Professional learning in higher education: Understanding how academics interpret student feedback and access resources to improve their teaching

Jen Scott Curwood, Martin Tomitsch, Kate Thomson, Graham Hendry


Previous research on professional learning has identified that face-to-face consultation is an effective approach to support academics’ learning from student feedback. However, this approach is labour and time intensive, and does not necessarily provide all academics with just-in-time support. In this article, we describe an alternative approach, which involves the creation of Ask Charlie, a mobile website that visually represents results from student evaluation of teaching (SET), and provides academics with personalised recommendations for teaching resources. Ask Charlie was developed and evaluated by drawing on design-based research methods with the aim to support professional learning within higher education. A semester-long evaluation of the website led to recommendations for improving the effectiveness and value of online, personalised, and interactive resources for academics. While Ask Charlie offered access to a valuable teaching resource portal, it was crucial that its design took into account time as well as timing in terms of supporting professional learning. Our findings suggest that future development of the website could include additional features to encourage reflection and communication as well as promote alignment with existing professional development strategies across the university.


Higher Education; Professional Development; Educational Technology; Design-Based Research

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