Many faculty members at Berea and elsewhere choose to solicit anonymous student feedback about learning at midterm for a number of reasons:
- While end-of-course evaluations of teaching are mandatory, high-stakes, and administered at the institutional level (after the fact to collect global impressions), midterm feedback options are
- instructor-driven and tailored to a specific context,
- confidential and outside of the formal faculty evaluation process,
- helpful for determining what, when, and how students are learning what you deem most important,
- valuable for making adjustments midstream if necessary,
- useful for communicating your goals for students’ learning or clarifying pedagogical choices.
- They can also support student learning and encourage motivation, serving as a means
- to engender student reflection on learning and on their own strategies and levels of effort,
- to signal to students that they play a critical role in the educational process,
- to communicate that their perspectives matter (just asking and being responsive has that potential, even when you don’t make all adjustments requested).
Many formats are available to you:
- You might distribute a simple paper survey in class
- You might develop an electronic survey (through moodle or SurveyMonkey or another software).
- You may choose to arrange for a peer to interview students in your class.
- You might request a structured, confidential Midterm Assessment of Teaching process through the CTL (for more details, contact me, ext. 3067).
Regardless what format you choose, it’s important to briefly follow up the collection of any feedback with a conversation in the next class period about 1) key themes you have heard, 2) any changes you would make as a result, 3) clarifications about misunderstandings (of content or approach) or your rationale for particular instructional choices.
Various Options for Collecting Feedback
|Possible Advantages||Possible Limitations|
|Paper survey||Quick, easy; possible to administer to all students in class||Students may be less forthcoming if they are not sure they can speak anonymously|
|Electronic survey||More anonymous than paper survey||May be more difficult to get a good response rate than with paper|
|Peer-to-Peer feedback||A faculty peer’s conversations with your students may provide greater insights about their learning and perceptions than a paper survey; can provide a rich opportunity for dialogue with a peer about teaching||More time consuming than administering a survey; may require some preparation and guidelines or training for partners|
|CTL Midterm Assessment process||A structured written and focus group protocol administered by an experienced consultant may provide greater insights about student learning and perceptions; entirely confidential; can open possibilities for consultation on teaching||More time consuming than administering a survey; less informal than peer-to-peer feedback|