- Ask and you shall receive. The core advice for mid-semester feedback is that you should only be asking questions for which you are interested in acting on the feedback that you receive. For example, you should not ask about assignments unless you are willing to make some changes to them based on the student feedback. In practice, this means that careful consideration of your questions in advance is important. Specific questions lead to more focused feedback, which makes the task of following up on the feedback more manageable.
- Stay balanced. Make sure that you are not just focusing on making changes based on negative feedback, both for your own well-being and for your students’ learning. Often soliciting feedback is treated as a source of concern, but it is also a time for students to tell you what is working for them and what they would like to see emphasized going forward. It is important to ask questions that allow for this type of positive feedback as well. Additionally, we always encourage mid-semester feedback to include at least one question about what students think they’ve done well and what they could improve upon in their own approach to the course for the remainder of the semester. This practice opens up a more balanced conversation about improving student learning going forward.
- Quick, visible follow-up. The most important part of showing students that their feedback matters is picking some actionable feedback to address as quickly as is reasonable. If students are saying that they need more structure in their breakout room conversations via Zoom, then consider making changes to how you set up those conversations – perhaps with one clear goal/product per breakout session – and then be clear that this change is addressing student feedback when you introduce the change. Not all changes are conducive to quick changes, but showing your students that you are being critically reflective about their feedback lets them know that their voices are heard and their suggestions are being considered as you work to support their learning.
If you have more questions about soliciting or implementing mid-semester feedback, then you should feel free to reach out to the Teaching Innovations Office for a brief, virtual consultation. For more ideas on this topic, consider these resources from Inside Higher Ed and University of Texas for more on effective mid-semester feedback.