And, we’re suddenly in the home straight, with the third week of three coming to an end as far as NCI’s participation in ISSE 2017 – i.e. this year’s version of the Irish Survey of Student Engagement – is concerned.
As of this morning, 648 of our students – equating to just under 23% of the total learner population polled – had responded to the invitation, firstly to reflect upon their own engagement with their studies and, secondly, to provide feedback regarding their student experience at NCI.
NCI’s participation in the survey will end on Tuesday morning, February 28th, so there is still some time left for our first year undergraduate, final year undergraduate and postgraduate taught students to respond. But, just as importantly, the rich data which this survey will provide to the ISSE project as a whole and to NCI in particular will offer us a real opportunity for thoughtful analysis and subsequent action.
It is too early to predict whether the final NCI response rate will be reflected in a similar national figure, but the key will be to learn from what is said and to act upon it – it really does become a case of ‘We said, we did!’ As last year’s data analysis suggests, there are both strengths and weaknesses (see below) inherent in what we are doing, but identifying them only gives us strong foundations on which to build; click here for access to the full ISSE 2016 report.
NCI strengths and weaknesses identified by ISSE 2016
NCI students actively engage with staff in the classroom and typically they say that they come to class with their preparations done
NCI response rates are gradually eroding, yet more representative data would support better informed decision-making
Final year undergraduates make good use of the learning opportunities available to them, both inside and outside of class
First year undergrads and PGTs should be invited to work more closely with their peers, as well as with staff, inside/outside class
Staff generally teach in a clear, structured and insightful manner, while drawing upon real world examples where appropriate
Students identify staff feedback on their assessments as one area where they would welcome improvement
At yesterday’s QQI briefing held at NCI, the first presentation by Peter Cullen (Head of Validation and Delegation, QQI) centred on the evaluation and review of programmes in the context of the new validation policies and criteria. This ‘whistle-stop tour’ allowed colleagues to get a better sense of what is need in terms of (1) new programme validation and (2) review and revalidation.
In turn, entitled ‘Re-Engagement / QA Approval’, the second presentation by Walter Balfe (Head, Provider Approval Unit, QQI) explored the roadmap which will need to be followed in support of the re-engagement that QQI is now piloting, a process which will, if successful, lead to the subsequent publication of approved quality assurance procedures.
Attended by over 50 delegates from a range of independent/private providers, this briefing brought people up to speed with two significant quality assurance developments in the sector, as well as offering an ideal opportunity to network and meet with colleagues.
It is three weeks to the day since the ‘Enhancing Feedback in First Year – Y1Feedback Symposium’ was held at Maynooth University on 31 January 2017, but many of the ideas discussed and suggestions made in that forum continue to resonate.
As one of the speakers remarked, we are essentially only limited by our imaginations when it comes to the possibilities inherent in providing feedback to our students. But, as another of the keynotes – Dr Naomi Winstone (University of Surrey) – pointed out, we (i.e. educators and students alike) all have responsibilities when it comes to feedback.
Yesterday’s Learning, Teaching and Assessment Committee (LTA) meeting offered an ideal opportunity to consider NCI’s participation in ISSE 2017 thus far, and to think through some further ideas in support of this year’s processes.
The one page isse-2017-update-for-lta report tabled yesterday at LTA argues that NCI has made a good start, but that a bit more work is required to get us through the first major participation hurdle of 1 in 5 students responding. In turn, last year’s national response rate of just over 22% constitutes the next significant target thereafter.
To support the efforts to encourage learner participation, a set of PowerPoint slides – isse-2017-powerpoint-slides – have been made available to NCI staff to share with our students during the last full week of ISSE 2017. Our participation in the survey is set to close on Tuesday, February 28th, so there is not long to go.
With our response rate creeping up this morning past 17%, almost 500 NCI students have now taken part, thereby constituting the highest total number of college respondents in the four years that we have been taking part in this student survey. One last push is needed to really make the responses received as representative as they might be!
ISSE 2017 runs for three weeks, with our institution’s version of the survey having opened on Monday, February 6th. In terms of NCI learner feedback received thus far, we’ve gotten off to a fairly decent start again this academic year with our response rate reaching 11% as of midday today; thus far, 300 NCI students have taken part in ISSE 2017!
This is obviously very encouraging, but our first – and perhaps biggest – target is to break through the 20% barrier, especially as response rates were one of the key issues picked up in our own institutional analysis of past ISSE data (see comparative participation rates, 2013-16 below).
Our learner feedback window has been extended slightly to Tuesday morning, February 28th, by i-graduate, the external firm running the survey on behalf of the thirty or so Irish HEIs which are participating. Thus, any encouragement that might be offered to our students who are taking part – i.e. first year undergraduate, final year undergraduate and postgraduate taught students – would be very welcome indeed.
We’re really keen for the feedback we receive to be as representative as possible and, while a 1 in 5 student ratio is not necessarily out of line with national response rates, it does mean that we are not hearing from as many of our own students as we might like. Do please remember that NCI’s own internal analysis based upon last year’s data can be found at irish-survey-of-student-engagement-2016-final-report.