S2-CDISC1-3 - Using instant student satisfaction ratings to investigate large scale practical laboratory teaching

3. Research Work In Progress
Adam Funnell1
1 Multidisciplinary Engineering Education, University of Sheffield, UK

We describe the analysis of a rich and granular dataset of student satisfaction with individual lab teaching sessions. In the department of Multidisciplinary Engineering Education, University of Sheffield, a team of dedicated staff design and deliver a range of practical activities acrossengineering disciplines. Each laboratory activity is meticulously planned and designed, but the broader environmental factors of large scale practical teaching (e.g. class size, timing etc.) are generally fixed, constrained or not considered. Broad module surveys can capture free-form feedback, but this data lacks the granularity to explore individual lab sessions.

To measure instant student satisfaction with every individual laboratory activity, data was gathered using tablet computers situated at the exits to the laboratory. Students were invited to rate their satisfaction on leaving the session using a 4-point ”smiley-face” scale. Over 6 weeks, 95 individual lab sessions were captured, covering three different teaching environments: a 144 seat electronics lab, a 15 seat motors and machines lab, and a teaching cleanroom. The simplicity of the response method elicited a reasonable overall response rate of 43%.

Although the 4 point rating scale does not permit in-depth analysis of the reasons for each student’s feedback, whether positive or negative, it does allow a search for correlation between a range of environmental factors. The effect of the number of students per session, and number of students per postgraduate teaching assistant on student satisfaction is considered. The effects of time of day, day of week and duration of session are also explored, alongside the timekeeping of the session e.g. did the laboratory activity take longer or shorter than the timetabled duration. Due to the multidisciplinary engineering teaching approach, the same lab session is often delivered to several different discipline cohorts and years of study - their relative satisfaction with the same practical activity is compared.