The QUT Administration made waves back in March for choosing to suspend Pulse, Insight and SPOT surveys for Semester One. In an email to students, Vice-Chancellor Margaret Sheil stated that during the pandemic, QUT’s “primary focus is the health and wellbeing of students and staff.” Included in the same email were a variety of updates about the university extending census dates, moving online and the news that, “All formal student evaluations for Semester 1 have been cancelled.” Things to take away: Administration cares about health and wellbeing, implementing massive changes, removing official channels for feedback. Feeling heard?
This email spurred a flurry of debate in QUT Stalkerspace about the new measure, in particular the survey cancellation. The general consensus was that this was laughable to be called a support measure, and looked like a way for the University administration to avoid criticism or accountability.
Well, one school isn’t having it.
The QUT School of Creative Writing has created their own performance survey to understand how students are managing their study load with the pandemic. It is confirmed to have been shared with two Units, most likely more, and offers intuitive questions about moulding the learning experience. Students were asked questions about their motivation, tutorial delivery styles, blended learning and more. Overall, it is one of the most intuitive pulse surveys I’ve seen in my degree thus far. The teaching team asked about what worked and what didn’t work, allowing students to voice their concerns about how their degrees are being delivered.
As a creative writing student myself, I applaud these measures. Being able to relay my thoughts made me feel empowered and in control of my learning. I think that student experience is paramount when delivering an education, and to remove channels where effective feedback and critique could be offered is nothing short of lazy.
To the Administration, if you’re reading this, we know COVID-19 isn’t your fault. We know that going online wasn’t your choice. Your choice to remove student feedback, however, is something that you have to wear. There are valuable things to be learnt in this time about blended learning and the teaching experience as a whole. The lecturers who aren’t delivering content properly online might need extra help making sure their lecture recordings are up to scratch when we come back to internal delivery. Assessment that is able to be completed while learning online should become a benchmark to even the playing field for those who are unable to attend every class. The staff members who are going above and beyond in this time need to be recognised. We want you to hear us and we want to be heard.
If your unit has introduced replacement surveys, please email firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can include them.
More to come.