Data Collection Methods: Teaching and Learning Topics (Sections A-C)

Department Meetings

A staff member from the Centre can attend a regularly scheduled department meeting (or a specially arranged meeting) to discuss the components of this self-study with all faculty members. It is best that the Program Review Chair meet first with the Centre staff member to decide on what components are best discussed with the faculty members in the short timeframe. For example:

  • Overview of Sections A through C of the  Teaching and Learning Section
  • Program Learning Outcomes (formulating a description of program learning outcomes)
  • Student Assessment Methods (details and discussion about methods and examples)
  • Teaching and Learning Strategies (details and discuss about strategies and examples)

Faculty Focus Groups

During a faculty focus group, faculty members come together to have a conversation about Sections A through C of the Teaching and Learning section.  This option can be facilitated by the Centre for Innovation and Excellence in Learning, but could also be facilitated by a faculty member or the Program Review Chair.

If the Centre is involved as facilitator in the focus group, they will frame the session, ask the questions, provide more information about particular topics, suggest follow-up questions, and collate the responses for the Program Review Chair for further analysis. Using an existing faculty meeting (or a few shorter meetings) is often a good plan while anticipating approximately 2-3 hours to complete. 

Advantages for this method:

  • Time-efficient; data can be collected all at once
  • A focus group is dialogic and interactive and has the potential to provide rich responses that might not be gained through one-on-one interviews alone
  • Faculty members can hear from one another about methods they are using and have an even more holistic understanding of the teaching and learning practices of their colleagues
  • If facilitated by the Centre, data is collated for the Program Review Chair

Challenges for this method:

  • If not all faculty members are present at the focus group, then those absent may want to provide their responses in alternative ways
  • Not all faculty members may be comfortable sharing information about their teaching practice in a group setting; alternative methods could be provided for them provided for them

Student Focus Groups

In addition to faculty focus groups, the Centre for Innovation and Excellence in Learning, as a third party, can facilitate a student focus group to collect more information about a program. This is an optional component, but one that some programs may wish to do.

Faculty members and Program Review Chairs determine which questions will be asked of the students.  The Centre can facilitate this session and collate the data for Program Review Chairs.  These sessions can be used to delve more deeply into areas connected to the course experience surveys, or to target specific questions that are not included on that particular survey.  For example, a program may want to ask specific questions of students regarding a field study or co-op experience in order to determine how to improve the experience.  Alternatively a program may want to find out how students are experiencing a new interdisciplinary course.  A student focus group provides even more insight into one’s program, and offers more perspective for the program review.  A student focus group should take no more than two hours.