Student feedback in engineering: A discipline-specific overview and background
Book chapter, 2012
This chapter reviews the need to improve key learning outcomes of engineering education, among them conceptual understanding, solving real problems in context, and enabling skills for engineering such as communication and teamwork. At the same time it is necessary to improve both the attractiveness of engineering to prospective students and retention in engineering programmes. Research suggests that to address these problems the full student learning experience needs to better affirm students' identity formation. Student feedback is identified as a key source of intelligence to inform curriculum and course development. An argument is made for clarifying the purpose of any student feedback system, as there is an inherent tension between utilising it for accountability or for enhancement. An example shows how enhancement is best supported by a rich qualitative investigation of how the learning experience is perceived by the learner. Further, a tension between student satisfaction and quality learning is identified, suggesting that to usefully inform improvement, feedback must always be interpreted using theory on teaching and learning. Finally, a few examples are provided to show various ways to collect, interpret and use student feedback. © 2012 Woodhead Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.