Request feedback from your students about your course during the term

March 22, 2016

Model the use of formative feedback for your students and reinforce the credibility of the end-of-term course evaluations.  Introduce the topic of the value of formative feedback by discussing the value of formative feedback on your teaching.  Point out that evaluative feedback from students at the end of the term does nothing to benefit the students who are currently enrolled in the course.  Faculty simply can’t correct a problem that they don’t know about.  If they learn about a problem only after the term ends, the problem might be corrected in the following term but it can’t possibly be resolved for students currently enrolled in the class.

Consider conducting a mid-course evaluation. 

  • Create a short survey by creating a Form in Google documents, accessed by clicking on the Drive option in the Google ribbon menu.  This option is located in the Create menu in Google Drive (select Forms from the list of document options).  Your questions can be embedded in an email sent to students.  Responses will be collected in an excel file stored as a Google document. Note: Because students Gmail is in a different domain than faculty Gmail, unclick the box that requires respondents to sign on before accessing the form. If you do not unclick this box, students will not be able to access the form from their student mail account.
  • Invite a representative from CUTLA or a colleague to visit your class and conduct a Small Group Instructional Diagnosis.
  • Request written feedback in class through a Minute Paper.  Ask students two comment on an aspect of the class that helps them learn, an aspect of the class that they would like to change (and why), and suggestions for things you might do to help them learn the material more effectively.

Participate in the Teaching Partners program (  Teaching Partners conduct classroom observation visits and provide one another formative feedback about their teaching.

Not all suggestions or comments can be acted on (or should be acted on).  But instructors can draw attention to changes they make based on student suggestions and explain why some suggestions cannot be changed (dispensing with exams, ending an evening class half an hour early).  The fact that you take the comments seriously and respond to those that you could reasonably implement will strengthen a student’s belief that course evaluations are taken seriously.

This tip is based in part by a tip submitted by Michael Dabney, Director, Teaching and Learning Center Hawaii Pacific University ( 

03/22/2016 gb

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