Here are a few suggestions to inspire you…
- Initiate a group discussion at the end of the session using open questions (How, What, When, Why)? For consistency, put the same questions to every group following the course of instruction.
- Give students a coloured post-it note to comment on an aspect of the session which they liked, and a different colour to highlight an aspect of the session which they didn’t. Ask students to stick these on a board as they leave.
- Ask the module tutor to elicit feedback in their next class. You could also seek feedback at any staff / student panels which you attend.
- For a new session you could (with permission of the School) set up a small focus group to receive a more in-depth response.
- Monitor student use of, or enquiries relating to the sources in which you have provided instruction in order to gauge changes in behaviour following your session, over a period of time. If this indicates that some students are experiencing difficulties take remedial action by, for example, offering ‘follow up’ sessions.
- Use social media such as Learning Central message boards or Facebook groups to start conversations about the sessions. You may require permission from your School to do this, especially if you wish to use Learning Central. Be careful also with open source social media. It may be advisable to set up a “closed” group rather than try to join existing groups. Don’t butt in where you are not wanted!
Electronic bulletin boards
Software exists that allow you to replicate a“bulletin board” or “post-it” style activity online. One example of this is Padlet, a free-to-use (up to a point!) application that can be used on most handheld devices.
Padlet provides an interactive way of gathering “live” feedback, encouraging brainstorming and sharing, especially in situations where this is traditionally difficult such as during lectures.
If you are tempted to try it, you can read a discussion on the pros and cons of using Padlet in an academic setting, albeit in a secondary education context.
Case Study: using Padlet to obtain student feedback
Padlet is an internet application which enables users to add content to a page. A Padlet works as an online wall or noticeboard – the session leader and users can post comments, notes or ideas.
I have used Padlets to gain student feedback on information literacy sessions. On a Padlet I have posed feedback question(s) such as “The most useful thing I learnt today…” Students access the Padlet and add their responses to the question(s).
Particularly useful features include the ability to change the design of the wall; apply passwords to restrict access to Padlets; and export the Padlet (and student responses) for recording and analysis of feedback. The Padlet format doesn’t encourage detailed feedback, and be aware that all responses can be viewed by other students with access to that Padlet.
In my experience, a Padlet enables a quick method of gathering feedback and a high percentage of students in a session provide responses. Padlet offers an active, engaging option to obtaining student feedback and can provide a focal point at the end of an information literacy session.
Sarah Puzey – Subject Librarian, Geography & Planning and Social Sciences
In the next section we look at obtaining feedback from tutors.