Request feedback from your students about your course during the term

October 8, 2019 | Michael Dabney, Claudia Stanny (Ed)

Request feedback from your students about your course during the term

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 cannot 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.

Strategies for getting feedback on teaching

Conduct 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 student 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.
  • Consult with Global Online for strategies to elicit student feedback though eLearning. Instructors can create their own survey using the survey tool. Instructors can also use DropThought to request feedback on a learning module, at mid-term, or at the close of the course. DropThought is located in the Content Area of the course shell. Click on Add Existing Activities to open a menu of content options. Select External Learning Tools to access a menu of options, including DropThought. DropThought feedback is anonymous (although students can identify themselves) based on a rating scale and a single comment box.
  • 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 or a survey in eLearning. Ask students to answer the following three questions:
    1. Describe a feature of the class that helps you learn.
    2. Describe a feature of the class that does not help you learn and you would like me change (explain why).
    3. Suggest something new I could do that would help you learn the material better.

Not all suggestions or comments from course feedback 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.

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


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

10/08/2019 ajc