From Summer 2021, the Evaluations team are piloting a change from anonymous to confidential Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) survey feedback.
The value of confidential responses
There are chiefly three reasons that ANU is joining other Australian universities in the move from anonymous to confidential responding. Firstly, confidential SELT allows ANU to further explore patterns in student feedback. Knowledge of such patterns (e.g. which types of students have the most/least favourable course experience) can then be used to inform improvements to course and teaching delivery. ANU will always seek to continually improve the student experience.
Confidential SELT also means that ANU can follow up with students whose SELT feedback suggests that they are experiencing a substantial amount of distress. In this way, confidential responding helps ANU meet its obligation to protect the welfare of its people, including students. Importantly, SELT feedback is not a mechanism for students to inform ANU that they need assistance, where the best pathways to request help include:
- The ANU Wellbeing and Support Line - 24/7 support 1300 050 327 or SMS service: 0488 884 170
- The ANU Counselling Centre - 02 6178 0455 or email@example.com
Finally, confidential SELT feedback means that ANU can follow up with a student whose feedback may be a breach of the ANU Student Code of Conduct. This may include abusive, sexist or racist feedback. Such feedback can be distressing for ANU teachers, and ANU has a responsibility to promote constructive and professional feedback wherever possible.
Confidential SELT FAQ
- Can a teacher request to see which student provided particular feedback?
- No, teachers will not be told the identity of students providing feedback. One exception to this, however, would be extreme cases were an appropriate body requires that a teacher be informed of a student’s identity (e.g. by the Australian Federal Police).
- If ANU needs to follow up with a student who provided SELT feedback, who in ANU will be told the identity of that student?
- The Manager Student Incidents and Support is the person within ANU who will be told of a student’s identity if needed.
- How will ANU decide that it needs to follow up with a student who provided SELT feedback?
- In the vast majority of cases, an independent panel of representatives from the ANU Executive, teaching community, and student unions will decide if follow up is needed. In extreme cases the Manager Student Incidents and Support may make the decision.
- What is meant by constructive feedback?
- Constructive feedback is specific, actionable, and respectful. Rather than simply saying you didn’t enjoy a course, you can instead identify what you didn’t enjoy, or what didn’t work for you, and suggest ways it can be improved. Rather than saying a course was fantastic, you can outline what the teacher did particularly well and how it helped your learning.
- Consider that teachers will eventually see this feedback, and write it with their perspective in mind. Write feedback that you would find helpful if you were in their position.
- Videos about constructive feedback, and the importance of feedback, can be found on the SELT Information for students page.
- Is confidential SELT feedback in line with ANU policy?
- The confidential feedback approach became ANU Policy on 01 Jan 2020, after extensive consultation with students and staff before being approved by Academic Board, which includes ANUSA and PARSA representatives.
- Why is this change happening in 2021?
- The implementation of the move from anonymous to confidential was planned for 2020, but was delayed due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- What if I have questions about my privacy?
- Personal information from SELT responses will be stored for ten years then destroyed.
- If you wish to have your personal information deleted from SELT records please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
- If you have concerns about how your personal information is being handled, please contact the ANU Privacy Officer on email@example.com