Getting Student Feedback using Facebook and Google Forms

Introduction to the world of student feedback

by Eryk Gadomski

In September 2016 I got elected to be the University of Derby year 1 Biology representative. As I started the role I realised that a programme representative has an abundance of responsibilities, the main one being collecting feedback from students. In this short but sweet article I shall discuss my decision to choose certain programmes and social media sites, their strengths and weaknesses, and finally what the future holds in collecting feedback.  

Making the right choice

I am not going to be like Alexander Fleming, the Scottish biologist who took all the credit for the discovery of penicillin, instead I am going to be fair and give the credit to those that helped. It was not just me who set up the “UoD Biological and Forensic Science Feedback and Discussion” group page. Myself and Brook Smith – who is the year 1 forensic science programmer representative, both came up with the idea to create a multi-course platform for all the students in year 1. The Facebook group page would include all programme reps and students from Biology, Zoology, Human Biology, Biomedical Science, Forensic Science, and all the joint honour programmes. Thus on 25th of October 2016 the group page was created.   

The idea of the page was to create a site where all the programme reps could easily communicate with their students and vice versa. Firstly, we got all the registered representative on the group page, so that we could make them admins and thus enabling them to add content, ask questions, create polls etc. Once we got the programme representatives on the page I asked everyone to advertise it through their social media profiles and messenger group chats. As it stands today the group page has ten admins and 104 members from across five different courses in the first year. Once I had a communication platform sorted, the next challenge was to find a way of collecting feedback which I could present to the members of staff in the programme committee meetings. 

In the beginning, I tried to use a poll to see this method of gathering feedback worked for the students.

Although, some people did voted, there were 54 members that have seen it but did not press the button to vote. It is still a mystery to me as to why someone can see something online but not respond to it. I mean it’s just a click of a button! However, even with a couple of responses I took this information and went ahead with the use of the group page as a way of gathering feedback. Next I posted a question to find out what did people thought of the “Evolution of Life” coursework. The programme committee meeting was approaching and I needed some data. However, this sort of backfired.

 

The word trust has a lot of meaning. I understood why some people commented and wanted to know specifics of how I was going to anonymise their responses. The students were not satisfied with this method, so I took their advice and looked in to some free survey programmes. The two that came up were survey monkey as suggested and google forms. I choose google forms as I had previous experience with it during my A-levels. There were other reasons but, that’s in the later part of the article. That evening I created a short survey which would collect both qualitative and quantitative data. I sent it out and got some responses. I could then use this data in the programme committee meeting. I also emailed the results to both the module and programme leader for their own evaluation.  

Google forms worked really well. I got 29 responses, both the programme and module leader were happy with the level of data which was received. Following the success I sat down with my programme leader to talk about my representative situation. He suggested to me that rather than having a survey for each module it would be better to have one feedback site for the students. I had a think about it and so I created “The Reps Letterbox”. The reps letterbox is an online feedback questionnaire powered by google forms, that all students on the group page have access to. Alongside this I created a reps only messenger group chat, because if an issue came up for a zoology representative I could simply put it on the chat for them to deal with. This method has a lot of trust involved between myself and the other programme representatives of the corresponding courses. 

 

 

 

 

 

Along the way I had to make some changed to accompany the seriousness of some issues. This year I have added an optional section called “Your Name/Contact Details (Optional)”. This came about as some feedback can be considered as a serious issue which would require a name or contact information, so that if the issue is taken further up the chain that person can be contacted to discuss their opinion or their own account of the events. Unfortunately, the reps letterbox isn’t as used as much as I would have hoped it would be. 

The Strengths & The Weaknesses

When me and brook made the Facebook group page it was quite easy to set up and now it is quite easy to maintain. One of the issues that we talked about was weather to have an open or closed group. Each has pros and cons. If we had an open group then none of us would have to accept each and every member that requested, we would sent out a link to everyone and boom people would have joined by simply pressing a button. However we would not have the control on who is adding themselves to the group. On the other hand, the closed group has that control, you have to accept each and every member but, this can be time consuming. We decided to go for a closed group as the control allowed us to see who wants to join and also it kept the group private.  

The Facebook group page has been quite successful in letting students and representatives share information for revision and coursework purposes. Last semester during exam season a couple of representatives were sharing useful videos which helped students who were struggling in their chemistry of life module. I shared some links to websites which helped students understand the SPSS programme. In general programme representatives posted deadlines, reminders and sometimes necessary emails from programme leaders to inform their students. We all united to help each other to understand the complicated and mysterious world of science. 

 

 

Our Facebook group page has a lot of positives and only minor negatives. Whereas, the google forms programme is much more varied in my opinion. I choose google forms as it was quick and easy to access on my computer as it links to my google account. The key word in the last sentence is computer because using google forms on my phone was quite tricky. On my computer I could easily see all the forms that I created in one section however, on my phone it jumbled up all my google docs, google sheets and google forms. It was very disorganised. Also a huge issue I had was sharing my content. When I created “The Reps Letterbox” I was the only one with control over it, the other programme reps had no control and had to put their trust in me that I would tell them what was written by the students. I have built a good relationship with all the representatives in the biological and forensic science this allowed me to gain their trust. However, if I was on the opposite side of the fence, then I would like to have that unlimited insight into the reps letterbox and not wait for someone to tell me when they have time.  

