University of East London UCU Rotating Header Image

EvaSys Module Evaluation System

 There has been a considerable and substantial negative response to the imposed introduction of the new EvaSys Module Evaluation System from both members and non-members alike.

 In response to this UCU has written to the Vice Chancellor directly requesting its withdrawal pending consultation.  Please see below for letter:

 

Dear John,

I am writing to you as Chair of UCU regarding the introduction of the new Module Evaluation Process which has evoked a serious and significant amount of negative response from both members and non-members throughout the university.

It is disappointing and unacceptable that such a change has been introduced without reference to and consultation with UCU representing academic staff.

These lack of consultations add to an unacceptable pattern of impositions that assume a blame culture directed at academic staff and represents a further attack on their integrity characterising them as untrustworthy. This is completely unacceptable to our members.

There are serious concerns and legitimate questions over both the substance and methodology of the process. UCU therefore formally requests that the new procedure be withdrawn pending consultation with UCU.

Rae Beaver

Chair of UCU @ UEL

9 Comments

  1. Mark McDermott says:

    If this is end of module feedback, then it should have been solicited in the last session, not when there were three sessions left to be delivered. In my experience of three decades of university teaching, students don’t get a whole picture of the module until the last session has been delivered. It is not fair to the students or to the lecturers to assess on the basis of 75% of a module. As such, I think the data that has been gathered is not as definitive as it could have been.

  2. Anon says:

    There are a number of issues with this proposed system. I support the concerns of colleagues who have highlighted how preposterous it is to expect students to provide feedback before the module has finished. Modules are structured around narratives, and students need to have experienced the whole of that narrative before they can provide useful feedback.

    Some of the questions on the form are simply inappropriate. Academic staff do not control the library budget, nor do we control budgets for specialist equipment. This form suggests to students that we do. I am certain most staff welcome constructive feedback, which means that the feedback should focus on what staff can and do control: the module that’s being evaluated.

    There’s also the question of survey fatigue. Modelling the feedback form on the NSS is going to have the same effect that harassing students to complete the NSS has — they quickly become disaffected and resistant. Why not work with staff to construct an evaluation system that encourages students to engage with the process in a constructive manner?

    I have no objection to feedback being collected by students and returned to a designated place. This is the practice in many other countries; staff do not see feedback until marks have been entered. What is worrying is that there has been no explanation about how we will be apprised of the feedback, and how the data will be used. Unless senior management are willing to communicate with us about these issues, we should continue to collect feedback as we have in the past. It’s not an ideal system, but it does actually allow staff to reflect on their teaching.

  3. ANON HSB says:

    I was sent a mail from my Subject Head on Friday 8th stating that the new evaluation forms should be distributed in my classes the next week. There was no explanation of the process or any opportunity for discussion or comment. I collected all the forms myself and handed them in. Of what use is this if module leaders do not see the feedback both negative and positive? If this doesn’t happen the exercise is meaningless other than another method of management surveillance.
    A further concern was that the mails were sent to individuals rather than the whole field and this gave one the impression of being singled out for monitoring. This made me feel very uncomfortable until I discovered that colleagues had also received similar individual mails with the same text. Why could this not have been sent out to the whole field as a round robin? Sending out notification in this way only served to increase the impression that I was being individually monitored.
    I had also been informed that the data collected would be returned to the school on the 18th November for dissemination. To date there has no been no further feedback or discussion. Today I enquired about this and was now told by my Subject Head that they had no idea when this would returned?

  4. Jane Cox says:

    I echo the concerns about mistrust of academic staff that have been stated in previous postings. Clearly, however, students are to be trusted as trust is placed in a named student to take the evaluations to the relevant Helpdesk. Not only is this evaluation being imposed on academic staff it is also being imposed on students – have they been consulted about this new process? Students may feel under obligation to complete the survey within the lecture slot. The online version that has operated in the past enables students to decide more clearly for themselves whether they wish to complete the evaluation, when they complete it and within the privacy of their own home. Importantly, it also offers every student the opportunity to complete it, whereas the new version is restricted to those students that attend the lecture on the day the evaluation is distributed. There is also a value for money issue – students are paying for face-to-face lecture time, not to do evaluations within that time. I teach some large groups, so explaining the evaluation, then distributing, completing and returning it, requires approximately 20 mins. End of module evaluation should be at the end of the module, not week 9!

