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Student Experience of Learning & Teaching (SELT)


Evaluation is a central component of professional development, course/program development and the University's quality assurance process. Planning and Analytics provides support to Faculties, Schools, course coordinators and individual staff who wish to evaluate student learning and staff teaching in their courses and programs. One of the major evaluation tools used at the University is the Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) system. We provide assistance to all staff and Schools wishing to evaluate their teaching for professional development or promotion purposes.

Planning and Analytics assists the University of Adelaide in the implementation of the Student Experience of Learning and Teaching Policy. In 2014 online SELT (eSELT) processes will be introduced for the majority of courses in each Semester. Students will be able to complete their surveys online and teachers will be able to download their reports. eSELT will be centrally administered by Planning and Analytics without the need to download pdf documents and conduct the surveys in classes.

Please note that from 2014, paper forms are no longer available.

SELT is only one of the necessary components for making informed decisions about improving student learning outcomes, and staff and Schools should use other methods, such as reflective practice and peer review, student assessment results and teaching portfolios in order to construct an informed view of the learning and teaching being evaluated. Evaluation is a positive process and should be used for the enhancement of staff development and student learning.

Approval is required
if a survey falls outside the area of Learning and Teaching.

University of Adelaide SELT Policy

SELT Reliability Report

SELT System

SELT Enquiries

Phone:  +61 8 8313 3496

SELT Processes

SELT surveys are conducted online at the end of each semester, trimester or term.

The SELT is administered by Planning and Analytics without the need to download pdf documents and conduct the surveys in classes.

  • There is no need to request a SELT, they will be conducted automatically.
  • In order for a teacher (lecturer, tutor, demonstrator etc) to be included in the SELT they must be recorded in the Student System (PeopleSoft) against the relevant course(s), this follows the same process used to allow teachers access to courses in MyUni. Faculties/Schools/Areas are able to update this information in the GEN Class Schedule/Session.
  • The Standard Course and Standard Teacher SELT (including Multiple Teacher (Lecturer, Tutors, Demonstrators etc) SELT) has been combined into the one survey.
  • Students will be sent an email containing a link to the SELT System which will list all of the surveys (for courses) they should complete (based on their current enrolment).
  • When the survey period has concluded and reports have been generated, Teachers, Course Coordinators and Heads of School will receive an email notification to access their reports which they can download and return to at a later date. They will only see reports relevant to the courses they teach or are responsible for.

SELT Reports are available for Teachers, Course Coordinators, Heads of School and Executive Deans via the following URL. You will need to login using your University username and password.


SELT Survey Timelines

SELT surveys for 2018 will be conducted as follows:

Teaching Period Survey Period Reports Available
* Summer Semester 2 days before course end date (2 weeks) Tue 20 Mar
Term One Mon 2 Apr - Fri 13 Apr Tue 1 May
Trimester One Mon 16 Apr - Fri 27 Apr Tue 15 May
Semester One Mon 28 May - Fri 15 Jun Tue 17 Jul
Term Two Mon 18 Jun - Fri 29 Jun Tue 17 Jul
* Winter Semester 2 days before course end date (2 weeks) Mon 3 Sep
Trimester Two Mon 6 Aug - Fri 17 Aug Tue 4 Sep
Term Three Mon 10 Sep - Fri 21 Sep Tue 9 Oct
Semester Two Mon 15 Oct - Fri 2 Nov Tue 4 Dec
Trimester Three Mon 12 Nov - Fri 23 Nov Tue 11 Dec
Term Four Mon 3 Dec - Fri 14 Dec Tue 8 Jan 2019

*Surveys will be conducted based on the end date of the course as defined in the Student System, all surveys will commence 2 days prior to the end date of the course and conclude 2 weeks after the end date of the course.

Staff do not need to do anything in order for the survey to be conducted, this will all be managed by the SELT System and your Faculties.

At this point in time, additional questions are not able to be added to the SELT, the standard 10 course likert and 2 open ended questions, 1 Small Group Discovery Experience (SGDE) question and the standard 6 teacher likert and 2 open ended questions are included in the survey. For more information please download the following documents:

SELT Report

Reports will be available for Teachers and Course Coordinators/Heads of School as indicated above, they will receive an email notification with a link to the SELT System (they will only see reports relevant to the courses they teach or are responsible for) which they can download and return to at a later date. They will need to authenticate using their University username and password.

