Groups of student reps give better feedback

Kingston scheme encourages feedback from all types of undergraduates

June 27, 2013

Appointing up to five student representatives per course improves the quality of feedback by giving a voice to different types of undergraduates, a study suggests.

Instead of electing a single course representative at the start of the year, students at Kingston University’s Faculty of Science, Engineering and Computing were this year invited to put themselves forward to work in a group to represent their classmates’ views.

The change has vastly increased student representation within the faculty as many less-confident students and more from minority groups have stepped forward to get involved in the student feedback process, staff claim.

“If you’ve only been at university a few weeks, it takes someone really brave to stand up in front of a class and say, ‘I want to be your student rep,’ ” said Lucy Jones, the faculty’s associate dean. “You can now see a real mix in the type of student doing this, rather than the typical type of student who tended to take part.”

The scheme also helped to improve students’ presentation skills and self-confidence: five student representatives from the study’s first year won sabbatical officer roles next year.

Among them is Denza Gonsalves, who was recently elected Kingston’s first female students’ union president in 12 years.

Producing future student leaders is a welcome but unintended outcome, said Michelle Morgan, a learning and teaching coordinator who set up the scheme originally to improve academic feedback.

Many students with high workloads were previously put off by the extra work involved in being a student rep, and many did not consider themselves to be leaders.

“Being a course rep is not necessarily about being a leader, but developing skills in lots of different areas,” said Ms Morgan, who will present findings from the pilot study at the Higher Education Academy’s annual conference at the University of Warwick on 3-4 July.

“Some very unassuming students might become excellent course representatives,” she said.

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most Commented

Felipe Fernández-Armesto takes issue with a claim that the EU has been playing the sovereignty card in Brexit negotiations

Female professor

New data show proportion of professors who are women has declined at some institutions

John McEnroe arguing with umpire. Tennis

Robert MacIntosh and Kevin O’Gorman explain how to negotiate your annual performance and development review

Man throwing axes

UCU attacks plans to cut 171 posts, but university denies Brexit 'the reason'

Cricket player and umpire exchanging bribe

The need to accommodate foreign students undermines domestic practices, says Lincoln Allison, spying parallels between UK universities and global sports bodies such as Fifa