Reminding students that you are partners in the teaching and learning process means inviting them to give you feedback about what is working. In our current situation, this is especially important. As caring educators, student success is your highest priority. As experts in your field, you provide access to essential information and development opportunities. As teachers, you provide learning experiences that motivate and inspire personal and professional growth. Here are a few ways to determine if your pedagogy is producing the results you desire.
Student Feedback after the First Week
You can show students that you care about them and their learning by obtaining feedback from them early in the process. These questions would make excellent survey questions or prompts for a brief discussion around the second week of class:
- How are you adjusting to the process and the schedule; and what do you still need?
- What is one goal you have for the remainder of this class? And What can I do to help you meet your goal?
- Are you experiencing any challenges?
Informal and Ongoing Feedback
It is useful to seek feedback throughout the semester, but it can be time-consuming to collect and analyze a lot of information. Many faculty find it useful to get targeted, quick feedback about how students are doing with particular topics or teaching strategies that they can use to adapt. Classroom Assessment Techniques (CATs) are one way of doing this. Explore our article about CATs for more information.
Surveying Students about the Learning Experience
At any time during the semester, faculty may want to ask students to provide more formal feedback about the instruction. This type of survey provides student feedback that can be used as evidence of faculty development and teaching excellence for end of year reflection or evaluation. The following are some excellent questions to ask students (provided by Duane Dunston):
- What is working/not working?
- Has there been an activity or assignment that worked well for you and why?
- Please provide an example of an activity or assignment or method of delivery that is not working well and explain how we might improve it.
- Is the schedule and pace manageable? Explain
- Do you feel comfortable asking questions and meeting for office hours?
- Is there anything hindering you from full participation or feeling safe in the online environment and/our community?
- (Specific content or process questions here)
- What else would you like for me to know?
You can create an ungraded survey like this in Canvas Quizzes, which allows you to assign a deadline. However, you may want to put feedback questions in a Google Form instead and send the survey to the students. This is especially useful if you include multiple choice and Likert (1-5 scale) questions, because Forms will collate the results for you and create graphs. If you are new to Forms, consider this helpful video on creating Google forms, and this helpful checklist as you build your survey.
In addition, we recommend that you make an announcement in Canvas and include instructions, the link and a deadline. You may wish to make the survey an assignment graded on completion only to recognize the effort students put in.
The middle of the semester is a great time to gather formal feedback because it gives you enough time to adapt in ways that make a real difference in students’ learning experiences. Having a feedback conversation, with or without a survey, and applying some common requests for the rest of the class shows students you care about their learning. Conversely, gathering significant feedback and not applying or discussing any of it can have a detrimental effect on how students view the course.
We provide guidance for soliciting midterm feedback, including a sample form you can customize.
Feedback Form Templates
- General Student Feedback Form (customizable; originally created Spring 2020 but applicable to in-person instruction)
- Midterm Feedback Form (customizable)
- Switch to Remote Learning Feedback (customizable; provided for historical purposes)