One way to keep a course running smoothly is to make students active participants in their learning experience by asking them for feedback throughout the semester. Student perceptions of course material and associated classroom or online environments can benefit everyone involved in the course and can help to create a welcoming community. Each class of students is unique and may have different interests or backgrounds, so asking students for feedback can help you decide if any adjustments to teaching materials or delivery are appropriate during the semester. Collecting this feedback may also be useful in helping to identify when course revisions and updates are necessary.
For more help soliciting student feedback, request assistance from an instructional designer.
Collecting student feedback is an important part of any continuous improvement practice and will help to identify areas for improvement or intervention within a course. Consider the best practices below when developing a survey or collecting other feedback from students:
General Best Practices
- Ask students about usability of the course.
- Create a welcoming community by being present in the class and be responsive.
- Explain your reasons for requesting feedback, and let students know whether you plan to take action on their responses during the semester or for a future semester.
- After collecting feedback, discuss any changes you will implement and be sure that students are aware of how this may affect them during the semester.
Collecting Quantitative Data
You can build and administer a survey to your students through an online survey platform or through your LMS to collect data on how they view different aspects of the course. For example, you may want to collect information on students’ satisfaction with the following aspects of your course:
- Hours spent per week
- Opportunities for instructor-student interaction (e.g., office hour availability)
- Assignment weighting/course structure
- Lecture quality and length
In addition to surveys, reviewing LMS data or assessment data can also supplement student feedback and identify areas for improvement. For more information on how to analyze student data, consider enrolling in Interpreting Course Analytics to Address Student Needs.
Collecting Qualitative Data
There are several ways to informally collect qualitative data from students:
- Facilitate a stop-start-continue discussion; this type of discussion asks students to explain what they would like to stop, start, and/or continue doing in the class
- At the beginning of the semester, create an FAQ/General Discussion board in your online course shell
- Ask students to write short muddiest point/minute papers
It’s also okay to include both qualitative and quantitative questions in a formal survey, so don’t feel limited to asking only concrete questions. Qualitative data can inform your quantitative data when you ask the students what they found challenging about an assessment.