The emergence of social media has provided an alternative mechanism for students to provide and access online reviews about universities. These forms of feedback are often not systematically monitored and interpreted by universities. The purpose of this paper is to analyse quantitative ratings and qualitative comments provided by students via Google reviews of 40 Australian universities. The qualitative comments were analysed via thematic coding which identified four key themes including quality of teaching, course design, learning environment and administrative support. The data were also subjected to automated content analysis using the text analytics software Leximancer to enhance the objectivity and reliability of findings.
The study involved the extraction of quantitative ratings as well as qualitative comments from Google reviews of 40 Australian universities. Each university was searched on Google and their rating and comments were collected as of August 2019. The qualitative data were included in an Excel spreadsheet along with the name of the universities, and their quantitative ratings. Using thematic coding techniques, the qualitative data were manually coded into four themes: quality of teaching, course design, learning environment and administrative support. Furthermore, the qualitative comments were grouped into two categories: positive comments and negative comments.
The paper argues the need for universities to actively monitor these new forms of student feedback which have provided autonomy and freedom for students and other stakeholders to access and provide 24/7 feedback. The study found common themes emerging from the positive and negative student comments related to: quality of teaching, course design, learning environments and administrative support. These aspects contributed to the students’ satisfaction levels when they reflected on their educational experience on Google reviews. The study also found that institutions with high numbers of negative comments tend to have lower ratings compared to those with positive comments.
The study did not use other learning analytic tools to measure and assess the feedback from students using social media and other forms of feedback.
Many studies have been undertaken on student experience. Studies have focussed on the experience of home and international students, on-campus and online students, and students from various underrepresented backgrounds. So far no study has been undertaken on the reviews provided by students using Google reviews.
Shah, M., Pabel, A. and Martin-Sardesai, A. (2019), "Assessing Google reviews to monitor student experience", International Journal of Educational Management, Vol. 34 No. 3, pp. 610-625. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJEM-06-2019-0200Download as .RIS
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