Perhaps you’re trying a new teaching strategy or teaching a new course and you wonder what your students think of it. Or you want to avoid surprises in your end-of-semester evaluations. All of these are reasons get some feedback from your students through a mid-semester evaluation.
A mid-semester evaluation gives you an opportunity to get targeted feedback on specific teaching strategies. It also gives you a chance to make changes in a course at a point when they can improve your current students’ learning. Finally, if it’s done well, a mid-semester evaluation can improve your end-of-semester evaluations (McGowan and Osguthorpe, 2011).
If you decide to get some feedback through a mid-semester evaluation, there are several questions to consider.
- When should you collect it?
- What questions should you ask?
- What format should you use to gather the data? Your options include Canvas, a paper form, an online survey, or the mid-semester evaluation form provided by the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning.
Once you’ve made these decisions (perhaps by meeting with a CITL consultant), you can create a form to obtain the feedback, and administer it to your students or ask them to complete it online. Regardless of how you administer the survey, you should explain its purpose to your students—to get thoughtful, constructive feedback to improve your teaching and their learning.
Once you’ve received students’ feedback, it can be helpful to meet with a CITL consultant to analyze the responses and decide how to answer them. It’s a good idea to sort the students’ feedback into three categories:
- Things that seem to be working well in the course
- Things that you’re willing to change or to work on
- Things that you don’t want to change
There’s one more step in the process, and it’s VERY important: discuss the results from the mid-semester evaluation with your students during a subsequent class period. If you don’t do this, your students may feel that they were ignored or that their feedback wasn’t valued. You don’t need to take much time (5 to 10 minutes is plenty), but you should include the main points from each of the categories above. You can also take this time to explain your pedagogical choices and to thank students for their feedback.
To learn more about the CITL’s online mid-semester evaluation, or to plan a mid-semester evaluation in your course, contact the CITL to meet with a consultant. You can also access this video, which explains how to administer CITL’s mid-semester evaluation.
A permanent version of this materials is available on our resources site: https://citl.indiana.edu/teaching-resources/documenting-teaching/mid-semester-eval/.
McGowan, W., & Osguthorpe, R. (2011). Student and faculty perceptions of effects of midcourse evaluation. In Miller, J. & Groccia, J. (Eds), To Improve the Academy: Resources for Faculty, Instructional, and Organizational Development, 29, 160-172.