Formative

Mid-Course Student Feedback

There are several strategies for getting feedback so that the students who give it will benefit from it. Whatever format you choose, ask your students to be specific. “This course is the best ever!” can make you feel really good, and “This course stinks!” can make you feel really bad. But neither comment is especially helpful in maintaining excellence or improving instruction.

In Class Strategies:

    • Stop-Start-Continue: This is a quick and effective way to solicit feedback from your students at any point during the course. Watch this video for a quick tutorial.
    • Feedback Form: Take a few minutes at the end of a class, after the third week and perhaps again at mid-semester, to have students complete a feedback form. It is best if you leave the room. Ask one of the students to collect the feedback sheets and return them to your office in a provided envelope. Make sure that you stress to your students that their comments will have no bearing on their grades and that you want to find out how you can best meet their learning needs.
    • One Minute Paper: At the end of any class ask students to write down brief answers to two questions: (1) What is the main point you learned in class today? (2) What is the major unanswered question you leave class with today?

Having students do a one minute paper regularly in class has several purposes:

        1. It focuses student attention on the “big idea” of the session.
        2. It focuses student attention on unclear points.
        3. It informs you of student questions and general misunderstandings.
        4. It builds continuity over time.

Students need to know that their comments have been heard and taken seriously, which means that you need to give them feedback on their comments. At the next class meeting take a little time to respond. You may:

      1. Include several examples of what students say they like about the class.
      2. Choose one or more suggestions for change that you also believe will improve the course and that you feel you can implement. Also, let the students know how you plan to do that.
      3. Choose one or more suggestions that, for practical or other considerations, cannot be implemented. Inform the students of the reasons.

One final note:

    If you don’t plan to use the feedback, don’t ask for it. Have a purpose for requesting it; stay open to what you hear; discuss your feedback with someone who can be objective and help you to keep it in perspective.

There are other forms of feedback, such as a class interview facilitated by a teaching consultant, a video review, or analyses of student work which require the help of the Center or a colleague. If you are interested in one of these, or if you have questions about the others listed here, call CTAL at 831-2027.

 

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