There are several ways you can get mid-semester feedback on your courses. If you'd like a colleague to gather information anonymously from your students, you can request a GIFT. If you'd prefer to gather feedback from your students directly, CAFÉ recommends that you construct an anonymous form or survey; responses may be skewed if students believe grading may be influenced by their responses. Conducting your survey or form online will promote student anonymity and help you gain more feedback.
It helps you have a clearer sense of how your students are perceiving and experiencing your instructional methods in time for you to make reasonable adjustments before official Course Evaluations are conducted.
Taking the time to seek feedback from your students and being open to adjusting your course in response can strengthen your relationship with your students and enhance their perceptions of your course.
This feedback can help you document a reflective approach to teaching that is focused on ongoing improvements when you submit an annual self-evaluation or a promotion or tenure portfolio.
To help save you time, CAFÉ has set up a Microsoft Form for mid-semester feedback. It prompts students to provide balanced feedback on what is helping them learn and changes that you and they can make to improve their learning. You can use the form as is or modify the form. After clicking the link above, click the "Duplicate It" button to begin. This will create a clone that CAFÉ cannot access. Retain the setting "anyone with a link can respond" to ensure that feedback received is anonymous. Further instructions on how to use and modify this survey, and tips on soliciting and responding to mid-semester feedback are available in this 1-page Quick Guide to Mid-Semester Feedback.
Another popular approach is Start-Stop-Continue. Questions posed to students can put the focus on the instructor or highlight both instructor and student contributions to the learning environment:
Broadly worded prompts
What would you like me to start doing in this course to help you learn more effectively?
What is something specific you would like the instructor to start doing or something you would like to start doing yourself to promote your learning?
What would you like me to stop doing in this course because it's interfering with your learning?
What is something specific that you wish would stop in class because it is hindering your learning? This can be something the instructor is doing, or something other students are doing.
What would you like me to continue doing in this course because it's helping you learn?
What is something specific that is already happening in class that you want to continue in order to promote your learning?
Regardless of the questions you include in the anonymous survey, set aside enough time to process, share, and discuss the feedback and next steps with students. For example, it is likely that you will receive contradictory feedback. Some students may request a faster pace, while others request a slower pace. Some may ask you to stop doing the same thing that others want you to continue doing. Sharing this reality with all students and discussing responsibilities to respect diverse ways of learning will be important and can help students understand how their individual experiences and learning are situated in a larger context. Sharing the tabulated results with students is one way to quickly help them see this larger picture.
Explain how you will respond to their suggestions. If some student ideas for adjustments cannot feasibly be conducted this semester, explain briefly how you will a) make a feasible, related adjustment now and b) address a larger-scale adjustment in the future.
Laura Lohman, PhD, SHRM-SCP, CAAP, PMP
Director, Center for the Advancement of Faculty Excellence
Professor of Music