On the other hand, google forms offers a good set of qualitative and quantitative questions. You have a huge variety of open and closed questions which include short & long answer text boxes, multiple choice, drop box, check box, and linear scale. The customisation is a nice touch as it allows you to create a brand new survey from scratch and make it distinguishable from all the other surveys that you have made. I had a great time adding pictures, changing the colour of the background, and changing the order of the questions so that the survey has more flow to it. I am quite glad that once I made all the questions up I could change the order of them. For a person with low experience in creating questionnaires I found google forms accessible, quick, and simple to use and customise.       

Future of collecting feedback

I think that the Facebook group page worked well this year. Everyone has benefited from it in some shape or form, whether it was work alerts, useful revision tips or feedback from meetings. I think that It was a success and that all representatives from different collages should use it. In addition, the same applies to my google forms questionnaires, I think the questions were not ambiguous and the anonymity gave all students privacy and freedom to say whatever they want. So overall I cannot see why there is a low responses rate for the questionnaires or the Facebook group page. However, one possible answer could be student participation. It is difficult as a rep to get feedback, a rep can try and try again, by in the end of the day you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink. I can write here and say I’m done, but that would mean giving up on the students and the future of the university. Soon I will create a small survey to see what people thought of their experience and what they want to change. Then I’ll go from there and see how I can improve this for next time, but also use it as experience to further develop myself.

10 Days of Twitter for UOD: Day 10 Past and Future

Welcome to the last day of the 10DoTUOD!

Todays Post will be about the Past and Future of your Twitter account

The Past 

Depending on how long you have had your Twitter account, you can produce thousands of tweets! Sometimes we may want to discard and reuse a tweet.

Deleting a tweet 

You can delete your own tweets, by clicking “more” on the righthand side of your tweet, then click “delete tweet”.

If you make a mistake in a tweet, it might be less confusing to send another tweet with a correction rather than delete one that people may already have seen.

Tweet Urls 

You can save a link to individual tweets. Each tweet has its own URL. To find this, you click on “more” on the righthand side of your tweet, click “copy link to tweet”. It will take you to the URL of that individual tweet, which you can copy and paste.

You can save it, bookmark it, embed it in a website, or email it to people. However it might not be the best way to present your Tweets to someone. 

Your Twitter Archive

If you want a copy of all your tweets, then Twitter can send you an archive of everything you’ve tweeted.

  1. Click on “Profile and Settings”.
  2. Then “settings and privacy”
  3. At the bottom of the account page you will see “your twitter achieve” and Click “send email”.
  4. When you have the sent email, you will get redirected back to Twitter from a link. You can download all the information from your account, including your Tweet history in an Excel format. 

3rd Party Websites 

Storify

Using this 3rd party application is a useful way to keep tweets, especially for others. Storify is the tool which makes a narrative overview of tweets and other social media by linking to content on the web, including tweets, websites and blogs, Facebook posts, Youtube videos or photos on Flickr.

The Future: Scheduling 

Our future tweets and how to manage them?

You can schedule tweets to send themselves automatically in the Future. You can’t do this from Twitter itself, but will need to use one of the additional apps. 

Although Twitter is a medium which captures the moment, there are several reasons why you might want to schedule tweets for a later time. Not only can this save you time, it can make sure tweets are consistent and targetable to your audience. 

Hootsuite 

Using this tool can help you to preform many tasks. Scheduling is one useful feature to plan Tweets ahead. When you have signed up or logged in, you simply click on the calendar icon, write your tweet, set a time and date and click schedule. #Simple 

Ten Days of Twitter for Learning Developers was originally adapted from a similar programme for STEM researchers, also created by Helen Webster. The materials are available under a Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-SA.

Ten Days of Twitter has been adapted by Technology Enhanced Learningfor use at UOD, and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 Unported License.

We are extremely grateful for the work put in by Helen Webster, the LD5Digital Things team and the University of Sussex’s Technology Enhanced Learning Team, and for sharing their great resources with the community!

 

 

10 Days of Twitter for UOD: Day 9 Managing Information

Welcome to day 9 of 10 Days of Twitter for UOD

Todays video is all about how to keep track of the interesting tweets and links to webpages etc which you might want to follow up on.


Twitter itself has a few features which can help you stay on top of all the information.

Favourites

If you see a tweet which interests you and which you’d like to come back to later, you can mark it as a ‘favourite’ and it will be stored for you to return to. To mark a tweet as a ‘favourite’, hover over the tweet, and a star icon will appear below it, along with ‘retweet’ and some other functions.

