WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?
Do you look forward to or dread end of quarter student evaluations? Is this the only opportunity that students have to provide feedback during your course?
While end of quarter feedback can be helpful, a more proactive strategy for getting feedback throughout the course delivery can provide many benefits to both instructors and students. This could be as simple as offering an anonymous “exit ticket” at the end of a class session where students can share a take-away of what they learned or what was unclear. Or it could be a structured mid-quarter feedback survey they provides more detail on the student experience, allowing some time to make shifts in your course design in the remaining weeks.
You may feel like your course is going great or you might feel that students are really struggling. But if you don’t ask them, you don’t really know what they are thinking or how it is going. So take a moment to review some of the ideas below and consider if any of the options would help you to get some helpful feedback from your students.
HOW CAN I IMPLEMENT THIS SUCCESSFULLY?
- Include an open-doors/ open-ears policy about feedback in your course syllabus, letting students know that you want to hear feedback from them during the quarter and that they should not wait until the term ends.
- Discuss feedback on the first day of class – both in terms of how you want to help them to become better students and also that you want to continuously become a better instructor. Set the climate for a feedback friendly classroom.
- Always follow-up when feedback is provided and offer some kind of response. Students appreciate when their feedback is recognized. If students feel their feedback was ignored this could have a negative impact on student motivation and engagement.
- Consider feedback as a whole and do not get too upset by outliers. Even the very best instructors will get critical (and sometimes hurtful) feedback from a few students now and then.
- You do not have to respond to feedback in the moment. If you feel stuck or unsure of how to move forward, tell students you have heard their concerns and you need to take time to reflect and consider how to best incorporate their feedback.
- For challenging feedback, discuss with a colleague or with the appropriate UCLA department for more serious grievances.
- Keep in mind that it may take a lot of courage for a student to come to you with feedback. Even if you disagree, thank them for sharing and try to respond with this context in mind.
- Interactions with TAs are a very large part of the student experience. Encourage TAs to solicit feedback using appropriate methods from this guide. Observe TAs if possible, ask TAs for feedback on your teaching, and share feedback with your TAs on their own development throughout the quarter.
The following resource outlines several possible activities you can use to get feedback from your students, as well as examples of questions to ask:
WANT TO DIG DEEPER?
Why wait until the quarter is over to get feedback from your students on their experience in your course? There are several examples of mid-quarter evaluations and questions you can use to get feedback in the middle of your course (or sooner). This could be as simple as asking students to write down on an index card what has been working well and what can be improved, or you can use a more formal instrument like a survey to capture more specific feedback.
Mid-Quarter Evaluations Templates: To help make this as easy as possible for you, CEILS has developed a templates. You can simply copy this into your course, and make any edits:
- Short google form Mid-Quarter Feedback Template for remote teaching (pdf version) –> click the next link to make a copy of the google form to save to your google drive Mid–Quarter Feedback Template (Google Form version)
- Center for Education Innovation and Learning in the Sciences CEILS Mid-quarter Course Evaluation –> View a short video tutorial on how to copy this template into your course
- Here is a set of student survey questions to assess classroom climate and potential microaggressions. (Microaggressions are smalll, often unintentional, actions that target marginalized groups.)
In 2009, Adriana Signorini from the Center for Engaged Teaching and Learning at UC Merced developed the Students Assessing Teaching And Learning (SATAL) Program as a mechanism to support faculty and staff working to enhance teaching and improve student learning on campus. Faculty, teaching assistants, and /or academic program leads partner with SATAL interns to assess the teaching and learning experiences of students in their classes and/or programs. As a SaP program, SATAL places value on the voice and views of students, as they engage as pedagogical consultants. This student, staff, and faculty partnership is founded on the ‘principles of good practices: respect, responsibility, and reciprocity’ (Cook-Sather, 2014) which set the tone for our relational work with faculty and students.
Learn more about this program at UC Merced’s Center for Engaged Teaching and Learning.