If you are a Teacher you will be able to download one pdf document with the title 'Individual Report for SUBJECT AREA NNNN Description (Your Name)' containing:

  • Responses and statistics for the 10 standard Course likert questions excluding comments for the 2 open ended questions
  • Responses and statistics for the 6 standard Teacher likert questions and all student comments for the 2 open ended questions
  • Overall comparison statistics for the course and teacher surveys for the Course, School and University

Comments have been excluded from the course section at the request of faculties, as students will sometimes comment about teaching staff in the course open ended questions which are not appropriate for all teaching staff to see.

If you teach more than one course you will see separate pdf documents.

If you are a Course Coordinator/Head of School/Executive Dean you will be able to download:

  • All the teacher reports as described above for your course including your own if involved in teaching
  • A pdf document with the title 'Course Report for SUBJECT AREA NNNN Description' containing:
    • Responses and statistics for the 10 standard Course questions and all student comments for the 2 open ended questions
    • Overall comparison statistics for the course and teacher surveys for the Course, Teachers, School and University

See following sample SELT reports for more information:


SELT Expectation Standards 2016-2018

As part of the University's desire to improve the student learning experience, it has identified key questions from the Standard Teacher and Course SELTs which will be used as indicators of quality.

For each of these questions a high level of broad agreement is expected as indicated below.

Reports indicating the level of achievement of teachers and courses in meeting the expectation standards will be provided to Heads of School and Executive Deans.

SELT Question % Broad Agreement
2016 2017 2018
6 [Teacher] is an effective university teacher 80 80 80
1 This course has clearly identified learning outcomes 80 82 85
5 This course uses appropriate online resources and technologies to help me achieve its learning outcomes 80 80 80
7 This course helps me to develop my thinking skills (eg problem solving, critical analysis) 80 82 85
9 My learning in this course is supported by effective feedback 80 80 80
10 Overall, I am satisfied with the quality of this course 80 82 85


Standard Teacher SELT
Standard Course SELT

Download Standards


Getting and Using Student Feedback

Student feedback plays an integral role in the continuous improvement of student learning experiences and outcomes.

The document provides a brief overview of the primary ways student feedback can be used to improve teaching and learning, discusses the various types of student feedback available to staff, offers some recommendations for best practice, and raises some questions for discussion.

Go to the Getting and Using Student Feedback page.

Understanding your SELT Report

Each SELT is unique and must be viewed in the context of the particular teaching environment. However, there are some general principles that can be applied when interpreting your results from Standard Teacher or Course SELT questionnaires. For each commentary, there is a brief discussion of the question context, some practical suggestions, and some further reading that is readily available through the University Library.

Interpreting SELT data pdf

Providing Feedback to your Students

When you receive the report of your SELT surveys, the first thing you will do is examine the students' description of their experience of you and the course. This information is important to you as you determine how to improve student learning outcomes, the curriculum and assessment tasks.

As you read through student comments and look at the histograms presented in your report, you will be formulating ways in which improvements can be made to the current course.

As you plan changes to the teaching program, curriculum design or assessment tasks, you will need to inform students of your thinking so that they understand how their comments are taken into account.

Respond to the students honestly and positively. This is easy when students have responded positively to the course and your teaching, but may require some thought when the responses have been critical. A good first step is to write down your responses to the survey report, set it aside for 24 hours and then revise your responses, if necessary, to ensure that you are responding to the underlying issues and not emotionally. The second step is to ask a colleague to read your responses. If a significant number of students have been critical of specific aspects of the course, acknowledge the issues and explain how it will be dealt with in the future. If the issues are beyond your control, don't blame others but describe to students the issues that you can influence and those you cannot.

