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Checking in: How to collect and respond to student feedback online

This week during the Hub coffee hour we discussed how to collect and respond effectively to student feedback in online courses.

Watch the recording of our conversation

Why collect student feedback?

There are several great reasons to collect feedback from students at regular intervals throughout the term. The benefits include:

  1. Creating opportunities to adjust instruction in response to the real-time needs of students
  2. Giving students an opportunity to reflect on their own learning and progress in the course
  3. Demonstrating instructor care and consideration for students’ learning experience (especially during COVID!)
  4. Identifying areas of confusion and common misconceptions, and clarifying them earlier rather than later

Adapted from Victoria University – Wellington, Learning & Teaching.

Tools for collecting feedback

Google Forms: Create a form with a few multiple choice and or open ended questions. Google forms can also be embedded into a Canvas page or announcement.

Canvas surveys (using quizzes): Use the quiz function in Canvas to create an anonymous survey and assign it to your students.

Discussion forums: Instructors often use discussion forums for class assignments, but why not open up a discussion question for feedback about the course? Some prompts could include, “What questions do you have about this module?” or “We tried breakout rooms during our last Zoom lecture. What went well with that activity? What could have gone better?”

Things to keep in mind

Anonymity (sometimes) – Allowing students to give feedback anonymously makes it more likely that they will be honest and forthcoming.

Explain why – Explain to students why you are requesting their feedback and emphasize the value of their responses. They will be more likely to respond seriously if they see the benefit to themselves.

Report back – Be sure to report back to the students, acknowledging that you have received their feedback. Provide a summary of their responses and address what you can and cannot change. If there are some suggestions that you are not able to implement for any reason, be sure to explain why.

Change – Be sure to implement changes in your teaching for those aspects you have control over.

Adapted from York University Teaching Commons

Additional Resources

Presentation materials available on Canvas Commons

Photo by Jonas Jacobsson on Unsplash

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