As in many parts of the world, students across much of the UK are investing more than ever before in their own higher education. As such, the need for this investment to return value to the student (as both the customer and the consumer) is critical.
Similarly, with tuition fee revenues making up the majority of income for many universities, higher education institutions (HEIs) are looking for ways to ensure they attract and retain students.
A key measure underpinning both of these drivers is student experience and satisfaction. Factors such as the Teaching Excellence Framework and the National Student Survey puts student experience and satisfaction directly under the spotlight. Many HEIs are looking to continuously improve, in order to provide their students with a globally-respected education that delivers clear and long-term value.
Advances in technology can help HEIs in their drive to provide the best experience for their students. Digital management of assessment and feedback to students, for example, can improve the speed, transparency, consistency and overall value of this crucial part of the HE experience to both the student and the institution.
A recent UCISA survey of Technology-Enhanced Learning (TEL) practitioners, put electronic management of assessment (including e-marking and e-feedback) top of the list of ‘technology developments that are making new demands’ in terms of TEL support required.
Dr Naomi Winstone, Director of the Surrey Assessment and Learning Lab, is at the forefront of research into how students best engage with and act upon feedback received during their studies. This research led to the development of a Feedback Engagement And Tracking System (FEATS), designed by students at the University of Surrey.
Dr Winstone explains:
“The development of FEATS has been a truly collaborative project. Working with students from the initial concept creation, the system has been developed to ensure that it is simple to use but also effective in helping students engage with feedback.”
Used by 3,500 students at the University of Surrey, FEATS provides a revolutionary way for higher education students to synthesise and act upon feedback received during their studies.
FEATS has already received external recognition, winning ‘Educational Development Initiative of the Year’ at the Staff and Educational Development Association (SEDA) Awards in 2018.
The main features of FEATS include the following:
ability to gather feedback from multiple assignments and modules in one place, aggregating and highlighting common messages;
a bank of resources to help students implement feedback and develop skills;
ability to apply feedback into an action-plan and track progression.
RM Results recently announced its new partnership with the University of Surrey, to develop FEATS further, enabling other universities to improve student success through active engagement and support with their feedback.
Commenting on the new partnership, Dr Winstone said:
“We are really pleased to be working with RM Results so that more students and learning providers can benefit from the system.”
John Baskerville, Managing Director at RM Results, added:
“We are delighted to be able to offer this new system to universities and we have already received interest from a number of higher education institutions. FEATS provides significant benefits to students and universities, ensuring that higher education experiences are optimised and giving students the best chance of realising their academic potential.”