Mid-Semester Course Feedback

Mid-semester course feedback provides instructors with an opportunity to "check the pulse" of their course midway through the semester, ideally sometime between weeks 6-8.  By surveying students, instructors can collect constructive feedback about how students are learning and engaging in the course including the impact of instructional approaches.  When done well, this quick method provides instructors with practical and actionable information about what is working plus recommendations for improving learning and teaching.

Why collect Mid-semester Course Feedback?

Instructors commonly seek mid-semester feedback for a variety of reasons including:

  • to support and enhance student learning and engagement this semester
  • to address their instructional approach the first time teaching a course
  • to discover the impact of instructional changes from the previous semester
  • to improve their teaching
  • to avoid surprises in their end-of-semester course evaluations

How do you acquire Mid-semester Course Feedback?

1. Things to consider as you begin:

  • How many students are in your class?
    • For large-enrollment course, consider using closed-ended questions with one open-ended question
    • For courses with a fewer than 100 students, consider using a mixture of open-ended and closed-ended questions
  • What resources do you have for evaluating results?
    • If you have TAs or other support, consider including more open-ended questions.
    • If you are doing this alone, then the size of your class becomes a major factor.
  • What are you most interested in learning about from the feedback collected?
    • Discovering what is and is not working well regarding student learning
    • Identifying whether or not specific changes made to the course are working
  • Would you like to do this during class with a paper form or online?
    • For online, Learn More about using Canvas to collect anonymous mid-semester course feedback
    • Canvas allows you to award students points for completing an anonymous survey if you would like to incentivize student participation.

2. Select or create a brief feedback form for use during class

  • We developed a few forms with UT faculty during a workshop on mid-semester course feedback.  Feel free to download and modify these forms to better suit your needs.
    • Short Form [1 closed-ended question and 3 open-ended questions]
    • Long Form [16 closed-ended questions and 3 open-ended questions]
    • TA form [ 19 closed-ended questions and 2 open-ended questions]
  • If you would like to create your own feedback form, feel free to select and modify questions from these banks:
    • Open-ended questions provide students with an opportunity to share about classroom dynamics or specific strategies that might not otherwise be mentioned
    • Close-ended questions are extremely helpful for large-enrollment courses or when focusing on the impact of specific strategies

3. Discuss the form and process with your students

  • Explain to students why you are collecting anonymous feedback
  • Provide an overview of the process whether online or in-class
    • When it will take place, how you plan to use the feedback, and when you will share results with the class
  • Download resource about how you can help students give useful constructive feedback

4. Administer survey

  • Online: send an email to students when the survey becomes available
  • In-class: recommended to 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, and thank your students

5. Organize the results

  • Close-ended questions are easy to organize by mean and standard devation but hard to act upon when scores on a particular question are low.
    • One way to handle this is following up with an open-ended question addressing only the areas receiving low scores.
  • Learn More about how you can organize open-ended comments.
  • Reflect upon your teaching in light of the results and identify realistic changes that can be made this semester
  • Summarize the results in a way that you can share with your class

6. Respond to feedback

  • Share your results with students and let them know what will and will not change as a result of their feedback
  • Seize the opportunity to highlight was is working as well as clarify your rationale for using certain teaching strategies