The currently used procedure for module review is set to be reviewed, beginning in the new academic year. The current procedure for module review, featuring the use of paper forms that must be filled out for each lecturer by the students under his or her tutelage, is “not compatible” with current evaluation requirements, according to the President of UCC Dr. Michael Murphy.
This is all set to be overhauled, with the evaluation of modules to be done via the Student Portal on a pilot basis for some colleges in the 10/11 academic year. At present, the module review forms are not visible by any person or entity other than the lecturer who has been reviewed; even the head of a department cannot see the content of the forms. It means that there is no way of knowing whether a lecturer is using the forms as a proper evaluation procedure and following up on the feedback as a method of improvement.
The European University Association has outlined that in UCC, there is a lack of student evaluation and feedback. Current Education Officer with the Student Union, Shelly Conroy, told the Express that this will hopefully be improved by the introduction of a new system, which will be fully anonymous.
Ms Conroy outlined for the Express that she hopes the new system will be “Time efficient, anonymous and generic”. She stated that abuse of the current paper-based system by students means that a lack of balance could be evident when lecturers read the forms, and that as it stands there is too much administrative work required to complete the process of evaluation and improvement.
She related that in Dublin Institute of Technology, the system allows for a generic mark to be given to a lecturer, between 1 and 5. The same questions are given for all modules and the results are shared with the Department Head, allowing for greater transparency and a generic approach that offers more balance.
Ms Conroy hopes that the electronic system will eventually be mandatory, providing that the pilot year in certain departments is a success. The uses for the electronic system also have the potential to offer more benefits for students. Ms Conroy elaborated that “data could be collected to look at attendance numbers to see if there’s an attendance policy requirement.” She further alluded to the overuse of Blackboard, and questioned whether lecture notes should be electronic if students are not attending classes as a result.