  • Example 1:
    Students have responded positively to most questions, but have indicated that they did not perceive the presentation of the course stimulated their interest in learning. Their written comments did not indicate why this was the case.
    • Potential response:
      It was pleasing to see that our efforts in presenting this course were highly regarded by most of the class. We noted that a number of students felt their interest in student learning was not stimulated during the course. We would be interested in following up with these students how we might assist in changing aspects of the course that developed this particular issue. Your comments about xxx were very positive and we will continue to hold the small group essay writing workshops and assignment post mortem sessions.
  • Example 2:
    You were called in at the last moment to give a series of 6 lectures in an area you were not well prepared to teach. The lecture theatre was in need of an upgrade and the students were often talking and distracted. Students have given quite critical responses on many of the survey questions. Their written comments indicated that they had difficulty taking notes from the overheads slides, the course content appeared disorganised and that they had difficulty hearing the presentation as you often faced the whiteboard and wrote and spoke with your back to class.
    • Potential initial response:
      This is just typical of students who don't know or care how little time you have to prepare a course. I did my best in unfair circumstances and I am not to blame for last minute decisions about teaching arrangements. Students should listen to what the lecturer says and stop talking in class. It is not my fault if some students fail the exam because they did not listen. You've only got yourselves to blame when you fail the exam, which I'm setting right after I've written this.
    • A more reflective response:
      I think this was a difficult situation for both lecturers and students. Due to circumstances beyond the control of the School, I was asked, at the last minute, to present this course and was unable to spend any time reviewing the course content, as I would normally do. This has lead to a number of issues during the semester and many students in the class have commented on the apparent lack of cohesion between the components of the course. This has been discussed by the School Learning and Teaching Committee and the continuity between the course components will be highlighted next semester. Some students commented that it was difficult to hear the presentation because of the noise level in the class and the fact that I often spoke to the class while facing the whiteboard and writing. I will make a conscious effort to face the class when speaking and set aside specific time in class for questions so that the noise level is reduced. I would like to speak to any of you who had trouble with the clarity of my notes, so that I can address this area of my teaching as well.

There are a number of methods you can use to respond to student comments.

  • If you hold your SELT midway through your course, you can respond directly to student comments by discussing the main issues in your class. This can lead to improvements in teaching and learning in a short space of time.
  • If you see the class again at a later time, provide feedback then. It will indicate to the students you respect their opinion and will let them know you are open to constructive feedback.
  • The next time you teach, incorporate some of the feedback about you and your course into your course notes. This gives the students some idea of what to expect. If you have particular issues, like a tendency to talk to the whiteboard, ask the students to remind you to face the class so that can hear you. Let the students know that the last time you ran this course, students suggested that the tutorial sessions were not achieving their purpose and so you've changed the format, or if students in previous courses liked a particular facet of a course, say so.
  • If you are using MyUni or other electronic course delivery tools to assist your teaching, you could email the students your feedback directly, post an announcement or set up a discussion group. The latter could be beneficial as it will allow for discussion of some of the points raised by the survey. Be sure to explain the rules about providing constructive feedback.

From the students' perspective, they have filled out SELT forms and there will be no returns on their time investment unless you, their lecturer, provide them. If students can see that their opinions are respected and on occasion acted upon, there is an increased chance they will approach the task of filling out SELTs with a more positive attitude, thus leading to more constructive outcomes from these surveys.

In many cases, you will be seeing these students again or your colleagues will, and so the students have a direct interest in seeing that your teaching and their learning work together, as effectively and enjoyably as possible. Students will understand your approach to teaching and your requirements of students if they are aware of previous SELT reports and your response to them.

The following approach is recommended where possible.

  • Look at the SELT report and extract the salient points from it. Try and identify trends, were a number of students have made a similar point. If you have trouble interpreting the results, seek assistance from the staff in Planning and Analytics.
  • Write down an initial response to the SELT report and leave it for at least a day.
  • Review your response, show it to a colleague and ensure it addresses the salient comments by the students.
  • Discuss the report and your responses with the class, if appropriate,.
  • Post the histogram section of the SELT report and your feedback on MyUni, or an equivalent site. Use it as the basis for a discussion group, if appropriate.
  • When teaching a course, make previous years SELT reports and feedback available to the students.

Evaluating Online Courses using SELT


Evaluating online learning is, in principle, no different from evaluating learning in other contexts, such as lectures, clinical work or problem-based learning. That is to say, teachers in both contexts are likely to be interested in such matters as learning outcomes, students' preparation, their experience of learning and the learning environment.

Certainly, the technology supporting online learning gives us the potential to evaluate in different ways. For example, we can use online surveys, collect written feedback from students electronically and monitor learning behaviours. Some of these possibilities still have technical and management problems associated with them. These problems are somewhat too complicated to discuss here.

For the moment, we want to describe resources that are available to you online or by using SELT. We emphasise that there are other methods of gathering information, such as discussion groups, observation, interviews and document analysis.


The following material is intended to help you design your evaluation in a framework that emphasises good principles of online learning. Examples of the kinds of questions you can access from the Student Experience of Learning and Teaching Service (SELT) are listed in relation to each principle.

