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Mid-term Course Evaluations in Class—Tips for Successful Implementation/Integration in the Classroom
Integrating a new practice in a classroom environment can be overwhelming for both the instructor and students at first. Before distributing evaluation sheets to students, or requesting that students give feedback, consider how the ongoing collection of student feedback will work most effectively in the classroom environment. The following is a list of tips that can help instructors successfully integrate mid-term course evaluations into their classroom.
Introduce the Evaluation Task
An introduction on the evaluation form, as well as a verbal introduction of the activity to students at the outset, will help ensure students understand how the evaluation process will work. Explain the purpose of the evaluation and how it benefits both them and the instructor. Emphasize that responses are anonymous, and ask for constructive feedback that includes specific examples and suggestions for improvement.
Some students may need clarification about what type of feedback an instructor is looking for. Explaining the value of constructive feedback will help make the collection of student feedback a better experience for everyone involved, particularly students in first year courses who may not have had experience with course evaluations. Constructive feedback is productive and it focuses on specific elements of a course. It is recommended that students provide comments about what is supporting and enhancing their learning, and about what is inhibiting their learning as well. When providing constructive feedback, students are encouraged to reflect and comment on their learning experiences critically. This means that students may try to understand why they enjoy and learn best from particular parts of a course, and try to understand what the cause of negative experiences might be. This information is helpful when professors read through the feedback, and make decisions about what should remain the same in a course, what needs to change, and how certain elements of the course could change to better serve students’ different needs and interests. Constructive feedback is supportive in nature, and it aims to improve the learning environment for all.
Thank students for their comments, and explain how and when the instructor plans to share and respond to the results. The following is a sample introduction that could be used on evaluation handouts:
The goal of this exercise is to collect student feedback. Please respond to the statements and answer the questions honestly and constructively. Your responses will help me to find out how the course is going so far, and they will give me some idea about whether any changes are needed. Your participation is voluntary, and will remain anonymous. Thank you for the taking the time to provide me with your feedback.