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An Obligatory Ordeal: Course Feedback

Feb 14, 2016|2 minutes

Saswat Abhinab

Amruthavarshini Mahankali


Education is an exquisite amalgamation of two indispensible processes-teaching and learning. Standing as an institute of National Importance, NITR has an unquestionable team of enthusiastic learners and vibrant teachers. To set the groove alive for every semester, there are grade cards for the former and the lesser known feedback mechanism for the latter, for retrospection and improvement.

The present feed-back mechanism comes into force, as soon as the classes of each semester, nearly get over. The feedback portal opens for a stipulated period, in which the students are expected to go through a series of multiple choice questions pertaining to the curriculum, teaching and application of the theory and lab courses they’ve attended during that semester and rate them from a scale of 0 to 10.The comments and suggestions box for every course is provided at the bottom, so that valuable and useful ideas can be taken a look at. The summary of all the comments and the average of the scores thus given are outsourced to the faculty concerned, the Dean (Academic) – Prof. B. Majhi and the Academic Oversight Committee Chairman – Prof. M. Panda, while keeping the identities of the students confidential. Based on the above mechanism, if the averages are less than 50%, the professors are counselled to achieve clarity regarding the problems faced by both the professor and the students. In severe and repeated cases, the faculty is abstained from taking that particular course for the next batches.

In a system wherein the students have a direct say about the teaching method and manner of our institute, it is a matter of concern if there are problems which have to be addressed. Keeping in view the tedious filling up of forms by the students and the obvious flaws in the mechanism, Team MM caught up with Prof. Majhi to shed light onto doubts and provide solutions to some of the issues bothering the students.

MM: On many instances, it has been observed that few of the questions for a course are not relevant for that particular theory or a lab course. How is the irrelevancy of certain questions going to be addressed?

BM: The format for the feedback has been prepared in general for all the laboratory courses and theory courses and it is possible that a few questions are irrelavant for a specific course.This will be looked into henceforth, as the feedback forms would be first sent to the respective Heads of the Departments to omit unnecessary questions so that the students do not face any further problem.

MM Suggestion: Along with the ratings from 1 to 10, a ‘not applicable’ radio button can be added so that the student can choose this option when he comes across such a question.

MM: With 25 odd questions for each course, it becomes tedious for the students to fill the forms up for dozens of courses, which is when they randomly start marking the responses. How is this to be dealt with?

BM: The decrease in the number of questions will be moderated by the respective Heads of the Departments, as said earlier. However, it is advised to the students to go through all the questions carefully and give their feedback, because their responses cater to the interests of the faculty, future students who study under that professor and the institute.

MM: If a student doesn’t fill up the feedback at the end of the semester, he is disallowed from viewing his mark sheet after the results are published. Why has the process been made compulsory?

BM: For a noble cause like improving the standards of teaching and learning system in our institute, it is essential for all the students to be a part of it. If a student is not participating by giving the feedback, it means that he does not want any kind of sustainability or a change in the system, which demoralizes the teaching fraternity**. “Every single feedback form, holds its importance in initiating a change where there is necessity of it, which is of utmost importance for the growth of the future students and the institute.”**

MM: Is there a system to give feedback in between the semester rather than at the end, when it does the current batch practically no good? If possible, can the feedback be shifted to just-after mid semester exams, so that the current batch also enjoys the benefit of an improved teaching?

BM:

“There’s no need for a feedback mechanism in the middle of a semester as there is a direct channel to report difficulties. A student facing any problem related to academics and professors is free to approach me.

I also send group-mails from time to time as an attempt to help the teaching and learning process to improve. However, the suggestion of shifting the course-feedback to just before mid-sems is appreciable and will be looked into, in the coming semesters.

The feedback mechanism adopted by the institute even though not impeccable, has been of a considerable impact on changing the status-quo of the teaching and learning barriers to an extent. However, efficient prospects can be taken into consideration to avoid the persistence of the present problems, which will surely see the bright future of a good education system.

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