Beyond SELT

Since 2017, teams from across the University have been working to implement a new framework for teaching and learning enhancement at ANU. These changes are in response to feedback provided by staff and students to the University through a range of forums including the Administrative Services Survey.

The project aims to develop several key initiatives to improve support for teaching and learning at ANU. Specifically:

  • Creating a Teaching Staff Survey to enable teaching staff to provide the University with feedback on learners and the learning environment
  • Establishing a Peer Course Evaluation process to support the professional development of teaching staff and innovation in teaching practice
  • Revising the Student Experience of Learning and Teaching Survey (SELT)

The focus to date has been on revising the student course and teaching surveys (SELT) and we commenced piloting a number of changes in the 2019 Summer session.

Staff/student forums

The first round of staff/student forums were held on the following dates:

The forums addressed the SELT pilot and further developments planned for SELT. Including proposed changes to the policy and procedures. We also discussed other teaching and learning initiatives including iLEAP to embed the Beyond SELT developments in the broader context of educational initiatives currently underway at ANU.

Expert Reference Groups

All permanent academic staff were invited to attend Expert Reference Group sessions, held on the following dates:

  • 10:00-11:30 Thursday 7 November 2019
  • 2:00-3:30 Thursday 7 November 2019
  • 10:00-11:30 Friday 8 November 2019
  • 2:00-3:30 Friday 8 November 2019

These sessions addressed the proposed Teaching Staff Survey and sought to get a diverse view of how staff experience learning and teaching.

New questions

The existing SELT questions have been reviewed with staff and students, and it was felt that they weren’t fit for purpose, or did not provide the type of feedback sought. It was also felt that there were too many questions to be addressed within a reasonable time frame.

The steering committee developed new questions in consultation with staff and students, introducing a greater emphasis on qualitative feedback. The new questions also move away from feedback expressed as a level of satisfaction, focusing instead on the student experience of educational outcomes. These have been user tested and adjusted to reflect the resulting findings. The revised questions were successfully piloted in the 2019 Summer session and fully deployed from Winter 2019 onwards.

Reducing the number of surveys

The existing SELT survey consisted of more than 10 different questionnaires. Course conveners were required to choose a teaching survey type for their course, for each individual offering. The range of surveys meant that there were issues in the consistency of data available.

The steering committee has developed a simplified, single survey that is not constrained by the teaching techniques used, while capturing the renewed focus of SELT as a quality enhancement tool for education. This single survey was successfully piloted in the 2019 Summer session and fully deployed from Winter 2019 onwards.

Process improvements

A number of process changes were also made in 2019 to address concerns raised in staff and student feedback.

These include:

  • Course conveners no longer have to identify which student is taught by which lecturer/tutor. Rather, students can self-identify which lecturers/tutors associated with the course they wish to give feedback on. This will be done in the body of the survey itself, thereby allowing students to give feedback on anyone who taught them, while freeing up the time of course conveners.
  • Course conveners no longer have to manually complete a detailed survey request form and attach tutorial lists. Rather, an eForm will be introduced which allows them to quickly and easily provide basic information on the staff teaching a course – with no class lists or detailed information required.
  • The previous SELT process was highly manual, requiring a significant amount of labour intensive data entry to create and deploy each individual survey. This brought with it significant risk of error. Greater automation was introduced behind the scenes to improve accuracy.
  • Improvements were made to the University's data warehouse so that staff can now access all their relevant SELT results via ANU Insight.

Other improvements being planned for 2020 include:

  • Communication with students on the value of SELT responses and the importance of constructive feedback
  • Move from anonymous to confidential data collection
  • Development of the peer course evaluation process
  • Implementation of the teaching staff survey
  • Further enhancements to the SELT reporting suite in ANU Insight
  • Developing an optional mid-semester survey to obtain formative feedback
  • Creating an exit survey for those who have withdrawn from a course before completion

Our team are confident that these improvements will ensure ANU continues to provide the best learning outcomes for our students while providing the right support for our teachers. 

For further information about the Beyond SELT project, please consult the Frequently Asked Questions.