Undergraduate Teaching 2018-19

Student surveys and giving feedback on the course

Student surveys and giving feedback on the course

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Your feedback is essential for informing the development of the Tripos.  Staff take it very seriously and every year it leads to real changes, for example:

  • the introduction of the Dyson Centre
  • the redesign of the Department’s Library
  • extending the Part IB exam period
  • introducing more practical Part I lab sessions
  • more staff training on supporting students with mental health difficulties.

We appreciate that it can feel like you are being bombarded with requests to complete surveys so this page gives details of the feedback mechanisms which the Department particularly values.

Summary of feedback mechanisms

Best for . . . Examples Feedback mechanism
Immediate action during a module or lecture course and/or quick fixes Workload, pace, Moodle problems, presentation style, inappropriate behaviours etc Fast feedback facility
Recommending more fundamental changes for future years and/or giving feedback on the year as a whole Course content, assessment methods, supervision system, coursework, lectures etc Annual course survey
Celebrating great lecturers Most inspirational, clearest, funniest lecturer – you decide Best lecturers awards
Influencing the public perception of the course (league tables, prospective students’ views etc) Overall satisfaction, learning resources, learning opportunities, organisation and management etc NSS (IIB students only)


Departmental surveys

Course/module surveys

For each module and coursework activity staff should give you 5 minutes within lab/lecture time to complete a short mobile-friendly survey.  The results of these surveys will be considered by the lecturers/coursework leaders concerned as well as the Teaching Office and Department's Teaching Committee. Please complete them as they will provide the detailed feedback on your courses which we need to make improvements. 

Answers are kept completely anonymous and no reference to the computer user is made in any output from the survey program.

You can also see an archive of past survey results.

Part IIA supervisor survey

Part IIA students also have their own survey and fast feedback facility for supervisors.

Best lecturers awards

All students are encouraged to vote online for their 'best' lecturers.  You decide what ‘best’ means to you and you can update your choices until the end of Easter Term. In each year of the Tripos the three lecturers with the most votes per students taking the course are awarded a prize (a minimum of three nominations is required to be considered). 

Fast feedback facility

The Fast feedback facility (FFF) can be used to send rapid messages to warn teaching staff of problems as they arise (or to complement them on a job well done).  It’s particularly effective for flagging issues which can be fixed straight away.

Messages sent to the FFF are anonymised (email addresses are hidden).  In order for the system to work, it is necessary to specify the general topic area of each comment using the menus at the top of the comment window.  All fast feedback traffic is monitored (before anonymisation) by the Director of Undergraduate Education.

If you have any problems with the FFF please contact the Director of Undergraduate Education.

University-wide surveys

Every year you will be asked to participate in one University-wide survey (either the Student Barometer or National Student Survey, depending on your year).  The surveys allow the University to compare your experiences with those of students in other departments and other universities.  It is particularly important for the Department that Part IIB students complete the NSS as we need a critical mass for the data to be meaningful and the results have a real impact on the public perception of your course. 

As these are national surveys the questions may not be an ideal fit for the Cambridge context, e.g. much of the feedback that you’ll receive on your performance will be via the supervision system so please consider this in your responses. See the Department's statement on assessment types & expectations for further info.

All responses are anonymised before they are seen by the Department.

  Student Barometer (SB) National Student Survey (NSS)
Population Part IA, IB and IIA students Part IIB students
Timing Michaelmas Term (mid-November-early December) Lent Term (early January-early April)
Purpose Tracking and comparing the decision-making, expectations, perceptions and intentions of students from application to the end of the BA.  The NSS provides IIB students with an opportunity to provide honest feedback about their experiences at CUED (from IA through to IIB). 
Use of data within the University The Department’s Faculty Board and Teaching Committee will scrutinise the results to see whether changes that we’ve made in response to your feedback have been effective and to identify where further actions are needed. The results are also scrutinized by the University’s central bodies and any areas of concern are followed up with CUED.  The results play an important role in steering the evolution of the Tripos and are considered by the Faculty Board and Teaching Committee.  The Teaching Office produces an action plan each year detailing how it will address any concerns. The results are also scrutinized by the University’s central bodies and any areas of concern are followed up with CUED. 
Use of data outside University The SB allows for both national and international benchmarking but the data will not be made publically available. Provided that >50% of the cohort complete the NSS the results (but no students comments) are published on www.unistats.com so that prospective students can make informed decisions about where and what to study.  They are also used to inform various national league tables.
Result and action archive CUED students will complete the SB for the first time in 2017.  Results will be published here when they are available. NSS results and action plans


Last updated on 07/08/2019 12:28