Jisc and LOOP: The future of student feedback and the role of digital technology

(published on behalf of Alev Zahir)

On Thursday 21st of January Jisc and LOOP collaborated on a unique event which explored: “The future of student feedback and the role of technology”. At the heart of the debate was how technology can support student feedback to improve quality in colleges and learning providers.

Opening Remarks Paul Bailey Jisc Rose Dowling LOOP Founder

The event was attended by FE practitioners, Ofsted, tech entrepreneurs, local council representatives and students, ensuring a variety of views and interesting conversations.

Consultation with LOOP partners in the FE sector suggest that the current methods for gathering student feedback and responding are not always successful.

Institutions have problems getting high response rates and many students and some staff do not take them seriously. Staff leading the survey and students taking part suffer from ‘survey fatigue’ and the results are often not an authentic picture of student experience.

The event addressed the key strategic challenges facing FE leaders in this area, shared examples of good practice and heard directly from students about what motivates them to give authentic and insightful feedback.

Denise Olander HMI gave a very useful presentation around gathering student views during inspection. Some of her key points were:

  • Learners’ and students’ views are a key source of evidence for inspectors (as are the views of managers, staff, governors, employers and others)
  • As the recipients of the education or training provided, students can give inspectors valuable insights into the quality of provision
  • Ofsted use a variety of means to gather student feedback both formal and informal, online and off-line

Guests were able to engage in an informal dialogue with Denise about how best to harness student feedback effectively to support inspections under the new framework.

A panel of experts including Paul Bailey (Jisc), Jayne Morgan (Lewisham and Southwark College) and Uly Lyons (King Edward VI – Nuneaton) gave us their views on the current strategies they use to gather student feedback, the merits of using them and their hopes for the future in this area.

LOOP student board members Abi, Shanice, Nadeem and Ethan spoke passionately and confidently about why effective student feedback is so important to them and gave examples from their own institutions of how the feedback has been used for improvement and recognizing good practice.

“We learnt that there was a consensus that student feedback was very important to all sorts of institutions and organisations. Whether it be principals, Ofsted or the institutions themselves. Student feedback shapes the way an institution presents itself, it can better things for everyone and it’s certainly vital to encourage institutions to gain feedback so that they can realise the potential behind services like LOOP and shape their school, college or university so that it best suits the needs of everyone.” Ethan Gates – Havering Sixth Form College

Expert Panel

Showcases and examples form within the sector of how technology can be used to improve services included:

LOOP – the student-driven review and ratings website for schools and colleges (www.loop.uk.com)

WAMBIZ – private social networks for education (www.wambiz.com)

Unitu – the student voice platform (www.unitu.co.uk)

City Lit –  the usage of web postings on progress and online course review systems (www.citylit.ac.uk)

Ofsted Learner Voice – the way for students to give their voice during inspections (www.learnerview.ofsted.gov.uk)

For the final part of the event we asked guests to create their vision for the next 5 years in this area and their hopes are:

  • To gather greater qualitative and quantitative student feedback data and that more value is given to qualitative feedback
  • To ensure there’s a measurable impact
  • That feedback is more transparent to increase trust
  • To use creative ways to share impact
  • That there is increased understanding that students are customers
  • LOOP becomes widespread
  • That the benefits of high quality feedback are recognised
  • Student feedback is continuous not just entry and exit

LOOP – the student driven review and ratings website is just one answer in this area.

By partnering with institutions and using a training methodology we give students the skills they need to give insightful and useful reviews. Students become part of the solution by not only focusing on what works well and what needs to be improved but by developing the solutions themselves.

LOOP student reviews can be found at: www.loop.uk.com

For more information about LOOP please contact: alev@loop.uk.com

Anish Bagga - Unitu


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