Why do mid-course evaluations?
- You can still make adjustments to your course.
- Students are more likely to recognize the value of course evaluations and thus also complete the end-of-course evaluations.
When should mid-course evaluations be done?
- Early enough to be able to respond to feedback; typically sometime between weeks 4 through 7 for regularly scheduled courses.
How to carry out mid-course evaluations?
- Below are four effective strategies instructors can use to obtain feedback from students.
1. Online Survey tool in myCourses
An easy way to get feedback from students is to create an anonymous online survey on myCourses. Advantages:
- Easy for students to complete
- Legible comments
- Reports can be downloaded easily
For a quick tutorial, click here.
2. Discussions tool in myCourses
Another method to obtain feedback from students is to create an anonymous discussion topic in myCourses. Take note that instructors should select the option to "Allow anonymous posts" when setting up the topic. They should inform their students that in order to send anonymous feedback they should select the checkbox to "Post as Anonymous" before posting.
For a quick tutorial, click here.
3. One minute paper
At the end of class, instructors can ask students to pull out a sheet of paper and take one minute to answer the following question: What single thing could I change about my teaching that would improve this course for you? Students then submit their paper to the instructor.
4. Student-led discussion
Another possibility, particularly recommended for smaller classes, is to get oral feedback from the students as a group (as opposed to individual feedback). To ensure anonymity and allow students to speak freely, instructors leave the class for 10-15min. In large classes, students should split into groups of no more than 20. Each group selects a facilitator and a reporter and discusses constructive suggestions for the instructors (and TAs where applicable) to improve the course. The reporter records the feedback and reports to the instructor immediately after class. To promote participation and constructive feedback, we recommend instructors agree on some guidelines with the students beforehand.
Detailed instructions for Small Group Instructional Diagnosis can be found here.
What to ask?
The focus should be on areas where instructors are still able to make changes. Questions pertaining to future course offering should be reserved for end-of-course evaluations (Mercury) because students need to see that their feedback has an actual impact on the course.
Mid-course evaluations should not be long and complicated. We recommend three to four open-ended questions that address different areas of the course (e.g., content, presentation, learning environment/atmosphere).
- What do you like best about the course and the instructor's teaching?
- If there was one thing that you could change about this course, what would it be?
- Do you feel comfortable expressing your opinions or asking questions in this course?
- Any specific areas of change, for example: Should we continue the online discussion forums? Do the voluntary review quizzes/other practice tools work for you?
- Is there a strategy that really works for you? If so, which one? (e.g., summary at the beginning of class, weekly quizzes, questions that accompany the reading material, class discussions, online discussions)
- What could you do to make the course better for you and the instructor?
- Is there an area where you would need more guidance/support to enhance your learning?
- Do you have any additional comments or concerns?
Click here to see a sample mid-course evaluation from the Faculty of Engineering.
How to act on the feedback?
Analyze and reflect
The Comments Analysis Worksheet, taken from Interpreting End-of-Course Evaluation Results, is intended for instructors and teaching assistants to use to help make sense of student comments.
To help derive the most benefit from the student feedback, we encourage you to discuss them with a trusted colleague, your academic unit head or someone from Teaching and Learning Services (TLS).
Discuss with the students
Instructors should take some time to respond to the student feedback in the week following the evaluation. Comments in the on-going discussion board should be referred to in class and discussed as appropriate. This could be in the form of a brief summary of the main points raised by the students and ways in which the instructor plans on addressing them. If the instructor will not be making changes to the course, he or she should still acknowledge the feedback and briefly explain the reasons for keeping the status quo. Students should feel that their feedback is valued, even if it does not lead to changes. Students should be encouraged to provide follow-up feedback on the end-of-course evaluation (Mercury).