Advanced Applied Geophysics: Importance of early feedback collection

Module name: Advanced Applied Geophysics
Module coordinator: Michele Paulatto
Department: Earth Science and Engineering
Degree course: MSci Geology, MSci Geophysics, MSci Earth and Planetary Science
Year: 3rd and 4th undergraduate

In 2021 the Advanced Applied Geophysics module was assigned to a new module coordinator who redeveloped it for online delivery. Student feedback was sought from day one to check how the transition affected student learning and make suitable adjustments to the teaching style and materials.

Feedback was collected through Microsoft Forms questionnaires. Forms allows easy setup of questionnaires with a variety of question styles including multiple choice and free form questions.

The students were asked to fill a questionnaire after week 1, week 4 and at the end of the module. The purpose of the data collection was made explicit, stressing that the main objective was to improve their learning experience in a responsive way.

Participation was 40% for the 1st questionnaire, 25% for the second, and 5% for the final questionnaire. This result indicates that collecting feedback early during the module may have some benefits. Perhaps the students are more receptive early on when they are not focused on preparing for the exam. They may also feel that early feedback will benefit them directly. Participation could be further improved by better explaining how the feedback benefits them.

Some of the questions dealt with practical matters, e.g. how the students would like the practical sessions to be structured and organized. Other questions probed student’s reaction to different parts of the session and asked them to identify any topics that needed clarification. The following week, the beginning of the session was spent revisiting any topic that the students had singled out as unclear. This was delivered in the form of an extra pre-recorded video. A summary of the feedback and any action taken in response were also discussed during the live practical session.

Additional data was collected as part of the SOLE survey after the end of the module. One respondent said: “I Liked how feedback was taken into account, having ideas re-explained in a later lecture”.