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Collecting Mid-Semester Feedback from Your Students

We want to hear from you…

How have you collected feedback from students at mid-semester? Do you have some advice to share about how to increase student engagement with the process? What has been effective when you do make changes? Have you found students are responsive to those changes you are able to implement? 

For those of you who’ve done self-reflective work with students—have you found certain techniques (like those below) particularly effective? Are there others we’re missing? We’re sure of it—please share!

Feel free to drop a public comment below, or, if you’d prefer a closed conversation with colleagues (on this topic or any other), UW-Green Bay instructors and staff can join us in the Solidarity Café.

… and we’re here to help!

Have you been wondering if the ways you’re engaging your students in the first half of the semester have been effective from the student perspective? Collecting feedback from your students is a great way to find out! To do this we have a few models that may provide useful insight into how you can help students meet the course learning outcomes.  

Why might you wish to collect feedback now? 

This semester is unique, so you may find that what you’ve done in the past isn’t hitting its mark—gathering feedback at mid-semester allows instructors to: 

  • make sure that course lessons connected with students 
  • find out where students need support 
  • discover the impact of instructional changes you’ve made this semester before summative course evaluations 
  • uncover changes that you may yet want to make for this semester 
  • avoid surprises in end-of-semester evaluations 

What are some of the best practices for collecting feedback from students, mid-semester? 

CATL interviewed Kris Vespia, Associate Professor in the Psychology department to answer this questionAdditionally, Todd Dresser reviews how to create a survey within Canvas. 

How should I ask students for this kind of feedback? 

We have a few models and sample surveys you can download and import into your Canvas courses. Surveys in Canvas are a special kind of “quiz” that has unique options available. If you’re unsure how to import Canvas resources into your class, see these instructions. For information on how to retrieve survey results in Canvas, see this resource. 

Feedback focus groups 

CATL is currently refining a process that allows for instructors to benefit from feedback generated through a small group discussionThis process involves a neutral third party, a CATL staff member, conducting a form of a focus group with students. This would likely take 15-20 minutes. The feedback from the students is then synthesized and communicated to the instructor. 

Process adapted from Northeastern University’s Center for Advancing Teaching and Learning Through Research 

The steps in this process are: 

  1. The instructor and CATL staff member meet virtually to discuss goals and agree on questions for the session. 
  2. The consultant visits the class or a group of students from the class virtually. The instructor introduces the CATL staff member and explains that they have asked them to gather feedback, then leaves the virtual meeting. 
  3. Students are asked to compile responses to one question. For large classes, students are divided into small groups. The groups then report out while the CATL staff member records responses. This process is repeated for each question. 
  4. The CATL staff member synthesizes the feedback and reports back to the instructor. Themay discuss how the data can inform teaching practices at this point. 

The benefits of this process include: 

  • The feedback is being gathered by a neutral third party, which may encourage honesty among students. 
  • The consultant can help you shape the questions asked of students and interpret results. 

If you’re interested in piloting feedback focus groups, or would like more information about designing or implementing mid-semester evaluations, please email CATL@UWGB.EDU. 

Helping students self-reflect 

Mid-semester is also a time in which you can help your students critically self-reflect on their own actions for their performance at this point in the course. Here are some questions to help frame the ways you’d like students to think metacognitively about their choices throughout the semester: 

  • What do students have the ability to change going forward in the course?  
  • Where might students improve their time management? 
  • Might there be a place for peer-to-peer feedback that could help build community and increase personal responsibility? 
  • What types of assessments might students need to better prepare in order to be successful in the course?  

Borrowed Strategies 

What are some strategies you can provide to students to help them get back on track? Self-reflection, metacognitive exercises, and exam debriefings are a few of the strategies that other teaching and learning centers have created resources around: 

For any of these methods, you could create an assignment that doesn’t count towards the final grade or could be an opportunity for extra credit. Here’s how to set up extra credit in a Canvas course. 

Teaching Toolbox

CATL continues to add to the Teaching Toolbox: a suite of resources to help you build and carry out your courses. 

Technology Toolkit 

In this section of the new CATL Resources site, we’ve created some guides to help you think about how you might wish to use technology to support your learning outcomes and pedagogyWe’ve created technology guides for things like Collaborate Ultra, VoiceThread, Kaltura My Media Video Recording, Video Quizzes, and more!

View the Technology Toolkit Here

Resilient Teaching Toolkit 

In this section, we’ve created some resources about how to teach when the center of gravity for your courses may be in flux due to the nature of the Fall 2020 semester. Some pages include things like optional attendance policies, interpersonal activities, equity challenges, and preserving class community. We’ve also created pages around “Practical Hybrid Course Tips” and how to “Navigate masked in-person and online group work.”  

View the Resilient Teaching Toolkit Here

Peer Assessment of Teaching (For Remote Instruction)

Sometimes a little collegiality is just what the doctor ordered to iron out the kinks in a course. 

We can all use some feedback every now and then and teaching in new environments calls upon new skills. A colleague with fresh eyes can help you spot what is going well and what can be improved.

The Center has adapted our regular peer assessment of teaching to suit the new pandemic format. Watch for more information to enlist a colleague (or two!) to be evaluation buddies. 

Note that this process is for formative evaluation only and is not intended for summative review for promotion or tenure. 

New CATL Resources

As the fall semester approaches, CATL is organizing a series of resources for you to access as you work on your fall courses. We will continue to add to these resources as the semester begins and evolves, so please check back or let us know if we’re missing something. 

Technology Toolkit 

In this section of the new CATL Resources site, we’ve created some guides to help you think about how you might wish to use technology to support your learning outcomes and pedagogyWe’ve created technology guides for things like Collaborate Ultra, VoiceThread, Kaltura My Media Video Recording, Video Quizzes, and more!

View the Technology Toolkit Here

Resilient Teaching Toolkit 

In this section, we’ve created some resources about how to teach when the center of gravity for your courses may be in flux due to the nature of the Fall 2020 semester. Some pages include things like optional attendance policies, interpersonal activities, equity challenges, and preserving class community. We’ve also created pages around “Practical Hybrid Course Tips” and how to “Navigate masked in-person and online group work.”  

View the Resilient Teaching Toolkit Here

Webinars and Drop-Ins

To accompany these resources, CATL will be offering a daily webinar and a separate daily drop-in session Aug. 24–Sep. 4.

Please check out this post or our full calendar of events to learn more.