This policy describes an institutional approach to systematically capture student experiences of learning and teaching at James Cook University. The University recognises an entitlement of both students and staff to a quality process for voicing and capturing the student learning experience, and the subsequent engagement with the student voice, as a significant contributor to enhancing the overall student experience.
This policy applies to all undergraduate and postgraduate coursework subjects taught at all campuses, delivery modes and study periods.
Definitions of terms used in this policy reflect those contained in the Policy Glossary.
This policy is philosophically driven by the following principles:
- The primary objective of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) is to provide an insight into the students’ experience for the purpose of enhancing the quality of subjects and teaching at James Cook University. This policy builds upon the foundation created by Core Principle 1 of the Learning, Teaching and Assessment policy which recognises our ‘students are at the heart’ of this University.
- Quality learning experiences are informed by the cyclical process of review, reflection, revision and improvement. The design, teaching and evolution of subjects should be responsive to feedback that results from informed data collection tools and representative student samples.
- One single mechanism for collecting feedback around learning and teaching may not sufficiently capture the student experience in a dynamic and flexible learning environment and other processes may be legitimately applied in conjunction with the formal process or in its place where appropriate.
- Participation by representative samples of students is fundamental to obtaining meaningful data about the students' experience and can be enhanced through efficient surveys processes, incentives and demonstrating engagement with, and application of, the feedback received from the students to enhance student learning in the future.
- Teaching staff, Subject Coordinators, Course Coordinators, College Deans and Deputy Vice Chancellors have a responsibility to engage with and promote feedback from students about their experiences of learning and teaching.
- Students have a responsibility to provide considered and constructive feedback about their learning experiences.
- Students should be informed of the aggregated percentage agreement with YourJCU Subject survey items for the subjects in which they participate and also the changes made in response to previous feedback.
- The feedback process should inform students of the purpose and eventual destination of the data collected.
Policy and Procedures
- The SELT process realises Core Principle 1 of the Learning, Teaching, and Assessment policy and will target key elements of the student learning experience.
- The primary purpose of SELT is for the enhancement of the quality of teaching and learning.
- A secondary objective is to provide a survey instrument (YourJCU) that allows performance forecasts and benchmarking against sector wide learning and teaching surveys and to provide evidence of performance claims in the performance management and promotions processes.
- The size, frequency and timing of YourJCU Subject and YourJCU Teaching Surveys will be manageable for staff and students.
- YourJCU Subject and YourJCU Teaching Surveys should collect feedback on the student learning experience in that study period and report separately on:
- Individual subjects in that study period, and
- Feedback about individual teachers where that feedback is specifically requested.
- YourJCU Subject and YourJCU Teaching Surveys will use the minimum number of questions and will provide students with the opportunity for open-ended responses.
- YourJCU Subject and YourJCU Teaching Surveys will be available for completion by students after 75% of the study period has elapsed and will remain open until 48 hours after the end of the study period. Where this is impractical (i.e. for some block mode subjects) the University unit responsible for the administration of YourJCU Subject and YourJCU Teaching Surveys may adjust the availability of the survey following a request from a Subject Coordinator.
- Feedback on the student learning experience will be collected for all modes, locations and study periods offered by the University.
- Any changes to the survey tool used may only be made on agreement with the University unit responsible for the administration of the YourJCU Subject and YourJCU Teaching Surveys.
- All subjects taught at the University will be evaluated each year. Discretion may be applied regarding the number of subject evaluations undertaken for a subject taught multiple times in the same mode in that year. That is, if a subject is taught in the same mode multiple times, the subject may be evaluated less than the total number of times offered, but at least once, in that year.
- All teaching staff will participate in a student evaluation of their teaching at least once each year.
- Representative student participation is fundamental to obtaining meaningful data about the students’ learning experience.
- Teaching staff, Subject Coordinators, Course Coordinators and College Deans are responsible for encouraging student participation in the feedback process.
- For the purpose of the YourJCU Subject and YourJCU Teaching Surveys, representative student participation is defined as student participation greater than 33% of subject enrolments in that study period. Where representative student participation is not achieved and the participation rate is below the university average:
- A plan for improvement of student participation should be documented by the Subject Coordinator and lodged with the College Dean, and
- The data collected should be interrogated in context of other sources of feedback and potential trends identified.
- The student feedback system assumes students and staff will demonstrate respect for each other and the process by which student feedback is gathered.
- Students have a responsibility to provide respectful, constructive feedback about their learning experiences. Students should not provide individual personal feedback on topics that do not affect their learning and teaching experiences. Malicious comments about staff are not deemed acceptable by the University.
- Teaching staff, Subject Coordinators, Course Coordinators and College Deans are required to engage with and reflect upon feedback from students.
- Open-ended responses are reported unedited according to the Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (YourJCU) Distribution List. On request, and at the discretion of the Dean, Learning Teaching and Student Engagement, open-ended YourJCU Subject and YourJCU Teaching Survey responses may be removed or redacted if they include threatening, intimidating, abusive or discriminatory content. Discrimination includes comments relating to sex/gender, marital status, sexual preference, gender identity, disability, ethnicity, nationality, age, religion and/or political persuasion. Student feedback which is negative but not malicious is not eligible for removal after publication.
- To protect students’ identity and enhance the reliability of findings, the institutional Likert-scale YourJCU Subject and YourJCU Teaching Survey reports will only include data for subject offerings that reach the minimum threshold of 5 or more responses.
- The aggregated percentage agreement with YourJCU Subject Survey items will be automatically reported to students who participated in that subject as soon as practicable after the survey closing date subject.
