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Feedback

January 28, 2014

“The shrill sound created when a transducer such as a microphone or electric guitar picks up sound from a speaker connected to an amplifier and regenerates it back through the amplifier.”

One of the biggest items that is highlighted in the National Student Survey (NSS) is the lack of feedback.
Having been a student recently I can confirm that swift timely feedback is crucial to successful study.

I also know the idea that they aren’t providing swift timely feedback drives lecturers crazy.

I was thinking about this the other day when I had a problem with my macbook power supply.

NSS - student feedback wanted dead or alive

The problem manifested at 8pm, and I contacted the apple tech support line via an online chat, and was given the information I needed, told how to find the serial number of my macbook (which is on the “About this mac” screen, but you have to click the “Version 10.0.1” text to reveal it) and given an issue number.
I was advised to go into the store and a replacement would be provided – just take along the two numbers.
Excellent service, timely feedback – my issues were identified and addressed.

I nipped into the Covent Garden store on the way to the office and the first apple person I could find told me I needed to make an appointment – I assured him that the previous advice suggested a replacement could be made without any appointments.
He pointed me at the geniuses – however these took a bit of finding as the old Genius Bar no longer exists, instead it’s a case of asking anyone in a blue t-shirt if they can help. Eventually one group of four employees milling around told me I needed to speak the another group of four employees milling around.
The final four insisted I needed an appointment.
I had received feedback, but it wasn’t related to my issue, but the store processes.

This is how a student feels in the university system.

Whilst the feedback given by the Apple Genii was accurate and timely, it was also not related to my issue, but to the system itself. Quite a lot of the feedback that students get given doesn’t relate to their issue, but to how they can comply with systems.

As a customer of Apple I had no desire to work out their arcane rules, I wanted a replacement power supply.
As a student I don’t want to know about system issues, I want to have my specific issues addressed.

Next week I’m off to a Conference at the Centre for Learning and Teaching at Brighton Uni, which will be covering effective eFeedback amongst other things.
I’m looking forward to hearing about the systems in place at Brighton, and eventually working on them to try and hit that sweet spot, and who knows maybe improve the NSS scores.

UPDATE

Jisc have just circulated a new series of short guides  based on four key themes:

For a full picture of the challenges, approaches and findings from our recent work please see the full summary report ‘Supporting assessment and feedback practice with technology: from tinkering to transformation’.

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