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Module Enhancement
Student Feedback on Modules Marketing & Rebranding
Project: Student Feedback on Modules Marketing & Rebranding
Project Team: Helen Gilmartin, Claire Harrington, Paul Maher, Thomas McNally, Alix Vavasseur, from the UCD Marketing & Development Programme. Judith Archbold, Elizabeth Crean, Aine Galvin, Maura McGinn, Bernice Molloy, Paul Surgenor
Collaborator(s): Media Services, Web Services & Registry


Part-funded by the Strategic Innovation Fund II


August 2011-February 2012
"Every higher education institution should put in place a comprehensive anonymous student feedback system, coupled with structures to ensure that action is taken promptly in response to student concerns."  p61, National Strategy for Higher Education to 2030

2010-11 saw the implementation of UCD’s new Student Feedback on Modules system following a pilot project involving schools from all colleges and 7000 students in the previous year.  The response rate, defined as the % of surveys completed was 30% for the first semester.  The semester two response rate was 22%. 

In June 2011 the Institutional Review of UCD recommended “that the university implements rigorously the cross-University student module feedback system and ensures that students and staff are informed about how these data are used, which suggestions have been adopted and which have not and, crucially, why.” Recommendation 4.6 , p33, Institutional Review of the University College Dublin
The SFM Marketing and Rebranding Project was initiated in summer 2011 to combine marketing expertise with a student perspective.
  1. Improve student understanding of the purpose and importance of completing the SFM surveys
  2. Gain a better understanding of the reasons behind the decisions that students take with respect to completing or not completing module feedback surveys  
  3. Create a shift in culture amongst students to develop a sense of shared responsibility with staff for improving UCD’s educational offerings
  4. Promote a sense of student community which will lead students to find the prospect of other students benefitting from their feedback desirable.   (Initial UCD research indicates that some students believe this puts them puts them at a competitive disadvantage.)
  5. Rebrand the UCD SFM survey in a way that is more appealing to students by developing a marketing campaign with an attractive brand for use across a range of media, (posters, website, e-card, Facebook, video, et cetera)
  6. Improve the response rate 
  7. Ensure that the marketing campaign is professionally conducted with respect and sensitivity for the concerns of students, particularly anonymity and staff.
  • In-depth interviews were carried out with undergraduate and postgraduate students in order to gain an understanding of their opinions and attitudes towards the Student Feedback on Modules survey.  See the results tab for the report.
  • A presentation on the importance of student feedback was provided to 600 peer mentors during orientation week.  The mentors were asked to promote survey completion amongst their mentees later in the semester.  The presentation was also delivered to 200 orientation guides.
  • The "Your Feedback Your Future" tag line and artwork was developed to brand the Student Feedback on Modules Survey, this was extended across a range of media including posters, an e-card, email headers, display screens across campus, the Regsitry Facebook page and the UCD Connect Student Home tab. 
  • An electronic version of the poster was provided to module coordinators to support promotion of the survey during lectures.
  • The University Observer ran a colour Your Feedback Your Future half-page advertisement in the 15th November issue.
  • An advertisement  was recorded and aired three times per hour before and during the survey opening dates on Belfield FM.  The branding material was added to the station website.
  • The campaign material was added to the Student Union website.
  • A Your Feedback Your Future colour banner, 16 feet by 7 feet, was hung on the walkway outside the James Joyce Library building.
  • A vox pop video providing a snapshot of student opinion of the student feedback on modules survey was launched on 21st November to coincide with the opening of the semester one survey.  The video was added to a page on the student section of Registry's website and to a channel on the UCD Connect Student Life tab.
  • The Marketing Advisors delivered presentations to 28 large cohorts across the campus from 21st to 23rd November.

The Findings from Students of UCD with Regards to their Attitudes, Perceptions and Motivation for Participation in the Student Feedback on Modules Surveys are available in the SFM Marketing & Re-branding Report 2011

This report contains a number of findings and recommendations under four headings:
1.    Awareness and Perception
2.    Method of Feedback
3.    Relevance
4.    Implementation of Communications Campaign to Close the Feedback Loop

Additional student opinion will need to be gathered in order to evaluate the marketing and re-branding of the student feedback on modules survey and the impact of the recommendations which have been implemented so far.  See the Next Steps tab for a summary of the recommendations.

Next Steps:

A number of recommendations emerged from the project.  Many of these have already been implemented and others are under investigation.

Awareness and Perceptions

  1. Students should be educated about the role of Teaching and Learning and their involvement in the SFM survey.
  2. A campaign outlining actions taken as a result of student feedback should be undertaken.
  3. The survey should remain voluntary.
  4. Students should be given time in-class to complete the survey.
  5. An incentive should be put in place to encourage participation in the survey.

Method of Feedback

  1. UCD should continue to use the current system for collecting feedback, “the traditional, paper feedback method is considered outdated and hard to analyse”.
  2. Promotional emails should be sent from “college related addresses” such as programme directors or lecturers as these would be more likely to be acted upon.
  3. Teaching & Learning should build on existing relationships with lecturers and programme directors to inform them of the benefits of the survey.
  4. Students should be contacted via their UCD connect email addresses as opposed to their personal accounts.
  5. Better education needs to be given to students about the importance of completing surveys for each module.
  6. The survey should remain concise in order to increase participation.  Two to three minutes per module survey is acceptable to students.
  7. The timing of the survey is acceptable; exams should not be interrupted.
  8. Students are happy with the duration between survey opening and closing.
  9. Students would like to pause their progress through the survey and complete it at a later time.

Relevance of Survey

  1. Lecturers should inform students of changes that have been made based on feedback provided in the previous year. 
  2. UCD should engage with influential student figures who could use their status to change the mind-set of the student population, (eg auditors of societies or captains of sports clubs).
  3. The importance of acknowledging the feedback given by their students should be communicated to lecturers.
  4. The potential significance of completing the SFM survey needs to be instilled in students as part of university culture.
  5. First year students should be targeted as they are new to the system.

Implementation of Communications Campaign to Close the Feedback Loop

  1. Three suggestions per school should be communicated to students via email or posters.
  2. Student representatives should take part in the campaign by communicating changes in face-to-face promotion.
  3. Students would like to know about the decision process where changes are not made.
  4. Students in their final year should be advised of the results of their feedback after they have left UCD.