- Subject Coordinators are responsible for providing a commentary, informed by the Likert-scale results and open-ended responses, to students who participated in the subject. The commentary should summarise the major themes, at the discretion of the Subject Coordinator, and any proposed response(s).
- The Subject Coordinator will include in the subject outline, a summary of the changes made to the subject in response to feedback provided by the previous cohort.
- Individual students will not be identified in the YourJCU Subject and YourJCU Teaching Survey data distributed according to the Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (YourJCU) Distribution List.
- Teaching staff, Subject Coordinators, Course Coordinators, Associate Deans of Learning and Teaching and College Deans will engage with YourJCU Subject and YourJCU Teaching Surveys.
- These data will be distributed to relevant roles as defined in the Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (YourJCU) Distribution List. Open-ended YourJCU Teaching Survey responses will only be available to the relevant individual teaching staff member for the subjects they are teaching. Open-ended YourJCU Subject Survey responses related to individual subject offerings will be available as described in the Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (YourJCU) Distribution List.
- To protect students’ identity, YourJCU Subject and YourJCU Teaching Survey reports, including Likert-scale results and open-ended responses, will only be released where a minimum threshold of five (5) responses has been met.
- The design, teaching and evolution of subjects will be responsive to feedback from students and other sources.
- Subject Coordinators, Associate Deans of Learning and Teaching, Heads of Academic Group and College Deans will have access to both the Likert-scale results and open-ended YourJCU Subject Survey responses from students. The Subject Coordinators will be responsible for reporting on the major themes and intended responses to the Course Coordinator, Heads of Academic Group and/or College Dean. Course Coordinators will have access to the Likert-scale YourJCU Subject Survey results for all subjects in the relevant course or Division as a component of existing COGNOS reports.
- Subject Coordinators will be provided with the YourJCU Subject Survey Likert-scale results as soon as practicable following the survey closure. YourJCU Subject Survey reports for individual subject offerings will be provided to all staff involved in the subject (coordination or teaching) two days after student subject results are published for the relevant study period via LearnJCU. These data will be distributed in accordance with the Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (YourJCU) Distribution List.
- Subject Coordinators will ensure feedback from students and other evaluation sources is considered in subsequent subject designs.
- The YourJCU Subject Survey Likert-scale results and open-ended responses and YourJCU Teaching Survey Likert-scale results will be incorporated into annual PDP conversations for all teaching staff. Applications for promotion should include evidence of a cycle of reflection and improvement of learning and teaching.
- YourJCU Survey feedback will not be used as the sole source of evidence for decisions regarding promotion, tenure or contract renewal.
- Divisions and Colleges will be responsible for clearly articulating benchmarks for survey results at different year levels and cohort sizes.
- Colleges and Divisions will have a process to identify and acknowledge staff who achieve high student satisfaction scores OR have demonstrated significant improvement in the student experience in the most recent survey.
- Colleges and Divisions will have a process to identify subjects that have received low student satisfaction scores. These subjects will be reviewed and a process developed to support the improvement of the student experience.
- The YourJCU Subject and YourJCU Teaching Surveys will be deployed through the current Learning Management System (i.e. LearnJCU).
- Any request for deployment of YourJCU Subject and/or YourJCU Teaching Surveys outside the Learning Management System needs to be substantiated to the University unit administering YourJCU and would normally only be considered if student access to the Learning Management System at the teaching site was limited.
- Any use of YourJCU Subject and YourJCU Teaching Survey data for research purposes will need to be supported by an Ethics Approval Notice from the JCU Human Research Ethics Committee.
- The administration and analysis of the YourJCU Subject Survey data will be undertaken by designated units within the University (as per the Charter of Responsibilities for Academic Quality and Governance) and the relevant Deputy Vice Chancellor/College Dean will identify unit/s responsible for the administration and analysis of the YourJCU Subject Survey and provide resources and support for the improvements in learning and teaching that are responsive to the survey results.
Related documents and legislation
Student Experience of Learning & Teaching (YourJCU) Distribution List
Learning, Teaching and Assessment Policy
Charter of Responsibilities for Academic Quality (Learning and Teaching)
Subject Outline Policy
Academic Promotions Policy
JCU Code of Conduct
NOTE: Printed copies of this policy are uncontrolled, and currency can only be assured at the time of printing.
Deputy Vice Chancellor, Academic
Date for next Major Review (in accordance with the Policy Handbook)
Increase clarity and alignment between SELT Policy and the associated Distribution List; Support the use of YourJCU Subject and YourJCU Teaching Survey data in the PDP process. New paragraph inserted enabling abusive, disparaging or unacceptable comments to be redacted.
Manager, Student Success | Learning, Teaching and Student Engagement
Minor amendments to ensure alignment with the Student Experience of Learning & Teaching (YourJCU) Distribution List and to clarify use and sharing of YourJCU Teaching Survey date
Manager, Student Success | Learning, Teaching and Student Engagement
Further minor amendments to change remaining references of ‘SELT’ with ‘YourJCU’
Manager, Student Success | Learning, Teaching and Student Engagement
Amendments as follows: Replacement of SELT with YourJCU where appropriate; Amendment of the distribution details in 4 a), b) and c); Amendment to the Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (YourJCU) Distribution List and the list added to the other related documents tab of the SELT Policy.
Manager, Student Success
Roles amended to reflect organisation re-structure
Major amendments approved by Academic Board – refer to 2/13 Minutes for details.
Policy established; Implementation: 24/04/2012
Learning, Teaching, feedback, quality enhancement, YourJCU