There’s a lot of debate that I overhear about the value of the National Student Survey, feedback forms, etc. Which parts of those should we use to decide how we work with students, and in which areas do lecturers know better… Stefan Collini definitely thinks tutor knows best:
On the face of it, “student satisfaction” sounds like a good idea: who would want universities full of morose, miserable students?
But Stefan Collini, professor of English literature and intellectual history at the University of Cambridge, will have none of it.
“It may be that the most appropriate way to decide whether the atmosphere in the student bar is right is by whether students say, when asked in a questionnaire, that they ‘like’ it or not,” he writes in What Are Universities For?, published this week. “But this is obviously not the best way to decide whether a philosophy degree should have a compulsory course in Kant.”
On the contrary, he hopes that the students he teaches will come away with certain kinds of dissatisfaction – including with themselves, for “a ‘satisfied’ student is well-nigh ineducable”.
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Dr Bex Lewis is passionate about helping people engage with the digital world in a positive way, where she has more than 20 years’ experience. She is Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing at Manchester Metropolitan University and Visiting Research Fellow at St John’s College, Durham University, with a particular interest in digital culture, persuasion and attitudinal change, especially how this affects the third sector, including faith organisations, and, after her breast cancer diagnosis in 2017, has started to research social media and cancer. Trained as a mass communications historian, she has written the original history of the poster Keep Calm and Carry On: The Truth Behind the Poster (Imperial War Museum, 2017), drawing upon her PhD research. She is Director of social media consultancy Digital Fingerprint, and author of Raising Children in a Digital Age: Enjoying the Best, Avoiding the Worst (Lion Hudson, 2014; second edition in process) as well as a number of book chapters, and regularly judges digital awards. She has a strong media presence, with her expertise featured in a wide range of publications and programmes, including national, international and specialist TV, radio and press, and can be found all over social media, typically as @drbexl.