Exploring CEQuery Sub-Domain Centrality and Relations with Social Network Analysis (SNA): Toward a Deeper Understanding of Graduates’ Curriculum Experiences

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This study explored the Best Aspects and Needs Improvements comments made by a random sample of recent graduates after being scored with the CEQuery tool. Although many graduates make short comments that are scored to single CEQuery subdomain (e.g., teaching quality), others write longer comments covering multiple themes. Such comments are largely overlooked by the CEQuery reporting function, which concentrates on the domain and subdomain frequency reporting of ‘hits’. Using social network analysis (SNA), this study explored these multi-domain comments written by recent graduates. The SNA software, UCINET, and its accompanying graphics package, NetDraw, were used to analyse the CEQuery-scored comments. The UCINET results showed that for both the Best Aspect and Needs Improvement comments, the same three subdomains were particularly central: Course Design Methods, Staff Quality, and Course Design Flexibility. The graphical representations extracted with the NetDraw tool showed complex relations existing between the many subdomains. Indeed, the extracted visualisations appear to offer a new way to ‘look at’ the CEQuery-scored subdomains, which has not previously been explored to date. Given that the CEQ data gives insight into the student experience that includes curriculum, this study offers new insights into those aspects of the curriculum that students consider most central and how they relate to one another. The facilitation of curriculum transformation is thus on offer through this study, as academic and professional staff can better ‘see’ what may need to change or be further reinforced in any curriculum redesign.
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