Typically, instructors and teaching center staff use one of three different methodologies to collect mid-semester feedback, all of which are described below. You may consider a number of factors when selecting the right method for your class, including: class size, the kind of information you are most interested to hear, and the amount of time you can dedicate to collecting feedback.
Spring 2021 Mid-Semester Feedback
Given the unique and challenging nature of our learning environments this semester, mid-semester feedback can be an especially valuable pedagogical tool. However, some processes for conducting mid-semester feedback may need to be tweaked to work in a socially distanced or remote course. This semester, CTE staff are available on a first come, first served basis to consult with instructors on question development and feedback interpretation. See the CTE website to find out more about this service. Below, you’ll find some information that can help you get started in thinking about how you might want to design and distribute your mid-semester feedback survey, whether you work with a CTE staff member or do it on your own.
Introducing Mid-Semester Feedback to Students
Because students might not have experience providing formative feedback on teaching, it’s helpful to explain what you are asking them to do. Emphasize to students that the feedback process is anonymous and confidential, and let them know what kind of feedback will be most useful to you. You can also explain your plans to debrief the survey results with the class.
You might want to adapt the following language and include it in your own survey form and/or in your verbal introduction of the process to your students: “Thank for completing this anonymous, confidential feedback survey. Please be as specific as possible in your responses to help me make meaningful adjustments. I will review your responses and debrief with the class in the coming week. As always, don’t hesitate to be in touch with any questions or concerns.”
If you are most interested in collecting individual feedback from students, you will likely want to use a digital form to collect student feedback. If you want to create time for students to complete the survey in class, you can end class 5-10 minutes early and share the link to the survey in the Zoom chat if you’re meeting remotely, or through whatever communication medium you are most often using with your class if you are meeting in-person (Canvas announcements, email, a chat platform, etc.). You can also ask students to complete the form asynchronously within a certain time frame, though that will likely result in a lower completion rate.
You also have a choice over what platform you would like to use to host the survey, including:
eXplorance: Instructors can opt into and personalize a survey created by the University Council on Teaching and the Provost’s Office. This survey will be hosted on the same platform that is used for end-of-semester evaluations but the survey data will only be available to instructors. If you choose this option, you will not be responsible for distributing the survey.
Google Forms: You can also create your own simple, anonymous feedback form through Google Forms. Google Forms are easily customizable and do not resemble the end-of-semester evaluation. Below, you can find some sample forms that you can easily copy and edit as you see fit. (To copy a form, click the “copy this form” link next to the form.)
- Sample Individual Mid-Semester Feedback Form #1 [copy form #1]
- Sample Individual Mid-Semester Feedback Form #2 [copy form #2]
- Sample Individual Mid-Semester Feedback Form #3 [copy form #3]
- Sample Individual Mid-Semester Feedback Form #4 [copy form #4]
- Sample Individual Mid-Semester Feedback Form #5 [copy form #5]
Qualtrics Forms: If you already have a Qualtrics account and want to make use of its more sophisticated design options, you can also use that platform to collect feedback from your students. Do note that Qualtrics is a more complicated tool, so if you’re not already familiar with it, we recommend using Google Forms instead.
Small Group Feedback
Some instructors prefer students to fill out their feedback forms in small groups, giving students an opportunity to hear directly from one another about their respective experiences in the class. While it is not possible to do this in physical classrooms this semester, it is possible to facilitate small group conversations by using breakout rooms in Zoom and having one student in each room fill out a feedback form on behalf of the group.
The following approaches are more geared towards the traditional classroom context and are probably not possible in socially distanced or remote classes.
In-Class Individual Feedback
You can take 10-15 minutes of class time to ask students to fill out a short survey. This method guarantees that all students in attendance will respond. Instructors frequently ask the following questions, but you might also decide to ask others instead of or in addition to these:
- What is helping you learn in this class?
- What is not helping you learn in this class?
- What could you and/or your classmates do to help improve your learning?
- Do you have any suggestions for the instructor?
CTE staff may be able to facilitate the collection of in-class feedback and type up a report.
Some sample forms for in-class individual feedback are available below:
- In-Class Individual Feedback Sample Form 1 (Often used by CTE staff, this form includes two standard questions on what is already helping learning and what could improve learning in the class.)
- In-Class Individual Feedback Sample Form 2 (This form includes the two standard questions and provides sample likert scale questions if you are seeking easily quantifiable feedback. You can find an additional list of possible likert scale questions from Princeton’s McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning.)
- In-Class Individual Feedback Sample Form 3 (This form includes the two standard questions and a question that solicits peer and self reflection.)
- You can find additional examples of questions developed by faculty for a number of different class types (lecture, lab, seminar, etc.) through Brown University’s Center for Teaching and Learning.
Outside-of-Class Individual Feedback
If you do not want to take time to solicit feedback in class, Qualtrics is a great option for gathering anonymous, secure online feedback from your students. You can create and distribute a Qualtrics survey on your own or collaborate with CTE staff. The response rate for an online survey to be done outside of class may not be as high as it is for an in-class individual feedback, but you can guarantee your students’ anonymity and easily create a report.
In-Class Group Feedback
A group feedback session takes 20-25 minutes of class time and involves students working in small groups to fill out a handout in response to the questions of the instructor’s devising. Students then debrief about their feedback as a group and all the students are given a chance to weigh in on the various points that are raised.
This method has the advantage of allowing students to hear from one another (students who don’t appreciate group work may be surprised to discover that many of their peers find it helpful), but it’s also possible that students who do not want to voice their opinion publicly won’t have a chance to voice it. CTE staff typically facilitate these sessions and type up the student feedback into a report.