There is generally a formal process for gathering student ratings of instruction at the end of a course. However, as an instructor I do not receive this feedback until months after the course is complete and it is too late to make any changes. Student feedback is valuable while the course is underway, so I ask students for their feedback at the mid-point of the course. I have used various methods to gather feedback, such as:
Invitation for Mid-Point Feedback
- Email request – invite students to send me an email with suggestions for improvement that can be implemented for the prior to the end of the course.
- Anonymous Online Form/Questionnaire – invite students to rate different aspects of their course work (e.g., access to relevant resources, timely formative feedback, opportunities for asking questions, peer feedback loops, synchronous activities, asynchronous activities, etc.); and respond to open-ended questions with their suggestions for improvement.
This is an example of an invitation to provide mid-course feedback:
“I would like to invite you to provide me with mid-course feedback to help me make improvements during the remainder of the course. I created a brief questionnaire that is anonymous. I welcome constructive and anonymous feedback on achieving my instructional goals in this course. Let me know if there are areas that I can improve before the end of the course. Also add any comments about areas of strength, so I know what to make sure I continue to do to support your learning.”
- Drop-in Session – invite students to attend an informal synchronous session to provide verbal feedback about the course individually or with small groups.
Synthesize the Feedback
The important part about asking for feedback is to synthesize and use the feedback. Provide students with a few days or week to provide you with feedback, so you can consolidate the responses and generate a synthesis. Then, share the synthesis with all of the students. Here’s some examples of ways you can share a synthesis of the responses received:
- Word cloud – this is a great way to capture the most frequent words used for responses. Example of word cloud representing challenges with technology enhanced learning:
(This visual was also provided for the chapter – “Designing Group Work in Blended Learning Environments” Brown & Vaughan, 2018 – http://www.drbarbbrown.com/2018/07/06/designing-group-work-in-blended-learning-environments/).
- Summary with Themes and quotes – capture common themes and offer some sample quotes to help illustrate the feedback provided.
This is an example of summary posted for students to review (could also be sent via email):
Thank you to those students who provided mid-course feedback! I put the feedback together and thought I would share the aggregate responses and my action items.
My action plan (top 3) based on your feedback:
- I tried to extend the class time for working on units and minimized other activities over this past week. This will continue over the next couple of weeks.
- I’m also planning to implement more formal group check-in events.
- As I work with the instructor team over the next year, we will continue to review and refine the readings selected for this course and support materials.
Sample of positive comments I appreciated:
- The time and effort you have given to this class in order to maintain a safe and caring classroom environment is very much appreciated!
- I have loved this course so far. It has brought light some very important issues that I love exploring as a group. Overall, Thank you for your care and dedication to our learning
- The support for our group projects has been great and instructional time has felt meaningful and relevant towards our final projects, which is great as there is a lot of work to be done in such a short amount of time.
Thank you again for taking time to provide your feedback and to help make improvements!
Another example of synthesis:
I would like to thank you for providing me with mid-course feedback and would like to share my synthesis of the feedback with you. The comments provided me with ideas about things I should continue to do and also ideas for improvement. I appreciate all of your input! I will start with the positive aspects:
- Feedback is valued. Responses indicated the feedback and weekly messages provide guidance. This is something I will continue to provide and plan to provide each group with feedback about the cases analysis to help as you move forward with LT#2.
- Organization and pace is just right. Responses indicated the course is well organized including the structure, content and pacing.
Areas for improvement:
- Discussion threads could be more organized. I added a discussion thread to each of your studio groups to help with weeks 8, 9 and 10. If your group would like additional threads, please do not hesitate to contact me and I can add as needed.
- Weekly check-in via online sessions suggested. If your group would like to meet more often, let me know and I can set up a virtual space for your group. You may notice that two groups already requested this and have a virtual room set-up for their use at any time during the course. Also, if you wish to meet with me or feel a weekly check-in with me would be helpful, I can also meet with you in my virtual office at a time convenient for you. Instead of keeping office hours, I find it easier for students to arrange a specific time with me. Often, I can also meet in the evening or weekend when students are also available.
How are you gathering feedback from your students?