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Unit and Teaching Evaluation Instrument (UTEI)

The Unit and Teaching Evaluation Instrument (UTEI) is an online survey that gives you the opportunity to provide feedback on the content of your units, as well as your satisfaction with various aspects of the teaching and its effectiveness.

For most units, an email is distributed to students with a unique survey link, one per unit at around week 12 of semester. The surveys remain open for around five weeks.

For some non-regular units, students are directed instead to a Student Portal link (UTEI Surveys, under Easy Logins). Many WAAPA units are handled this way.

Timing may be a little different for units that do not start and finish according to standard semester timetables.

The Unit and Teaching Evaluation Instrument (UTEI) is an online survey that gives you the opportunity to provide feedback on the content of your units, as well as your satisfaction with various aspects of the teaching and its effectiveness The survey includes ratings-type questions and space for written comments.

Summaries of the ratings, along with the verbatim written comments are made available to the teaching staff and their academic line managers (unit, course, discipline coordinators) to review student perceptions of unit and teaching quality, and to assess where improvements might be made.

Student names and IDs are not attached to any reported results. Student comments are included verbatim in the results.

UTEI results are only made available to teaching staff once unit grades are submitted. The more detailed the feedback you provide in your comments, the more useful it is to teachers.

However, if you are genuinely concerned about being identified, you may want to avoid mentioning issues in a way that clearly identifies you.

The university welcomes fair and constructive comments. ECU’s teaching staff need to know when things work well and, of course, when they require improving.

However, it is important to provide feedback in ways that will be helpful. If you wish to criticise a unit and/or a teacher, it is important to do so in a respectful fashion which aligns with the Student Code of Conduct.

Criticism of units or teaching should be made constructively, in the same way that you would expect constructive feedback on your academic work. The University reserves the right to delete any offensive or defamatory responses.

The UTEI is an important part of the University's quality assurance processes. The University uses the UTEI data to review units and the teaching quality, to identify strengths and weaknesses and make necessary improvements.

Each year Unit Coordinators are required to review all aspects of their units, including the UTEI feedback, and to critically reflect on any required changes. The outcomes from the reviews flow to the relevant Course Coordinator.

The UTEI data is also used in Major Course Reviews, and in the various course accreditation exercises the University is required to complete.

The ECU the needs of the students are our highest priority, and the University will seek continuously to improve the quality of its courses and services to students.

Students are in a good position to evaluate teaching and unit quality because most have been immersed in the experience for 12 weeks or more. Student evaluations of teaching staff are not without controversy, but many studies have indicated that student ratings are generally valid and reliable. McKeachie (1997), in a review of a series of articles by noted researchers in the field claims

"All of the authors (and I join them) agree that student ratings are the single most valid source of data on teaching effectiveness."

Mc Keachie, W. J. (1997). Student ratings: the validity of use. American Psychologist, 52, 1218 - 1225.

The Commonwealth Government, via TEQSA (Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency) has made it clear that universities need to seek student feedback, and that this will form one aspect of TEQSA's quality monitoring activity.

ECU uses UTEI data in its teaching award processes. It is important to celebrate outstanding teachers, and the UTEI is a critical aspect of this.

Yes, your UTEI feedback matters! ECU prides itself on providing a supportive, enriching learning experience for students, with high quality teaching at its heart. It is essential that we consult with you on this, through surveys such as the UTEI as well as major sector surveys such as the QILT SES.

Teaching staff regard the UTEI information seriously and use it to make improvements to the unit and their teaching. Student feedback can play a role in the career progression of academic staff.

It is important to bear in mind that the more students in each class who participate in the process, the more likely the results will be viewed as reliable; and the more considered and constructive the comments, the more likely it is they will be acted upon.

Unit Coordinators are strongly encouraged to acknowledge student feedback, in particular by indicating to new classes how student feedback has played a role in the unit delivery and teaching. Feel free to ask for such information of your Unit Coordinator if it is not already provided.

We appreciate the time students spend providing their valuable feedback. As a token of gratitude, we enter all students who have completed a UTEI survey into a prize draw. These are conducted twice per year.

Details of prize incentives can be found in emails distributed to students at the time of the surveys. A list of previous winners (including for other student surveys) can be found here.

UTEI unit, lecturer and tutor school reports are publicly available.

The UTEI requires good response rates, more than any other large scale student survey at ECU. This is because the results are often reported in quite small chunks, and for individual teachers.

We usually try to avoid distracting our busy students, but the validity and reliability of the results are very dependent on good response rates. Our system is designed to send email reminders only to those students who have not completed a UTEI.

If you don't get around to it the first time, we hope any follow-up emails act as a useful reminder.

The intention of the UTEI is to gather data that can inform the improvements of our units and teaching for the next time. It takes some time to collect the responses, to check, clean and aggregate the data and to report to the teaching staff.

This requires us to commence and complete  the data collection before the semester has entirely finished. For standard semester-based units we usually begin the UTEIs in week 12, and send reminder emails over the following weeks.

For most units this also gives lecturers and tutors the opportunity to remind students in class of the importance of completing UTEIs.

The Schools are responsible for ensuring the correct teaching staff are entered into the survey system.

In the unlikely event that you cannot find the correct teacher (lecturer/tutor) please skip that section of the survey. Your feedback on other sections is still valuable.

You can either reply to the invitation/reminder email or contact your school to let them know of the problem.

Who should I contact for further information?

Please email utei@ecu.edu.au.

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