1. Improve routine communication with students
One of the easiest ways to improve student satisfaction is to improve simple communications with students and ensure that programme assessments are well organised (Langan, Dunleavy, & Fielding, 2013). Even if you cannot change your module, you can make things easier for students with little effort:
- Create a ‘countdown clock’ for the assessment on Moodle. This is especially welcomed by students working in different time zones.
- Set calendar events on Outlook and ‘invite’ students to them so they know exactly where and when to submit. Give at least 4 weeks’ notice of summative assessment tasks.
- Ensure all details are readily available: word count, submission time, formatting expectations, etc. should all be online and easy to find. Watch out for any inconsistencies between versions of handbooks and other communications such as assessment briefs, referencing guides, or the Be wise, don’t plagiarise! resources.
- Stick to deadlines as much as possible – extensions can annoy students since it feels unfair to those who have managed their time.
- Be clear about the nature and purpose of all feedback.
- Give a specific date when feedback is due, not just ‘within three working weeks’, and detail how students will get their feedback.
- Enable written work to be submitted electronically and take time to show students how the systems work. Create templates for use in Word to help with consistent presentation.
- Have submission deadlines in mid-afternoon: technical problems are less dramatic at 3pm than at midnight.
- Make sure students know who to contact if their tutor is unavailable.
- Have a clear email policy on response times, ideally consistent with how quickly you expect students to respond to your messages. Consider using Virtual Office Hours.
- Develop a culture of open communication about assessments on Moodle. Encourage students to ask assessment related questions via the Moodle forum, rather than by email; this means other students will benefit from seeing your replies and it will save you time emailing. Make sure you check the forum regularly.
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