Search

You can also search for tweets, by username, hashtag or just by a keyword. The search box is at the top of the screen in the right hand corner. You can also organise the search results by top (most popular) topics, all results, or limit the results just to the people you follow. Once you have searched, a small ‘settings’ cog icon will appear next to the ‘search’ box (not the main cog icon at the top right of the screen!). If this is a search you might repeat regularly, click on this, and you can save the search so you don’t need to keep performing it – useful if you’re following a hash tagged discussion. You could also perform an advanced search using this icon- you can narrow down the tweets you’re looking for by word or by the person sending or receiving it, or by location.

Trending

In the left hand column, Twitter will also show you what hashtags are popular at the moment. This may or may not be of much use to you! You can narrow the trends down by location, by clicking on ‘Change’ in this box, but if you are networking at a national or international level, this may not be very helpful.

Ten Days of Twitter for Learning Developers was originally adapted from a similar programme for STEM researchers, also created by Helen Webster. The materials are available under a Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-SA.

Ten Days of Twitter has been adapted by Technology Enhanced Learningfor use at UOD, and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 Unported License.

We are extremely grateful for the work put in by Helen Webster, the LD5Digital Things team and the University of Sussex’s Technology Enhanced Learning Team, and for sharing their great resources with the community!

10 Days of Twitter for UOD: Day 8 Managing People

Welcome to day 8! Today you will be learning about Managing People on your Twitter account. 

So hopefully you have gained a larger following since day 1, and now want  to segment these accounts into lists. 

You might want to group the people you follow based on your relationship with them, Some examples might be:

  • Services at your institution
  • Colleagues and peers 
  • Professional or funding bodies
  • News accounts
  • Social, personal or fun accounts

Twitter Lists

Twitter has a feature which allows you to make lists of people. These lists can be private, so only you and others added into the list can see them, or they might be public so you can share them with others.

To create a list:

  1. Go to the gear icon at the top right of the page.
  2. Select ‘Lists’
  3. On the left of the screen Click on ‘Create list’
  4. Add a name and a brief description about the list being created. This description will be very helpful if you decide to make the list public, so others can find and subscribe to it.

Adding members to your list: 

  1. You will now be invited to search for people to add to your list. You can also add them later, by clicking on their @name and going to their profile.
  2. Next to the “Follow” button, you will see another icon called “more user actions”.
  3. If you click on this, you will see a menu containing the option ‘add or remove from lists’, then simply add an account to your list! #simple 

Other 3rd Party Apps

  1. Tweetdeck: Owned by Twitter, useful to manage more than one account. For example personal and professional use. 
  2. Hootsuite: A  similar application to Tweetdeck, but allows you to also import other social media accounts such as Facebook and Instagram. Unlike Tweetdeck, it can be downloaded as an app for mobile devices. 

If you are interested in learning more about these tools watch some how to videos on youtube 🙂 

10 Days of Twitter UOD: Day 7 Hashtags

Welcome to 10 Days of Twitter UOD Day 7! 

Today we are learning about how and why we should hashtag content

What are the benefits of Hashtagging?

Basically, the hashtag is a form of metadata. A # in front of a word signals that it is a keyword of some sort, tagging that tweet with a hash symbol (hence hash-tag). This means that you can easily search for all other tweets by other people containing that word similarly marked with a hashtag symbol. In fact, you don’t even need to search – if you click on any hashtagged term, it will search for you.

How do you think Hashtagging is useful?

Hashtags really come in useful in academia in three ways.

  • An open, extended discussion
  • Livechat
  • Livetweeting

In this short video, it will show you how to hashtag as well as examples of content that could be hashtagged.

Ten Days of Twitter for Learning Developers was originally adapted from a similar programme for STEM researchers, also created by Helen Webster. The materials are available under a Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-SA.

Ten Days of Twitter has been adapted by Technology Enhanced Learning for use at UOD, and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 Unported License.

We are extremely grateful for the work put in by Helen Webster, the LD5Digital Things team and the University of Sussex’s Technology Enhanced Learning Team, and for sharing their great resources with the community!

10 Days of Twitter UOD Day 6: Retweeting

Welcome to 10 Days of Twitter UOD Day 6! 

Today we are learning about how and why we should retweet content

What are the benefits of Retweeting?

  • Gives us more enriching content 
  • Gain a good reputation 
  • Followers may find the retweeted content beneficial 
  • Larger accounts who originally tweeted the post you retweeted might pay attention to your account 

How do I Retweet?

At the bottom of every tweet, there are various buttons. We are specifically looking for the one with two arrows, which should also say right next it to “Retweet”. 

We are then given an option to add a comment (which could make the post more visible) or to straightforward Retweet. 

In this short video, it will show you how to retweet as well as examples of content that could be retweeted. 

Ten Days of Twitter for Learning Developers was originally adapted from a similar programme for STEM researchers, also created by Helen Webster. The materials are available under a Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-SA.

Ten Days of Twitter has been adapted by Technology Enhanced Learning for use at UOD, and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 Unported License.

We are extremely grateful for the work put in by Helen Webster, the LD5Digital Things team and the University of Sussex’s Technology Enhanced Learning Team, and for sharing their great resources with the community!