How to get a quick “feel” for your new students’ expectations

What do your students want from you?  How will they judge whether or not you have been successful in delivering what they came for?

Here’s a way to  get a quick “feel” for sentiment around this at the beginning of a course.  The following picture is from a flip chart structure I use at the beginning of term (in this case it was an MBA year) to ensure I have a context for where students want to go on their journey…. which may or may not be what I had in mind when I created the course!

Essentially visual, this tool allows students to prioritise (not just list) what they are looking for – the bottom third of the pyramid is where they write their “Must haves” from the course, the middle third is the “Nice to haves” and the pinnacle is the “icing on the cake” or in other words where we can exceed expectations.  On the top right is a sun where the rays of light can be the social context for their studies – what will provide them with an enriched, non-academic, experience during their period of study?

Experience of doing this many times with a number of different groups suggests that there are some very common student expectations when they arrive.  The photo below is one such real example and chosen because it is typical of the sort of responses given.  Of course, reviewing this at the end of the year, assuming you’ve delivered on these things, will help ensure you stay on track for a great student experience.