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Student responses to reflexive course evaluation

Journal article
Authors Malgorzata Erikson
Martin G. Erikson
Elisabeth Punzi
Published in Reflective Practice
Volume 17
Issue 6
Pages 663-675
ISSN 1462-3943
Publication year 2016
Published at School of Public Administration
Department of Psychology
Pages 663-675
Language en
Links dx.doi.org/10.1080/14623943.2016.12...
Subject categories Educational Sciences

Abstract

Simple surveys are the predominant tool for course evaluations in most universities, but their validity has been questioned. They have been criticized for being a ritual way of complying with administrative regulations rather than a way of improving educational quality. Moreover, there is often a focus on student satisfaction, where the complexity of learning processes and the development of learner identities are lost. As an alternative approach, a qualitative course evaluation was tested that consisted of a single question: What could have been done in this course in order to better support your learning? Twenty-one second-year psychology students completed the evaluation at the end of a course. They provided rich answers describing learning activities and communication, and they described both teachers and students as agents. Going beyond merely reporting possible improvements, the students saw their learning processes in a context of academic demands and social mechanisms. It is argued that qualitative course evaluations can provide information about students’ understanding of their own learning that is difficult to uncover in a traditional survey. It is concluded that qualitative course evaluations would support the development of a student learner identity and help create a role for students as co-producers of knowledge.

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