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Cornell University

Mid-semester Feedback Program

What is the Mid-semester Feedback Program?

This confidential program assists faculty members in obtaining student evaluations at a point in the semester where there is still time to adapt and improve. The program is open to all junior faculty members (faculty in their first two-years of teaching at Cornell).

Why participate in mid-semester feedback?

  • Show your students you are interested in what and how they are learning
  • Adjust your course to address student learning while the course is in progress

How does the CTI help?

  • Creates the mid-semester feedback survey. Check out our example mid-semester survey
  • Collects and analyzes the student responses
  • Shares the feedback with you and provides ideas and resources to adjust your course

What will I need to do?

There is minimal time commitment on your part. You will need to send the survey to students, and we will schedule a 30-minute meeting to review the feedback and discuss ideas for the rest of the semester.

How do I sign up?

Please email us at cornellcti@cornell.edu.

Mid-semester Feedback FAQs

What do I need to do to participate in the mid-semester feedback program?

Let us know by emailing us at cornellcti@cornell.edu. We will get back to you to set up a brief conversation about the process and to obtain some information about your class.

Can I see what the questions on the feedback form are?

Yes. We have prepared an example survey for you to send to your students. On a case-by-case basis, we can add additional questions to the survey that are specific to your course. In general we want to keep the survey short, simple and to the point.

After I email you about the program, what can I expect?

After we have had a brief conversation, we will share a link to the survey that you can send to your students. The survey is administered electronically using a survey tool called Qualtrics. To encourage maximum student participation, we encourage you to:

  • Explain to students WHY you are asking for their feedback, WHAT information you are collecting, WHAT you are going to do with it, and HOW you will share your findings with them.
  • Provide examples of good, constructive feedback, as well as feedback that is not as useful.
  • Explain WHY their feedback is important.
  • Send the survey at least twice (or three times) a few days apart.
  • Consider an incentive for participation (e.g. if 90% of you complete the survey, Iíll add 2 pts onto your next prelim).

After the survey has been shared with students, what happens? Do I see the data?

The survey will be open for about a week. We will monitor student participation to ensure a good response rate. During this time we ask that you remind students of the importance of taking the survey. You might also consider giving the students 5 minutes of class time to take the electronic survey on their own laptops or mobile devices. After a week, the CTI will stop the survey and it will become inactive. CTI staff will review, analyze and summarize the responses and contact you a week or so after the survey closes to set up a conversation about the feedback. Before the conversation, we will send you a summary of the results.

What happens during this conversation with CTI staff?

During the conversation, which will take about 30-minutes, we will discuss ideas and resources that address student feedback. We will consider the studentsí suggestions for improvement, and group them into three categories:

  • Those you can change this semester (for example, the turnaround time on homework)
  • Those that must wait until the next time the course is offered (for example, the reading or texts)
  • Those that you either cannot or, for pedagogical reasons, will not change (for example, the number of exams or quizzes)

What do I do once I have talked about the responses with CTI staff? When do I talk to the students?

You will want to respond to your students' comments as soon as is feasible. Let students know what, if anything, will change as a result of their feedback. Thank your students for their feedback and invite their ongoing participation in helping you improve the course. Clarify any confusions or misunderstandings about your goals and their expectations. Summarize what you found and let students know that you have considered what they have said. Help students to see that not everyone in the course may feel the same way they do. Reinforce for students that filling out evaluation forms thoughtfully is appreciated and valued. Then give a brief account of which of their suggestions you will act upon this term, what you will incorporate the next time the course is offered, and which you will not act upon and why. Let students know what they can do as well. For example, if students report that they are often confused, invite them to ask questions more often.

References

Angelo, T.A. & Cross, K.P. (1993). Classroom assessment techniques (2nd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Walvoord, B.E. (2010). Assessment clear and simple: A practical guide for institutions, departments and general education. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Nulty, D.D. (2008). The adequacy of response rates to online and paper surveys: what can be done? Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 33(3), 301-314.

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†† Cornell University