Center for the Advancement of Teaching & Learning

CATL

Getting Feedback from Your Students

Collecting feedback from students at mid-semester is a great way to get practical and actionable insights on how your course is going so that you can help students reach your course's objectives.

Why collect feedback?

Gathering feedback allows instructors to:
  • make sure that course lessons connect with students
  • find out where students need support
  • discover the impact of instructional changes from a previous semester
  • uncover changes they may yet want to make for this semester
  • avoid surprises in end-of-semester evaluations
  • figure out why this year's class is different than last year's class 

Guidance on how to get feedback

As part of the Center's TeAch Tuesday series, Kris Vespia (Associate  Professor of Psychology) offers advice on how to conduct mid-semester evaluations in your course.

Ways to collect feedback

Short survey

Paper form
You may wish to distribute a short survey which asks students to discuss their own preparation for class in addition to their experience with the instructor and with the course material.
Electronic survey to put in Canvas
You may also download an electronic survey that you can upload directly into your Canvas course. (You may want instructions for uploading a course export package to Canvas.)
 

Start-Stop-Continue 

  • What is your hindering your learning that your instructor should stop doing? 
  • What should your instructor start doing to improve your learning? 
  • What is helpful to your learning that your instructor should continue doing? 

Open-ended questions 

  • Examples:
    • What in this class so far has helped your learning the most? 
    • What in this class so far has hindered your learning? 
    • What suggestions do you have to improve this course? 

Plus / Delta 

Example Plus/Delta form
  • Record Plus (something they liked) 
  • Record Delta (something they’d like to change)

Small Group Analysis

Adapted from Northeastern University's Center for Advancing Teaching and Learning Through Research

In-person focus groups with your students conducted by a consultant.

Small Group Analysis (SGA) involves the instructor leaving class for a portion of one class period (usually about 20 minutes) while a consultant conducts a form of a focus group with students. The feedback from the students is then synthesized and communicated to the instructor. (At Northeastern, you can arrange for a consultant from CATL to conduct a session.)

The steps in this process are:

  1. The instructor and consultant meet to discuss goals and agree on questions for the session.
  2. The consultant visits the class. The instructor introduces the consultant and explains that they have asked them to gather feedback, then leaves.
  3. Students are divided into small groups and are asked to compile responses to one question. The groups then report out while the consultant records responses. This process is repeated for each question.
  4. Consultant synthesizes the feedback and reports back to the instructor. The consultant and instructor may discuss how the data can inform teaching practices.

The benefits of using an SGA include:

  • The feedback is being gathered by a neutral third party, which may encourage honesty among students.
  • The consultant can help you shape the questions asked of students and interpret results.

To request consultation on implementing one of these strategies, email CATL.

Online survey tools