Feb. 20, 2024

UCalgary’s student learning feedback mechanism gets new name, new questions

Universal Student Rating of Instruction is now UCalgary Course Experience Survey
hands on a laptop
Pexels photo by Daniel Thomas

Tell us what you think: Something we have grown accustomed to hearing in the time of Google reviews and restaurant rating systems. For students, feedback is a critical element of their time on campus, since their learning experiences have the potential to enhance the teaching practices in their courses for future students. 

The University of Calgary embarked on a journey in 2022 to update the Universal Student Ratings of Instruction, or USRI, a tool that has been around since the 1990s. The USRI has two parts: an institutional survey asked to all students, and faculty forms that are specific to each faculty. 

After the USRI Working Group completed a review on the system, they issued a report that provided 43 recommendations to overhaul the course feedback system, including the technology used and the questions being asked to students in the institutional survey. 

The technology shift to Explorance Blue began in summer 2023 in a phased approach to bring faculties on board over the course of an academic year. And to update the institutional core questions? Enter the Course Feedback Implementation Working Group (CFIWG). 

CFIWG spent the better part of a year consulting the academic community and graduate and undergraduate students, increasing the accessibility of the questions and focusing them on a student’s personal learning experience within a course. The questions are also informed by research in student engagement and student learning. 

In December 2023, General Faculties Council approved a new name, UCalgary Course Experience Survey, and the six new core questions students will begin to see later this year.

“It’s been an incredible journey to get to today, with a modern technology platform and updated questions to guide the course experience survey forward,” says Dr. Wendy Benoit, interim vice-provost (teaching and learning). “These questions will give better insights into the student experience, something we are deeply committed to at UCalgary, as we have seen articulated in Ahead of Tomorrow, the new strategic plan.”

The technology refresh is also nearly done — the remaining faculties are being onboarded in the Winter 2024 term, bringing all faculties together on the same platform. Course experience surveys are released every term for student feedback, now through a direct email to students from UCalgary Course Experience Surveys.

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