Short on time. Try this informal and easy technique to get a read on your students' experience in the course. Learn what works, what's okay, and what support they would like.
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Providing feedback is the backbone of teaching. Timely objective and authentic feedback should support student learning. It informs your students' personal assessment of their progress and helps them identify their strengths and their weaknesses. Professors provide feedback in many forms, such as: written comments, audio or video recording, rubrics, in-class comments, or emails.
The Blackboard Retention Center is an excellent tool for tracking students' progress and easily sending targeted feedback. Your proactive feedback can support changes in their learning and study habits and motivate self-directed learning. You can also use the Retention Center to track and recognize student success.
Use the Notify option to customize the generic messages and quickly send your feedback. Effective feedback should:
TIP: Consider developing your own standardized notifications that you can copy and paste. From the BITS presentation, Dr. Cigdem V. Sirin offers a good example. (For more ideas, watch the presentation!)
Performance and intervention e-mail - sent to those who received a D or an F from Exam 1:
I am writing to you regarding your exam score. As you know, students need a final letter grade of at least a C or higher to successfully pass this course. That said, I believe you have the potential to succeed in this course with adequate effort and willingness and I will be happy to help you. Keep in mind that there are still opportunities... I suggest that you complete the assigned readings before each class meeting and attend class regularly. Exams will cover material from the readings and the lectures, so doing just one or the other will leave you at a disadvantage... "
Blackboard Innovative Teaching Series (BITS): Blackboard Retention Center (recorded webinar)
The Almond Joy of Providing Feedback to Students - Try a new and maybe more substantive approach to feedback. Consider the coconut "chewy goodness" of positives through out the assignment, the almond "hard things" the must be addressed, and the "chocolate coating" encouragement. It's a different approach from the "sandwich" method, which can lack dimension.
Chappell, K. (2019, March 11). The almond joy of providing feedback to students. Retrieved from https://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/educational-assessment/the-almond-joy-of-providing-feedback-to-students/
Nicol, D. (2010). Good designs for written feedback for students. In W.J. Mckeachie & M. Svinick (Eds.), McKeachie's teaching tips: Strategies, research, and theory for college and university teachers (109 - 123). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Mid-Semester feedback gives students to opportunity to share their concerns, and allows you time to make appropriate changes to the course. These surveys are not the same as the final course evaluations given by the school or department. They are for you to learn more about your students and their learning experience with you. The focus is on your teaching presence, the course delivery & design, and how engaged the students feel. And, any instructor can easily use their Blackboard course to conduct an online survey, even for face-to-face courses.
(Brennan & Williams, 2004, p.11)
Just like writing an exam, it's important to ask the right questions. Instructors should think through their past teaching experiences and consider which areas they want to examine and which areas they would like to improve. Select two to three topics to keep the survey reasonably brief and encourage completion.
The surveys may include questions such as:
Another well-known approach is the Stop, Start, Continue survey method. It's fast and easy to conduct. There are three open-ended questions, which often yield very rich information.
Gathering Feedback from Students article includes sample forms for the classroom from Vanderbilt University
Large set of sample mid-semester feedback surveys includes items from Princeton, Middle Tennessee State University, Otis College of Art, UC Berkeley, Brown, Carnegie Mellon, NYU, Washington University, and Humboldt State University.
Mid-Semester Feedback article from University of Texas, Austin's Faculty Innovation Center. This article discusses the "why" of collecting student feedback during the semester and the "how", which includes selecting the right survey, administering it, and analyzing the results.
Student Assessment of Their Learning Gains
How to Get Better Feedback from Students article from Faculty Focus
Use of the 'Stop, Start, Continue' Method journal article in Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education
Brennan, J. and Williams, R. (2004), Collecting and using student feedback: A guide to good practice. Retrieved from https://www.heacademy.ac.uk/system/files/id352_collecting_and_using_student_feedback_a_guide_to_good_practice.pdf.