The questions are available in the SELT Manual (Q1 - Q526) or from a more extensive database held by Planning and Performance Reporting (Q527 - Q3140). New resources, questions and instruments are being designed and added to the SELT service progressively.

Evaluating online learning and teaching: some principles

The 'Seven principles for good practice in undergraduate education', originally published in 1987, are a popular framework for evaluating teaching in traditional, face-to-face courses. The principles are based on 50 years of higher education research.

A follow-up article is available online Implementing the Seven Principles: Technology as Lever. The article originally appeared in print in the AAHE Bulletin, October 1996, pp. 3-6.

A team of evaluators from Indiana University's Center for Research on Learning and Technology (CRLT) used the seven principles to evaluate four online courses at a large US university. The evaluations were based on analysis of online course materials, student and teacher discussion-forum postings, and interviews.

The following text material on the seven principles is reproduced from an article which was originally published in The technology source. The article is:

The material is reproduced here (with minor editorial changes to adapt North American terminology to that common in Australia) with the permission of the publisher.

Lesson for online teaching: Teachers should provide clear guidelines for interaction with students.

Teachers wanted to be accessible to online students but were apprehensive about being overwhelmed with email messages or bulletin board postings. They feared that if they failed to respond quickly, students would feel ignored. To address this, we recommend that student expectations and staff concerns be mediated by developing guidelines for student–teacher interactions. These guidelines would do the following:

  • Establish policies describing the types of communication that should take place over different channels. Examples are:
    • Do not send technical support questions to the teacher; contact the Departmental Computing Officer first or send them to the Technology Service Desk.
    • The public discussion forum is to be used for all communications except grade-related questions.
  • Set clear standards for teachers' timelines for responding to messages. Examples:
    • I will make every effort to respond to email within two days of receiving it.
    • I will respond to emails on Tuesdays and Fridays between three and five o'clock.
Relevant SELT items
Code Question item
309 There was sufficient access to teaching staff
310 There was sufficient access to technical staff
415 There was a sufficient degree of staff-student contact

Lesson for online teaching: Well-designed discussion assignments facilitate meaningful cooperation among students.

In our research, we found that teachers often required only 'participation' in the weekly class discussion forum. As a result, discussion often had no clear focus. For example, one course required each of four students in a group to summarise a reading chapter individually and to discuss as a group which summary should be submitted. The communication within the group was shallow. Because the postings were summaries of the same reading, there were no substantive differences to debate, so that discussions often focussed on who wrote the most eloquent summary.

At the CRLT, we have developed guidelines for creating effective asynchronous discussions, based on substantial experience with staff teaching online. In the study, we applied these guidelines as recommendations to encourage meaningful participation in asynchronous online discussions. We recommended the following:

Learners should be required to participate (and their grade should depend on participation).

  • Discussion groups should remain small.
  • Discussions should be focussed on a task.
  • Tasks should always result in a product.
  • Tasks should engage learners in the content.
  • Learners should receive feedback on their discussions.
  • Evaluation should be based on the quality of postings (and not the length or number).
  • Teachers should post expectations for discussions.
Relevant SELT items
Code Question item
150–167 Check the SELT manual questions 150\xE2\x80\x93167 to select suitable discussion-type questions.
345–351 Check the SELT manual questions 345–351 to select suitable questions on feedback
414 I am developing new friendships in this class
422 I am learning a great deal from working with my fellow students

Lesson for online teaching: Students should present course projects.

Projects are often an important part of face-to-face courses. Students learn valuable skills from presenting their projects and are often motivated to perform at a higher level. Students also learn a great deal from seeing and discussing their peers' work. While formal synchronous presentations may not be practical online, teachers can still provide opportunities for projects to be shared and discussed asynchronously.

Of the online courses we evaluated, only one required students to present their work to the class. In this course, students presented case study solutions via the class web site. The other students critiqued the solution and made further comments about the case. After all students had responded, the case presenter updated and reposted their solution, including new insights or conclusions gained from classmates. Only at the end of all presentations did the teacher provide an overall reaction to the cases and specifically comment about issues the class identified or failed to identify. In this way, students learned from one another as well as from the teacher.

Relevant SELT items
Code Question item
251–259 Check the SELT manual questions 251–259 to select suitable project-type questions.
419 I am benefiting from having to give a presentation to the class

Lesson for online teaching: Teachers need to provide two types of feedback: information feedback and acknowledgment feedback.

