Particularly around midterm, students and faculty can find that the grind of the class schedule leading to burnout, dis-engagement, low energy etc. This can result in absences, declining grades, low energy classes etc. Likewise, end of term class evals are not returned in time to be able to adjust instruction for a particular class.
Conduct your own mid-term class eval and incorporate changes to the course for the 2nd half can address issues and re-energize all for the 2nd half.
As Keutzer puts it:
“I have found five distinct benefits of a midterm evaluation:
(a) The information can be used to make changes during the current course;
(b) students feel empowered to help design their own educational process;
(c) it allows an assessment of specific behaviors rather than a global ‘quality of teaching’ rating;
(d) instructors can ask for the information most pertinent to them-even soliciting criticism without fearing any adverse consequences from the administration; and
(e) the evaluations go directly to the instructor. (Keutzer, 1993).”
Item B above is crucial for helping to motivate and re-engage students for the 2nd half of class, and perhaps even you the faculty member as well to know where or how your instruction is connecting… here are 5 steps:
- Select Your Eval Questions
There are many mid-term eval surveys you can find, but key is to get the specific data you want and can act on. Incorporating a question that offers something to indicate the student’s role/responsibility can be very helpful and revealing, such as “What are the top 3 things you as the student can do to improve our class in the 2nd half?” With a companion question of “What are the top 3 things I as the instructor can do to improve our 2nd half?” Many other models such as “Pluses & Wishes” or “KQS – Keep doing/Quit doing/Start doing” are available to help — see the MSU Mid-term Student Feedback page.
- Administer Your Eval & Explain Why & What Will Be Done
Introduce the eval to your students, whether administering it in person in class or online via Canvas (Tip: If administering online, make it be “Anonymous” extra credit “Graded survey” to boost response rate). Emphasize Your commitment to taking it seriously and that they should as well (E.g. Don’t just say ‘give us all an A!’). Likewise what will you do with the results to act on them. Administering anonymously (asking them not to put name on it if handing in) will also help get you unvarnished feedback.
- Analyze the Results
Have a tough skin and focus on mining the important comments. Sorting Comments Under 5 different headers can help mine the key points:
- Implement at least 1-2 reasonable “*CAN* Change” suggestions.
“…Student ratings showed improvement in proportion to the extent to which the faculty member engaged with the midcourse evaluation.(McGowan & Osguthorpe, 2011).”
To show students their time and input is valuable, And thus to engage and motivate them, find at least 1-2 items in specifics you CAN reasonably change to implement for the 2nd half. Update the relevant documents/ materials/ pages with the changes and adjust course points/schedule etc. for the 2nd half to document changes.
- Review the Results with Students & Explain why suggestions were/ were not adapted
“Faculty who read the student feedback and did not discuss it with their students saw a 2 percent improvement…Faculty who read the feedback, discussed it with students, and did not make changes saw a 5 percent improvement. Finally, faculty who conducted the midcourse evaluation, read the feedback, discussed it with their students, and made changes saw a 9 percent improvement” (McGowan & Osguthorpe, 2011).
In either live class or recording or a handout as soon as possible after the survey, present a summary of the feedback and what will be acted on and why as well as what will not be acted on and why. Discussion your view of Perception gaps could also be very rich dialog. Highlight/ direct the students to the revised documentation/ materials reflecting the changes for the 2nd half. This can give you a meta class discussion to “re-launch” and re-energize the course for the 2nd half.
TAKING THE FIRST STEPS:
Put together a list of the key questions you think will get you the best response and determine how far you are willing to go with student suggestions.
- “Benefits, Impact & Process of Early Course Evaluations,” Duquesne University Center for Teaching Excellence
- “Mid-Term Student Feedback,” Michigan State University Office of Faculty & Organizational Development