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Midterm Student Feedback
Gathering Midterm Student Feedback is valuable for identifying areas for instructional improvement. Many instructors have found that simple changes early on can help motivate students and enhance student learning. Students tend to like the process because it gives them a chance to voice opinions on issues that are most critical to them, and they appreciate the fact that the instructor has solicited their opinions.
Small Group Method: This is the most common approach CRLT takes to gathering midterm feedback. It involves the use of small group discussions among students to identify the strengths of the course and any changes that would assist their learning. The instructor arranges to have a CRLT consultant visit the class sometime early in the semester. The consultant arrives at the beginning of the class period and observes until there are approximately 25 minutes left. At that time, the instructor turns the class over to the consultant and leaves the room. The consultant explains the procedure and its purpose and then divides the class into groups of 4 or 5 students. Each group receives a sheet with the following questions:
- What are the major strengths in this course?
- What changes could be made in the course to assist you in learning?
Students are asked to discuss each of these questions in their groups. The groups then share their responses with the whole class, and the consultant clarifies and records responses. Soon after the feedback session (preferably before the class meets again), the consultant meets with the instructor to share the students' comments and his or her observations, and together they discuss possible actions the instructor might take in response to the feedback. The instructor also receives a written report of the student feedback. The process is confidential.
Survey Methods: At the request of faculty, CRLT also offers a variety of survey methods to gather student feedback, especially in large lectures. This feedback option may be appealing to faculty who have only a brief period of class time to allocate to student feedback, as well as instructors who seek quantitative feedback.
Working with the instructor, CRLT consultants construct a brief survey consisting of closed- and open-ended questions. Surveys can be distributed to students for written response in a short period during lecture, administered electronically in class using clickers or laptops, or sent to students electronically outside of class. In all cases, the consultant compiles the results and then discusses the implications with the instructor.