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Using Ongoing Student Feedback to Reinforce Everyone's Role in the Course

Throughout the semester, faculty can construct their own feedback forms/questions to generate a dialogue about everyone's role in meeting the course outcomes. In addition to giving the instructor a chance to hear how things are going from the students' perspective, it also empowers students to be responsible for their own learning. As importantly, it provides an opportunity to reemphasize one's teaching style and course learning outcomes - things often discussed (but soon forgotten) on the first day of class.

When developing questions, Sargent asks that we consider the following:

  • What questions will generate constructive feedback?
  • What am I willing to change? (If you can't change something, don't ask for feedback on it.)
  • Ask open-ended questions about the course.

Sargent suggests the following sample questions:

  1. What knowledge and experiences have contributed to your learning in this course?
  2. How have your peers helped you learn?
  3. How have you contributed to the learning in this course?
  4. How has the instructor and/or course materials aided your learning?
  5. What, if anything, has hindering your learning and what suggestions do you have?

When compiling the responses, consider organizing the feedback into the following categories:

  1. Things that are working well
  2. Things that we (the students and faculty) can work on
  3. Things we can't change (and why)

An important part of getting student feedback is "closing the loop," so plan to report the compiled information (trends) back to students in the next class session. Again, this is an opportunity to reinforce concepts, assignments, teaching and learning strategies, etc., which you probably addressed on the first day of class. You will find that you have a captive audience because the students are anxious to hear how you have reacted to their feedback. Faculty who use some sort of mid-semester feedback and respond to that feedback, rarely receive surprises on their end-of-the-semester student evaluations.

Reference

Sargent, Carey. "Using Mid-Semester Evaluations to Encourage Active Learning." Teaching Resource Center. U. of Virginia, 2007. Web. 25 Jun. 2007

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