During week four or five every quarter, PWR asks all instructors to conduct a midterm evaluation for each of their sections. This process provides an invaluable opportunity for you to receive useful feedback on your course that you can take into account as you move through the remainder of the quarter.
You have several different options for midquarter evaluations.
- You could create your own survey
- You could set up a small group feedback session (SGFS) for your class
- You could contact VPTL to create an online evaluation form for your class
No matter which option you choose, the midquarter evaluation is for your use alone, so you can use it to ask questions that target areas of the class that you're particularly curious about.
After you receive the midquarter evaluation from your students, be sure to take time to thank your students for their feedback, to reflect on the suggestions, to invite further conversation as necessary, and to implement changes in a timely manner. You also could make an appointment with the Associate Director or one of the Course Coordinators to discuss the feedback you received and brainstorm ways to address the student's suggestions.
If you decide to design your own midquarter feedback survey, try to keep your questions simple, clear and direct. The following are questions that many instructors have used in the past as the basis for their midquarter evaluations:
- What is working well with the class so far? What should we keep doing? Please explain your answer.
- What could work better? Please explain your answer.
- What could you, as a student, do to make the rest of the quarter even more successful?
- Do you have any further comments or suggestions?
You also might ask about a particular activity or pedagogical approach that you want feedback on.
As you design your survey, consider how you want to distribute it. You could create a paper survey, or you might use a survey program like Surveymonkey, Google Forms, or Qualtrics. All of these options allow your students to give anonymous, constructive and guided feedback.
If you choose the SGFS option, you can opt for either a VPTL representative or a PWR colleague to run a small group feedback session for your class. The SGFS involves four parts: training, a pre-SGFS meeting between the facilitator and evaluator, small group work with students, and a post-SGFS debrief between instructor and evaluator.
For in-house SGFS sessions, participating instructors will arrange a schedule for visiting each other’s classes to conduct the evaluation in-person with the students. During the actual in-class group work, your colleague visits your class during the last 20-30 minutes and, after you have left, divides your students into small groups. Each group comes to a consensus on what is contributing to their learning in the class, what needs improvement, and (optional) what students themselves can do to improve the course. The evaluator gathers and summarizes the responses through a large group discussion, seeking to make them as specific as possible and to resolve or clarify contradictions among groups. You later meet with the evaluator to discuss the results.
The particular benefit to this model is that, through the discussion, students learn about each other and about the range of responses to the class, rather than simply reporting their own individual response to the instructor.
If you're interested in an SGFS and have not done one before, you can talk to Norah Fahim, Jennifer Johnson, Raechel Lee, or Irena Yamboliev for advice about how to set one up. To find out more about the philosophy behind SGFSs, read VPTL's page on Small Group Feedback Sessions and Raechel Lee's extremely helpful handout on SGFSs from the October 5, 2018 Program Meeting.
A final option is that you could work with the Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning (VPTL) to create a customized survey for your class. VPTL will create the survey and send you the anonymous results; they offer short form as well as long form options that allows a bit more customization and specificity in the questions. After receiving the evaluation results, you can set up an appointment with VPTL to have one of their consultants discuss how to act on the feedback you receive.