It’s that time of year where faculty are planning their fall courses.  In you planning, consider collecting feedback from your students at least twice throughout the course. It’s good to do this in a formal way through a simple survey. The  mid-semester survey helps you as the professor assess what’s working and what’s not. By knowing this before the class ends, allows you to improve before it’s too late.

Tools such as SurveyMonkey, Qualtrics, and Google forms are great for creating quick surveys for your students. However, you may run into the low response rate problem. Paper surveys work counter the low response rate.  For example,  I distribute the survey in class and collect their feedback by the end of class. It takes more time to read paper surveys, since the results aren’t aggregated for you. However, my response rate is close to 100%.

If you’re teaching online, digital surveys can be effective. Just be sure to sending out a few reminders to “up” your response rate.

Here’s one I used recently to collect summative feedback on the course:

Many institutions also require students to complete a formal instructor or course evaluation. However, I find that asking students to complete my feedback form enables me to ask those questions that are most valuable to my class and my teaching.
For example, I ask students to rank the class sessions from most valuable to least valuable. This easily highlights to me which sessions need work (see question 5)
I also like to ask questions about the course format, since I teach some courses partially online (see questions 3 and 4).
Finally, if you’ve tried any new teaching techniques, such as debates, using Facebook groups, etc., ask you students explicitly about it. This will give you some insights into how well the new technique was received by students. 

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