how she used clickable images in Poll Everywhere to help introduce new topics and facilitate small group discussions.
Prof. Yisu Zhou shared his experience using Qualtrics for mid-term student feedback surveys, quizzes, short-answer questions, and attendance. Qualtrics proved useful in tracking students’ progress when the responses of individual students could be systematically collected. By creating a class list in Qualtrics it became possible to keep track of the progress of individual students.
During the exchange of teaching practices, the presenters noticed that the typical participation rate was higher for quiz questions that students could answer on their phones or computers by scanning a QR code or typing a URL than for quiz questions that only required typing in a URL, e.g. pollev.com/user-id.