By Vincent Franz
Editor’s note: This news story is part of a collaboration between The Herring and AUC’s journalism course. The story was entirely reported, written, edited, and fact checked by members of the journalism course. Some material may have been altered by The Herring’s editors to fit its style guidelines.
–Over the past weeks the AUC Student Council (AUCSC) has been piloting a new course evaluation procedure that would enable students to more actively shape how their courses are being taught. The idea is that each course elects two representatives from their ranks who throughout the semester collect and convey feedback directly to their course teachers or their respective heads of studies. This way, the student council hopes to give the students a more significant voice regarding the contents and requirements of their studies.
More than 15 teachers from across all AUC faculties have already volunteered to offer their course as a testing ground to this new method. Besides the midterm evaluation forms AUC students are already familiar with, the teachers let their courses elect class representatives to lead the feedback discussion without the teacher present. The representatives were tasked with transcribing the discussion and compiling a report to be submitted to the teacher and the Student Council. The aim of this is to create a more transparent discourse between students and teachers and help implement changes to a course more purposefully.
Ellen Ackroyd, a second-year Social Science major and the student council member overseeing the pilot says: “The reports that I have read so far show that there are many issues which could be addressed on the faculty level as well as on the course level.” According to Ackroyd, the initial idea came from AUC students who went on exchange to Quest University, where course feedback through class representatives is firmly established.
Andrè Nusselder, who teaches the Posthuman course in its first semester at AUC and volunteered to participate in the pilot, says: “I do believe that open dialogue produces much more valuable feedback than the evaluation forms currently provided by the university.” Nusselder believes the report contained very useful information to shape his new course more accordingly to the needs and prerequisites of AUC students, which he hopes will improve the learning experience and teaching quality on both sides.
Manon Falces, a third-year Humanities major, who volunteered as a course representative in Nusselder’s class, says: “I think that the feedback has been well received by both students and teacher. We got a chance to see direct improvement, and are looking forward to see this as a step towards better overall communication between faculty and students.” During their class-discussion, the Posthuman students quickly addressed the issues of most concern to the students. Instead of ticking boxes, the students openly discussed all the elements they liked, what was lacking, and what more they would like to learn, prompting many constructive suggestions for the improvement of the course.
Ackroyd is planning to submit her report to the AUC management after spring break. The management, however, is yet undecided whether the idea of the Student Council is going to be implemented as college policy.