We found during the evaluation that there were two kinds of feedback provided by online teachers: 'information feedback' and 'acknowledgment feedback'.

Information feedback provides information or evaluation, such as an answer to a question, or an assignment grade and comments.

Acknowledgment feedback confirms that some event has occurred. For example, the teacher may send an email acknowledging that they have received a question or assignment and will respond soon.

We found that teachers gave prompt information feedback at the beginning of the semester, but as the semester progressed and teachers became busier, the frequency of responses decreased, and the response time increased. In some cases, students got feedback on postings after the discussion had already moved on to other topics.

Clearly, the ideal is for teachers to give detailed personal feedback to each student. However, when time constraints increase during the semester's busiest times, teachers can still give prompt feedback on discussion assignments by responding to the class as a whole instead of to each individual student. In this way, teachers can address patterns and trends in the discussion without being overwhelmed by the amount of feedback to be given.

Similarly, we found that teachers rarely provided acknowledgment feedback, generally doing so only when they were behind and wanted to inform students that assignments would be graded soon. Neglecting acknowledgment feedback in online courses is common, because such feedback involves purposeful effort. In a face-to-face course, acknowledgment feedback is usually implicit. Eye contact, for example, indicates that the teacher has heard a student's comments; seeing a completed assignment in the teacher's hands confirms receipt.

Relevant SELT items
Code Question item
345–351 Check the SELT manual questions 345–351 to select suitable questions on feedback.

Lesson for online teaching: Online courses need deadlines.

One course we evaluated allowed students to work at their own pace throughout the semester, without intermediate deadlines. The rationale was that many students needed flexibility because of full-time jobs. However, regularly distributed deadlines encourage students to spend time on tasks and help students with busy schedules avoid procrastination. They also provide a context for regular contact with the teacher and peers.

Relevant SELT items
Code Question item
296 The teaching of the course is well organised
460 I am able to effectively organise my study time for the course
461 I spend sufficient time studying for the course
465 I spend time looking up things that interest me, even if they are unlikely to be examined

Lesson for online teaching: Challenging tasks, sample cases and praise for quality work communicate high expectations.

Communicating high expectations for student performance is essential. One way for teachers to do this is to give challenging assignments. In the study, one teacher assigned tasks requiring students to apply theories to real-world situations rather than remember facts or concepts. This case-based approach involved real-world problems with authentic data gathered from real-world situations.

Another way to communicate high expectations is to provide examples or models for students to follow, along with comments explaining why the examples are good. One teacher provided examples of student work from a previous semester as models for current students and included comments to illustrate how the examples met her expectations. In another course, the teacher provided examples of the types of interactions she expected from the discussion forum. One example was an exemplary posting while the other two were examples of what not to do, highlighting trends from the past that she wanted students to avoid.

Finally, publicly praising exemplary work communicates high expectations. Teachers do this by calling attention to insightful or well-presented student postings.

Relevant SELT items
Code Question item
322 Teacher expectations are made clear

Lesson for online teaching: Allowing students to choose project topics incorporates diverse views into online courses.

In several of the courses we evaluated, students shaped their own coursework by choosing project topics according to a set of guidelines. One teacher gave a discussion assignment in which students researched, presented, and defended a current policy issue in the field. The teacher allowed students to research their own issue of interest, instead of assigning particular issues. As teachers give students a voice in selecting their own topics for course projects, they encourage students to express their own diverse points of view. Teachers can provide guidelines to help students select topics relevant to the course while still allowing students to share their unique perspectives.

Relevant SELT items
Code Question item
158 The group work increases my ability to learn independently without having to rely on a teacher
435 My ability to work independently is increased


Standard Course and Teacher Aggregate SELT Reports


The following pages provide links to aggregated reports of the SELT (Student Experience of Learning and Teaching) course and teacher surveys conducted by each academic Faculty and their associated Schools and Disciplines for each academic year listed.

Summary aggregate reports are available for the Faculty, School and Discipline (where available and where course SELT surveys were conducted). Summary aggregate reports are also available for the University of Adelaide as a whole.

As the new eSELT systems was in pilot phase for 2013, the level one eSELT data has been excluded from the Student Course and Standard Teacher Aggregate SELT Reports below.


Planning & Analytics

Level 3, Rundle Mall Plaza
50 Rundle Mall

Postal Address
The University of Adelaide

Phone: +61 8 8313 6478
Fax: +61 8 8313 7028 

SELT Enquiries
Phone: +61 8 8313 3496