Information for staff

Getting started with the SES: a practical overview

This page focuses on the practical processes and expectations of the Subject Experience Survey. Refer to other areas of the website to find out more about the survey and its purpose, and the survey questions and structure.

The Subject Experience Survey plays an important role in the University’s quality improvement processes for teaching and subject development. The SES performs this role most effectively when staff engage with and support the surveys.

Below is an overview of the staff roles in the surveying cycle, and some key information to help you become familiar with SES processes and expectations. This information should be used as a starting point only: all staff members involved in the SES surveying cycle are expected to be familiar with SES policy and procedures.

Subjects which require surveying with the SES

Your subject should be surveyed with the SES:

  • Whether it is an undergraduate or a graduate subject
  • Whether it is a semester-length subject or an intensive subject
  • Towards the end of teaching, each time the subject is taught.

If there are fewer than four enrolments, your subject will be exempt.

Refer to: MPF1327: Courses, Subjects, Awards and Program Policy

TALQAC: Academic Board’s Teaching and Learning Quality Assurance Committee

In 2016 and 2017, TALQAC formed two working groups to examine (i) how to provide effective feedback and (ii) reasons for students’ disengagement with their courses and with the university. The Improving Student Engagement Working Group was established in response to committee members’ concerns about findings from the 2015 Student Experience Survey.

Below are documents from the forum that was held on the 20th of April 2018. Further information and resources can be found on the Melbourne Centre for the Study of Higher Education (Melbourne CSHE) website.

  • Teaching and Learning Strategies to Improve Student Engagement - Download PDF
  • Feedback: Managing Scale & Expectations - Download PDF
  • End of Subject Assessment Tasks and Feedback Opportunities - Download PDF

Teaching & department staff involvement in the surveying process

The following steps summarise the main areas of staff involvement in the Subject Experience Survey. Time lines for these tasks may vary within faculties: contact your faculty SES representative for more information.

1. Confirm your subject's surveying dates and requirements with your Faculty SES Representative

Your faculty maintains a 'Survey Schedule', containing details of subjects which require surveying, and the dates on which they are to be surveyed. For standard Semester 1 and Semester 2 subjects, surveys are typically conducted in Weeks 11, 12 and swotvac, however these dates are affected by factors such as teaching and assessment dates. Department and teaching staff may be asked to submit information about their subjects' surveying requirements, and it is important that these details are scheduled well before your survey is due to open.

Refer to the SES policy and procedures and guidelines on survey timing and duration for specific details about when surveys should be conducted.

2. Promote the SES to students during (and in the lead up to) the survey period

Teaching and department staff play a critical role in encouraging students to complete the Subject Experience Survey: your endorsement of the survey will help to ensure high response rates. Visit the survey promotion page for SES promo posters to help you promote the Subject Experience Survey to students.

In addition to your endorsement of the survey to your own students, widespread survey promotion is conducted during standard survey periods (Weeks 11, 12 and swotvac), so faculties are encouraged to survey in this period wherever appropriate.

3. Optional: Schedule classtime for students to complete the Subject Experience Survey

Teaching staff may choose to provide students with the opportunity to complete the SES in class, where computers or mobile devices are available. Provision of this option may have a positive effect on response rates, while still allowing students the flexibility to give feedback in their own time if they prefer. When the SES is completed in class the teaching staff member should leave the classroom while the survey is being completed.

4. Receive & review survey results, and act upon feedback as appropriate

Survey results are available to faculties after surveys close, and once subject results have been released to students, these results can be made available to teaching staff according to faculty processes, and in line with SES policy and procedures.

5. Communicate survey feedback to students

An important part of the surveying cycle is to ensure students are given feedback on survey outcomes, and actions taken as a result of survey outcomes. Departments should implement processes to ensure students receive feedback about the outcomes of the SES  in their subjects, and guidelines on providing feedback to students state that this should be achieved via the LMS. Visit the survey results page for more information on how to provide feedback to students.

For specific questions about administration of the SES in your faculty, contact your faculty SES representative.