In terms of informal feedback, you will want to listen to the class and also keep an eye on how students are responding to you in the classroom. Are the students actively engaged? Are they asking questions and responding to your questions? Are students not showing up for class? Are students sleeping or talking to other students during the class?

What is key to any successful written feedback tool is that it is focused on what you want to know in order to help improve your teaching. For the feedback to be helpful, it needs to be quick and easy for both the student and yourself, focused on your teaching strategies (e.g., class structure; styles of lecture; utility of assigned readings; utility of the assignments), and not focused on your personal qualities, character, or on those aspects of student learning that you do not have any control over (e.g. classroom facilities; time of day the course is offered).

Student feedback can be collected in the classroom setting and online.

Additional examples of student feedback tools are available from the Office of Academic Excellence. No one tool will meet every teacher’s needs, and your needs may vary over time.

Modify the attached samples and create your own tool to better meet your needs. That is one of the key elements of using a system of formative evaluation for improving your teaching—you are in charge of the what, when, where, how and why of collecting student feedback.

SOURCE LIST

TOOL 1: THE ONE MINUTE PAPER

The one minute paper can be used to ascertain students’ understanding of a class and/or get a sense of how students would rate the course. The procedure is simple: give students the last few minutes of class to write the answer(s) to one or two specific questions you want to ask them; collect the answers and synthesize them in any way you like; respond in some way during the following class period.


If you want to focus on student understanding, your question may be general (“What was the most important point in the lecture?”) or rather specific (“Summarize two conflicting points about global warming”). You can begin your next class by clarifying areas that the students had difficulty understanding. You can also ask students what they would like to learn more about.


If you want to focus on how students perceive your teaching, you may want to ask questions about organization (“How well do the discussions integrate with the reading?"), or style (“How comfortable do you feel asking questions?”),or clarity (How clear was today’s class for you?”). If you summarize responses for them and convey your plans for desirable changes, students will tend to find you a responsive teacher.

 

TOOL 2: START, STOP, CONTINUE: YOUR OPINION COUNTS!

What should I start doing in the classroom to help you learn?

What should I stop doing in the classroom to help you learn?

What should I continue to do in the classroom to help you learn?

Thanks for your feedback — Please drop your completed form in the suggestion box at the back of the classroom.

 

TOOL 3: THREE THINGS ABOUT THIS COURSE

The three things I liked most about the teaching in this course were...

The three things I disliked most about the teaching of this course were...

My suggestions and comments for improving the teaching in the course are...

Thanks for your feedback — Please drop off your completed form at the end of class.

 

TOOL 4: THE ONLINE SURVEY

There are a number of online feedback tools available including Zoomerang, Survey Monkey and Question-Pro. There are varying costs for each of these software programs, but each has a free trial feature if you are interested in exploring this option for collecting student feedback.

NEW Victoria Koch of the Computer Technology program uses Wirenode to encourage her students to give feedback via their cell phones. You can choose the types of questions you ask; create your questions and have the students' responses sent to your @georgebrown.ca email. As with all free software, check free ads. shown at the bottom of the screen and know you have no proprietary rites to anything you post.

TOOL 5: THE THREE PART INVITATION EVALUATION

Fraser taught chemistry to a class of 60 and engaged students in a 3 part process of feedback. She assigns 1% of the total grade for the students completing the feedback components of the course. When students trust that we take them seriously by reading and responding to what they have to say, it makes a huge difference to them and their experience in the course.

At the beginning of the course she asks each student to identify their interests, background experience coming into the course, goals in taking the course.

At the course mid-term she asks students to review their goals and identify what the teacher and peers can do to improve their learning experience.
After the final exam she asks students to provide feedback again related to:

• How well they felt they met their goals
• What they found most challenging
• What they found most rewarding
• Regardless of the role chemistry will play in their future, she asks them to comment on how the course increased their understanding and appreciation of chemistry
• What suggestions do they have for the teacher to become a better teacher and improve the course for the future
• Other comments

TOOL 6: SARGENT'S SYSTEM

Sargent structures the questions around students’ learning processes. She writes four questions on the board and asks the students to respond on their own paper.

What knowledge and experience have you contributed to this course?
How have your peers aided your learning?
How has the instructor and/or course material aided your learning?
Has anything been hindering your learning?

After compiling the responses to the questions, Sargent organizes the comments into three categories and reports the findings in the next class – either at the beginning or the end, depending on the learning activities planned for the day:

• Things that are going well
• Things that we can work on
• Things we can’t change

TOOL 7: LOEVINGER'S QUESTIONS

Loevinger developed this tool in an attempt to deal with the issue of having students stumble into the classroom half-awake, and often half-prepared, putting their heads on their desks, talking to each other, and generally resisting attempts to get them to enter whatever discussion she was attempting to have in the classroom. All previous attempts to correct the problem had failed. She tried glaring at the students who were talking, and asking students to paraphrase each other’s remarks during the discussion, but they said that she “wasn’t listening to them”. At mid-term she included two new questions for the students to answer:

What is the one thing you want me to do to improve the course?

What is the one thing you want the other students to do to improve the course?

Loevinger then typed the responses on one page that were most helpful for question #1, and included all the responses to question #2. She noticed a distinct change in her class after this point.

TOOL 8: THE MID-TERM TUNE UP

Based on the experience of receiving an extremely disappointing evaluation from a student at the end of the course when she could not do anything about it, Milman developed the mid-term tune-up tool. She uses the car tune-up analogy as the basis for the tool, and identifies that just like “cars need fixin’—so do most courses/instructors.

The mid-term tune-up tool asks three questions:

What’s running well? (What most helps you learn in this class?)

What needs fixing? (What impedes your learning, and how can realistic improvements or changes be made?)

Please write any other comments you’d like to share.

TOOL 9: GUNN’S REFLECTIVE FEEDBACK

Gunn teaches 85 students in an Intensive English program. In addition to collecting on-going feedback from the students, and an end-of-term anonymous evaluation, she asks students to provide more reflective feedback halfway through the semester. Gunn asks the students to put their names on the form, as she responds to the students’ concerns individually. The content of her mid-semester reflective feedback tool is outlined below.

MID-SEMESTER FEEDBACK
We are now more than halfway through this semester. I would like you to give me some feedback regarding this course. Please answer as many of the following questions as you want to as they apply to you. I am NOT looking for compliments ­— I am looking for honest feedback to help ensure that the rest of this course will help you achieve your educational goals:
• What is helping you learn in this course? Think about, for example, what you do both inside and outside of class, the textbook, my teaching approach, etc.
• What is NOT helping you learn?
• Think about, for example, what you do both inside and outside of class, the textbook, my teaching approach, etc.
• Is there anything you would like to see changed in this course?
• What can I do to help you?
• What can you do to help yourself?
• Do you have any other comments?

TOOL 10: TWO WAY FAST FEEDBACK

Bateman and Roberts describe a two-way fast feedback tool that is simple for the teacher to use and identifies gaps in student learning. They identify that what differentiates this tool from the “minute paper” tool, is the key requirement of the instructor to provide prompt reverse feedback to students, not only by changing the manner of teaching (when necessary), but also by clearing up confusion and answering questions that were not raised during the class.
Two questions that can be asked to identify the effectiveness of your teaching, as well as how well students are learning, that can be used in the two-way fast feedback are:

• What was the muddiest point in the lecture?
• What was the most important thing learned?

Bateman and Roberts note that the two-way fast feedback does not encourage students to dictate what should be taught. The teacher must still ultimately decide what to teach as they usually know more about the topic than the students. But they add that students do have a unique insight into which topics are confusing, boring, or of dubious importance to them.