Using student lens to reflect on teaching and learning resources

Navneet Dhand

Abstract


Student lens (Brookfield, 1995) is often used by university teachers to reflect on and improve their teaching and learning activities but it is not frequently employed to improve teaching and learning resources prior to their actual use. Here I report the results of a pilot study conducted to obtain feedback on teaching and learning resources of a new online unit of study (Data Analysis for Epidemiologic Research) at the Faculty of Veterinary Science, The University of Sydney. Besides the regular academic review, the teaching and learning resources of this unit were also reviewed by postgraduate students, with similar interests and skill levels as that of students likely to enrol in this unit. Four students agreed to participate in the study but feedback on all the modules was consistently provided by only one student. Students were provided with one module per week, similar to the arrangement of the actual unit of study, and were asked to provide feedback on the learning material such as essential and supplementary readings, examples and self assessment exercises. Based on the student feedback, the unit of study modules were revised by including new readings, providing more worked examples of statistical analyses and solutions to the exercises, as required. Although the process was time consuming, this did help improve the teaching and learning resources for the unit of study before it was implemented for the first time. This is evident from an average score of 4.67 in student evaluations on overall satisfaction with the unit of study (on a scale of 1 to 5). The student who provided consistent feedback also benefitted by achieving learning outcomes specified for the unit of study and by gaining critical evaluation skills. I would recommend this approach to be used more often in developing teaching and learning resources because students are the most important source of information on our teaching (Biggs & Tang, 2007).

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