A Mid-Semester Feedback session, sometimes called a Small Group Instructional Diagnosis (SGID), provides an opportunity for instructors to gather structured feedback from their students regarding the functioning of the class and the quality of student learning. What aspects of class are going well? What aspects of class might need improvement? What changes in the course would benefit student learning?
These sessions typically occur around mid-semester so that instructors may modify their classes to enhance student learning and performance. In addition, our center staff conduct these sessions in order to provide students with increased freedom to express their views, thereby increasing the validity of their responses. Ultimately, these feedback sessions provide instructors with valuable information regarding student perceptions of instruction and learning, while conveying to students the importance that faculty hold for the instructional process.
We now offer four options for participating in the mid-semester feedback session to accommodate the growing need, as well as limitations, a number of classes present. The options, with brief descriptions, are as follows:
- Traditional: requires 25-30 minutes of class time and is recommended for classes of no more than 125 students.
- Split: the traditional option is split into two sessions. This requires two, 10-15 minute sessions (roughly a week apart) and is recommended for classes of more than 125 students.
- Abbreviated: requires 10-15 minutes of class time and is recommended for any class size. This option will only provide qualitative data, whereas the Traditional and Split options allow time for student rating and ranking (see The Process section for more information) which provides a degree of quantitative data.
- Online: restricted to online courses.
The Traditional Mid-Semester Feedback session process involves four steps:
- Students are explained the process and then organized into small groups.
- Students, in small groups, then discuss their individual feedback, reach consensus, and complete the Group Feedback form. (for the online option, this is moved from a group form to an individual form)
- Students, as a class, then discuss which aspects of the class should be changed to enhance the learning quality of the classes. This information is recorded on the Class Feedback form. (not available in the Abbreviated option)
- Students, as a class, then rate the importance of the items generated through the Class Feedback, resulting in a prioritized list of desired class changes. (not available in the Abbrievated option)
Faculty members must allow 30 minutes of class time to complete the feedback process. Afterwards, the faculty member with meet with a center staff member to discuss the results and receive the feedback report.
The Evaluation Questions
The Individual and Group Feedback forms address three standard questions:
- What aspects of class are working well? What are the strengths of the class? What aspects of the class are having a positive impact on your learning?
- What aspects of the class are working poorly? What are the weaknesses of the class? What aspects of the class are having a negative impact on your learning?
- What aspects of the class do you believe should be changed? How should these aspects be changed? (Please be as specific as possible.)
Additional questions may be added at the instructor's request; however, the number of questions on the feedback form should not exceed five. For the Traditional and Split options, students are provided with 10 minutes in which to complete the feedback form; thus, it is important to keep the form short and focused.
Anonymity and Confidentiality
Students' responses on the Individual Feedback form are anonymous and confidential. Students are not asked to sign the Individual Feedback form, the instructor will not see these forms, and the forms will be stored safely in the center office. The instructor will, however, receive a typed listing of all feedback provided on the Group Feedback forms. The instructor will not, however, receive the original forms.
In addition, the Mid-semester Feedback itself will be confidential; that is, the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning will not share with outside entities (e.g., Department Heads, Tenure and Promotion Committees) the existence of or results from the session. The individual faculty member, however, is free to share the existence of the evaluation and the results of the evaluation, as he or she deems necessary.
Reporting the Results of the Feedback Session
Faculty members will receive a formal letter indicating the conduction of the Mid-Semester Feedback session and a brief summary of the results. In addition, faculty members will receive a detailed and typed listing of the Group Feedback comments and a summary of these comments. Typically, the faculty member will receive the evaluation results within three days of the conduct of the evaluation.
Using the Feedback
The Mid-Semester Feedback session is designed to collect data regarding student perceptions of instructor performance and student learning in order to modify the course, as necessary, to enhance the learning experience for students. To maximize the beneficial effects of the evaluation, the instructor should (a) reflect on the information contained in the feedback report, (b) construct a specific set of course changes that address the recommendations, (c) discuss the proposed changes with the class, and (d) make the agreed upon changes. Discussing the results of the evaluation and the proposed changes with the class is important as it validates for the students the importance that the instructor places on learning and provides an opportunity for the faculty member to discuss the conduct of the course.
Scheduling a Mid-Semester Feedback Session
Access the scheduling form here. Please have in mind a few different dates that will work for your course during weeks 6-8 of the semester.