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Mid-Course Evaluations

Student feedback offered through mid-course evaluations provides a great opportunity to improve your course, both for yourself and your students.  Read below to discover how to implement them in your class in five easy steps.

Why collect feedback from students mid-stream?

Evidence suggests that when students provide feedback mid-term, there can be meaningful improvements in instruction, student learning, and course assessment reports (Cohen, 1980; Marsh & Roche, 1993) .  This effect is amplified when instructors discuss the feedback results with their class (Angelo & Cross, 1993).  Unlike the end of term course assessment reports, students are often motivated to provide useful feedback during the course.  

How? Mid-term surveys in 5 EASY STEPS

1. Consider the questions you’d like to ask your students.  

Options range from the very open-ended (e.g. What should we keep doing, stop doing, and start doing?) to more likert-scale ratings (e.g. “The material is being taught at an appropriate pace” Agree-Disagree).

Here are some sources for possible questions:

2. Choose a tool for administering your survey.

Here are some advantages and challenges of three possible survey tools.

Advantages Concerns
Paper
  • Ensures a good response rate if you administer in class
  • Many templates available
Need to enter data into software (Excel, R, text mining) in order to collate responses and analyze.
Canvas Survey Tool
https://canvas.dartmouth.edu
  • All students in your course have access.  
  • Ensures anonymity while still tracking which students completed the survey.
  • Does a bit of analytics, but none on open-text responses
  • Limited question types (though fairly standard)
Qualtrics Insights Survey Platform
https://dartmouth.qualtrics.com(Log in with Dartmouth credentials)
Can post one anonymous link for all students to access.
Excellent analysis tools, including an option to code open-responses.
If you’d like to track who responds, this requires some data input.
3. Administer the survey.  

Once you have chosen a method, date (and due date if applicable), administer the survey with your students.  Here is some text you may want to consider as an introduction (written or spoken):  

"Today,  I'd like you to fill out a short mid-term evaluation. The information you provide is just for me, and your input is extremely valuable. It helps me gauge how the course is progressing at the moment, that is, what is going well from your standpoint and whether you have any suggestions for how we might proceed for the rest of the term. It also helps me understand what and how you are learning. I will report back to you about the results of this evaluation."  - Adapted from Berkeley Teaching Center

4. Review the results.

Berkeley Teaching Center recommends that you classify results into three groups:

  1. Changes you can make immediately.  These may include small modifications to assignments, or the structure of class discussion.
  2. Changes that need to wait until next time you can offer the course.  These may include logistics changes such as due dates or assignment directions.
  3. Changes that for pedagogical reasons, you are unable or unwilling to make.  These may include the type of assessments you are using (team projects vs. exams).
5. Report the results and discuss your plans.  

By taking the time to share the results of the survey, in a subsequent class period, on Canvas, or via email, you have an opportunity to show the students that the same course activity is viewed positively by some students and negatively by others.  This gives you an opportunity to discuss the importance of diversity and reaching beyond our comfort zones.  

You also have a chance to address the changes you will be making, either now or in future offerings of the course, as a result of their feedback.  This is a great time to review your course goals and objectives and reiterate the reasons behind your teaching methods.

For More Information:

If you’d like to discuss implementing mid-course feedback surveys in your class, please feel free to contact edtech@dartmouth.edu to learn more!

Additional References and Resources:

Angelo, T. & Cross, K.P. (1993). Classroom assessment techniques: A handbook for college teachers (2nd ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Cohen, P. A. (1980). Effectiveness of student-rating feedback for improving college instruction: A meta-analysis of findings. Research in Higher Education, 13, 321-341.

Marsh, H.W. & Roche, L. (1993). The use of students' evaluations and an individually structured intervention to enhance university teaching effectiveness. American Educational Research Journal, 30(1), 217-251.

Dartmouth Center for Advancement of Learning: http://www.dartmouth.edu/~dcal/resources/classroom_assessments.html

Worcester Polytechnic Institute Morgan Center: https://www.wpi.edu/academics/morgan/midtermfeedback.html

Princeton University McGraw Center: https://www.princeton.edu/mcgraw/library/for-faculty/midcourseevals/index.xml

Faculty Focus’ Teaching Professor: http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/teaching-professor-blog/course-evaluations-helping-students-reflect-on-their-feedback/

DCAL Presentation:  https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1UJ3P_1oGw1kWgY4D7fkPonRZ9bhgQQ2Sc9UATotMAv4/edit?usp=sharing 

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