Gathering feedback midway through a course is one of the most powerful actions that an instructor can take to optimize the teaching and learning environment. Instructors can use such student feedback to determine what is working and what is not in a course in order to make changes before the end of the term. Conducting a mid-course evaluation can also be particularly helpful when implementing new teaching approaches as well as when teaching newly designed courses. Further, the feedback enables students to contribute to the dialogue on how they can better learn in the course. Seeing that the instructor values student feedback and is making changes can also increase student satisfaction of a course. There is support in the literature that gathering midterm feedback is associated with higher scores on end-of-course evaluations (Cohen, 1980; Finelli et al., 2011).
Typically mid-course evaluations are short and involve mostly open-ended questions that allow students to respond in narrative form. One tried-and-true model is “start-stop-continue” where the instructor asks students three basic questions:
Instructors may also consider asking additional open-ended questions specific to new teaching approaches or activities. For example, “How have the weekly quizzes impacted your learning in the course?” or “How have the breakout rooms impacted your learning in the course?”
CITLS has developed a Mid-Course Feedback Question Bank that instructors can use to create their own survey. The resource contains both a question bank and a Google Forms template for a mid-course feedback survey as well as instructions on how to modify and add questions to suit the needs of individual courses.
Various models also exist regarding the administration of mid-course evaluations. A few examples are listed below based on who administers the evaluation to students.
Chickering AW and Gamson ZF. (1987). Seven principles for good practice in undergraduate education. AAHE Bulletin, 3-7.
Cohen P. (1980). Effectiveness of student-rating feedback for improving college instruction: A meta-analysis of findings. Research in Higher Education, 13(4), 321-341. URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40195393 .
Finelli C, Pinder-Grover T, Wright MC. (2011). Consultations of teaching: Using student feedback for instructional improvement. In C.E. Cook & M. Kaplan (Eds.), Advancing the culture of teaching on campus: How a teaching center can make a difference. Sterling: Stylus Publishing.
Taylor RL, Knorr K, Ogrodnik M, Sinclair P. (2020). Seven principles for good practices in midterm students feedback. International Journal for Academic Development. https://doi.org/10.1080/1360144X.2020.1762086
Wong CO. (July 3, 2020). Three ways to use student feedback to improve your course. Faculty Focus. Educational Assessment. https://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/educational-assessment/three-ways-to-use-student-feedback-to-improve-your-course/