Developing and Implementing Midterm Feedback

Introduction

The Center will assist in developing, implementing, and interpreting midcourse evaluations designed to provide faculty members confidential feedback on the progress of a course. Gathering feedback while a course is in progress allows instructors to make adjustments that can alleviate or prevent specific problems, improve student learning, and benefit classroom climate.

​​​​​​​Several centers have provided model forms and/or procedures that faculty members can use.​​​​​​

Mid-semester feedback allows instructors to make teaching adjustments and improve their courses midstream. Instructors can gain insights about what is working as well as recommendations for improving learning and teaching. They can prevent or alleviate specific problems, and alter class climate. Based on recommendations by the University of Texas/Austin Center for Teaching and learning, these are the steps in developing and implementing a plan to collect midterm feedback from students: ​​​​​​​

What is Mid-Semester Feedback?

  1. Things to consider as you begin:
    1. When is the best time to collect this feedback?
      1. A good time to collect this feedback is after the first major exam or unit break, but still early enough to be able to make adjustments if necessary (usually 4-8 weeks into the semester or 2-3 weeks into the term).
    2. How many students are in your class?
      1. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​For large-enrollment courses, consider using closed-ended questions.
      2. For smaller courses, consider using a mixture of open-ended and closed-ended questions.
    3. What are you most interested in learning about from the feedback collected:
      1. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Discovering what instructional strategies or course policies are and are not working well.
      2. Determining how well specific changes made to the course are working.
    4. What’s the best format for collecting the feedback?
      1. ​​​​​​​Canvas allows students to complete an anonymous survey.
      2. Qualtrics or Microsoft Forms can be used for surveys.
      3. Sometimes a live discussion might seem like the most fitting setting for hearing from students. Consider letting an outside colleague facilitate a feedback session with your students while you step out of the room.
  2. Select or create a brief feedback form for use during class
    1. The CTE site includes examples of forms that you can used or modified.
    2. If you would like to create your own feedback form, remember these strengths of each type of question:
      1. Open-ended questions provide students with an opportunity to share about class dynamics or specific strategies.
      2. Closed-ended questions help get a sense of trending answers across the class and are extremely helpful when focusing on the impact of specific strategies.
  3. Discuss the purpose and process with your students
    1. Explain to students why you are collecting anonymous feedback.
    2. Provide an overview of the process, including when it will take place, how you plan to use the feedback, and when you will share results with the class.
  4. Administer survey
    1. Online: Message students when the survey becomes available.
    2. In-class: do it at the start of class to avoid opinions being based on that day’s class, give your students 5-7 minutes to complete the form, collect the surveys in a way that ensures anonymity.
    3. Thank your students for participating.
  5. Analyze the results
    1. Closed-ended questions are easy to organize by mean and standard deviation. Open-ended question responses can be grouped into meaningful categories.
    2. Reflect on your teaching considering the results and identify realistic changes that can be made this semester.
    3. Summarize the results in a way that you can share with your class.
  6. Respond to feedback
    1. Share your results and reflections with students and let them know what will and will not change as a result of their feedback.
    2. Use the opportunity to highlight what is working, as well as to clarify your rationale for using certain teaching strategies.
    3. Address what you as the instructor and they as the students can do to make the most of the learning opportunities remaining in the semester. ​

Helpful Resources

Early Course Feedback
​​​​​​​The Carnegie Mellon University Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence and Educational  Innovation reviews the four steps in gathering early course feedback (a) deciding when and how to distribute forms; (b) preparing and tabulating the data; (c) interpreting the results; and (d) discussing the feedback with the class. It also provides a sample early course feedback form.

Gathering Formative Feedback with Mid-Course Evaluations
​​​​​​​The University of Toronto Center for Teaching Support and Innovation provides a long list of examples of mid-course evaluation questions as well as ideas on how to introduced the survey and evaluate and use the findings.

Mid-course Evaluations
​​​​​​​The McGill University Teaching and Learning Services site also provides a list of possible questions. They recommend that the evaluation be conducted 4-7 weeks into the course, focus on areas that the instructor can change, and comprise 3-4 open ended questions.

Mid-semester Student Feedback
The Yale University Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning provides recommendations regarding developing, choosing, and implementing midterm evaluations by students. It also provides examples of several approaches, including using Canvas.

Checking in with Students Using a Midterm Survey
​​​​​​​The DePaul University Teaching Commons provides examples of different types of survey questions for students as well as suggestions about responding to feedback.

Soliciting and Utilizing Mid-Semester Feedback
​​​​​​​The Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching presents a discussion of why, when, and how to collect midterm evaluations. They suggest that an instructor could develop a form tailored to a specific course or use an already existing form. Th site provides two examples: one with 9 Likert style questions and 3 open-ended questions and another with 15 Likert style questions and 2 open-ended questions. They also make suggestions about what to do with the feedback once it has been collected.