Keele University appoints Explorance to supply module evaluation system

Keele University has partnered with Explorance to implement a new module evaluation system that will enable delivery of a more “consistent and efficient” approach to capturing student feedback. The University, which has approximately 12,500 students, had previously used different survey systems across its three faculties and sought a single external solution.

Keele appointed Explorance through the APUC multi-supplier UK education sector framework for the supply of student module evaluation systems and associated services to HE and FE institutions. The framework agreement is open to member institutions within the UK universities procurement consortia, meaning they can use the framework and have the option to appoint Explorance through a direct award as the ranked number one supplier via APUC.

Ed McCauley, the University’s Quality Assurance Manager, explained the “step change” that was anticipated through implementing Explorance’s Blue course evaluation software.

“Until now we have had a variety of systems supporting module evaluation across our academic schools, with operational processes managed locally,” he said. “We recognised an opportunity to improve the efficiency of our approach by reducing the amount of manual work, time and effort involved in supporting the process, software set-up and data handling, so the efficiency question was top of my mind.”

The project was co-sponsored by the University’s Pro Vice-Chancellor (Education), Professor Kristyan Spelman Miller, and Academic Registrar, Victoria Macfarlane. It sits within the context of a renewed approach to student feedback and the development of a new policy.

“Institutionally, we recognise the importance of a coordinated approach to student evaluation, as a critical component in supporting our strategy for enhancement, and this is why we established a project group,” Ed revealed. “Having drafted our requirements it was clear from the responses from Explorance that they met everything we were looking for. We were particularly impressed with the functionality that would validate data and the ability to amend inaccurate data on our supporting systems, as well as the reporting potential. It is clearly very user friendly, for staff and students, and we also felt we could benefit from the wider Explorance community, Bluenotes conference and events, and the opportunity to interact with other universities about how they are using the system.”

Pilot evaluations will now get underway later the academic year ahead of wider roll-out in 2023-24, aligned to the policy development work being led by Professor Spelman Miller. “We are looking forward to getting some real insights on student views, having the ability to analyse data by different student demographics, and delving deeper into experiences across the institution which can get lost in a generic set of surveys, for example those studying apprenticeships or students with disabilities,” Ed said. “Success is seeing this embedded across the University, being viewed as a professional system that academics and students find works for them, and that this results in good response rates.”

John Atherton, General Manager – Europe and Africa, at Explorance, added: “We are really pleased to be working with Keele University and supporting its academic standards and quality team in their mission for programme enhancement. As well as end-of-semester module evaluation surveys, we look forward to exploring other ways that our software solution can work for them in gathering and analysing student voice.”

In the UK, Explorance now supplies its Blue software to over 20 universities: Aberdeen, Birkbeck – University of London, Brighton, Bristol, Buckingham, Cardiff University, Cardiff Metropolitan, Coventry, Durham, Glasgow Caledonian, Keele, Kingston, Leeds, Liverpool John Moores, Loughborough, Manchester, Nottingham Trent, Northumbria, Sheffield, Strathclyde, Worcester and the University of Law.

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