  5. anon says:

    What sort of message are we sending out to our students when we are told to get students to sign sealed envelopes that lecturers aren’t allowed to touch? Does this show them that the management that thinks lecturers are trustworthy? I think it sends a VERY clear message to both staff and students and it is deeply unpleasant, when is some attention going to be given to staff morale?

    Isn’t the point of this feedback to give the lecturers a chance to improve? Or is it more about data and managing by spreadsheet?

    What is the point of evaluation two thirds of the way through a module? Modules are designed to work as a whole, they should be completed at the end. I don’t think students need a live response in week 12 – the time-frame makes no practical difference to them – and I do think that the results of the module need to be taken into account in the response, and this way they can’t be. Student’s often don’t like things that directly lead to better results, like formative assessment.

  6. Anon2 says:

    The system we had before was reasonably effective and had an immediate feedback effect, the lecturer could act on the comments immediately where possible, because he/she could read the comments straight away. Now in an elaborate and secretive procedure this new scheme shows the students that UEL management doesn’t trust their staff. Furthermore when will staff receive the feedback? In a meeting with management? To be interrogated by people who don’t teach or stopped teaching and no longer have any idea of what is involved? This is a snoopers charter, designed to be used against staff rather than in any positive manner. There isn’t anything good about it. The UCU should design a questionnaire regarding management performance, extending up to the VCG, then collate and publish the information, thus making management more accountable to staff and students. UEL academic staff are very hard working and manage to keep their head above water in spite of staff shortages and poor or bad management, who waste money on hair-brained projects.
    With this new ModEvalSys it’s the pot calling the kettle black, the whole idea is flawed anyway because students are asked for comments and judgements without signature or any other id. Grudgingly we should go back to the previous system of questionnaire, still flawed, but more effective in action on feedback. Besides without staff support its a non-starter.

  7. anon says:

    I remember a consultation as to the contents of the form but I assumed it was simply a new version of the old module evaluation form. I don’t remember an email explaining the system or I would have registered a complaint before now.

    Not only does the system imply that UEL does not trust its teaching staff but it sends a message to students that staff are not to be trusted. The implication seems to be that staff would want to tamper with the forms or skew the results somehow. Would anybody really do that?

    I gave out the forms today but collected them myself as per the old system. They were littered with crossings out and inaccuracies (eg., filling in sections not applicable to that particular class) which indicates to me that the system is unlikely to work anyway.

  8. UEL ACE Staff says:

    The new system is unacceptable as clearly there was no consultation and the vocabulary used on the form gives the impression that academic staff (module leaders) cannot trusted. Now if this is the impression that management wants to portray to students – why not simple say so aloud.

    On the other hand, some members of academic staff were the very ones expressing the view that other colleagues removed, destroyed, binned any comments that was negative of them or their teaching. So personally I am not surprised when this new procedure was introduced.

    In spite of this, I support my union in this stance against the new, flawed, non-consulted module evaluation form and I call on fellow colleagues in ACE to protest against its implementation. Follow my lead.

  9. anon says:

    I am surprised that this new system has been introduced as I had heard nothing about it before hand. I have always asked students to evaluate my modules and teaching but the entire new process of not being able to even touch the evaluation sheets (I have to give them to a student, who distributes and collects them) makes me feel as if I am not trusted by UEL.

    The evaluation is meant to be an end of module evaluation so asking students to complete it in week 9 doesnt make sense.

    Students, when they complete the forms are also likely to blame the module leader for any structural events which happened outside of the module leaders control such as staff shortages for tutorials, poor room facilties etc. which is ok providing that its not the lecturer who is held to account for these shortcomings. Unfortunately it is not clear where the results of this module evaluation will go to and therefore not clear who will get the blame.

    The insistance that students fill in the evaluation there and then doesnt take account of students with disabilities. Personally I prefer the old system of letting students fill in module evaluations on-line which also lets them fill it in in their own time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *