Simon Fraser University is committed to providing effective and engaging learning experiences for students. Gathering feedback on a regular basis from students is beneficial information for instructors, departmental and Faculty leadership, as well as the institution. The CES (Course Experience Survey) program collects, analyzes, and disseminates student feedback about their learning experiences in courses. It is intended to capture crucial student feedback and provide voice to students in how they experience academic programs at SFU, and is used by members of the SFU community to:

  • Provide information to instructors for the purposes of reflection on how they can improve their students’ learning experiences

Instructors play a critical role in how students engage with the course, which in turn impacts how well they learn. Instructor choices (i.e., how they interact with students, facilitate learning activities) can assist learning, but can also impede learning. CES should help instructors determine the areas of their practice that could be improved, and which areas are their strengths.

  • Present academic leadership (Chairs and Directors, Deans) with information about how a particular course was experienced by students

This information can guide future course assignments, student recruitment, or highlight issues that may require follow-up. Information in CES reports should offer academic leadership insight into how students experienced the course (i.e., teaching and assessment practices).

  • Provide programs with information about student perspectives regarding how the course contributes to their program of study

CES reports can be useful in understanding student perceptions of course design and assessment decisions (i.e., difficulty, work load, relationship between courses, relevance or inclusivity of topics/authors). However, CES reports cannot provide programs with information about academic or educational goals achievement.

  • Allow students to reflect on their own learning

When we prompt students to think about what aspects of a course helped them learn, we are not only opening a dialogue with them, we are also encouraging them to think about their own learning process. By providing an opportunity to critically examine their experience, students could further strengthen and develop their metacognition and self-awareness skills and gain insight into which learning strategies work well for themselves.

  • Provide Senior Leadership data about strategic educational initiatives

By combining data across the university, Senior Leaders will be able to get a sense of how students are experiencing broad ranging efforts to improve academic quality and curriculum.

  • Submit information to Tenure and Promotion Committees (TPCs)

CES can be used in biennial review and tenure/promotion decisions through providing information about how students experienced an individual’s teaching, and providing an opportunity for instructors to reflect on and adapt their practices in response. This reflection and iterative engagement in adaptation of teaching practices is considered to be at the core of what makes an excellent teacher.