Advice and resources to help you collect mid-course feedback from your students.
Background & rationale
The rationale for collecting mid-course feedback is to promote a sense of dialogue between staff and students from the earliest stages, by providing opportunities for staff to gather (and respond to) feedback from all students. Such opportunities already exist in many courses. In practice this can allow staff to explain why courses are structured in certain ways, or indeed why changes have evolved in response to previous cohorts’ input and to make adaptations in response to students’ suggestions where feasible. This is also an ideal time to introduce/remind students (and staff) about principles of constructive feedback currently used by EUSA for student representative training.
Schools determine how mid-course feedback is carried out. There is flexibility for Schools to collect and respond to mid-course feedback in a way which works best and encourages constructive dialogue. Schools may wish to discuss options or co-design approaches with students. If Schools think that a particular approach to gathering mid-course feedback might raise equality and diversity issues then they should take steps to mitigate the risks.
Since the global pandemic there has been an increase in hybrid teaching. Here are some suggestions for how mid-course feedback might work in the context of hybrid teaching:
- The gathering of mid-course feedback could take place at the end of a synchronous event where students are already connected digitally (and possibly in-person/on-campus) or a link could be placed in Learn.
- In the current hybrid context, short online surveys or polls may be appropriate for this purpose, but methods that involve some degree of interactivity are best suited to creating constructive dialogue.
- Tools can be used which allow students to see the mid-course feedback provided by other students and/or to vote on feedback.
- Feedback may be provided anonymously by students.
- Responses to mid-course feedback could be posted asynchronously, for example in a discussion board in Learn where staff post key themes from the feedback, explain any changes made or intended in response to the feedback, and an invitation for further comments or suggestions.
- Responses to mid-course feedback could be delivered synchronously for example a discussion about the response to students’ feedback could be scheduled.
- The widely used stop, start, continue approach (where students are asked what they want the tutor/teacher to stop, start and continue in the course) remains a useful format for gathering mid-course feedback in the hybrid teaching context. However, rather than using paper-based methods, this can be carried out using digital tools, e.g. it could be set up as a simple questionnaire. It can also be expanded to a two-stage evaluation to help students reflect on their own learning where students are asked both what the tutor/teacher should stop, start and continue in the course, and what they themselves could stop, start and continue to support their own and their peers’ learning (Bovill, 2011).
Bovill, C. (2011) Sharing responsibility for learning through formative evaluation: moving to evaluation as learning. Practice and Evidence of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, 6 (2) 96-109.
Examples of mid-course feedback
Some examples of mid-course feedback that were developed before the move to hybrid and digital teaching that can be easily adapted to the current context:
Example 1: Mid-Course Feedback Example (Maths)
The course organise (CO) arranges for informal feedback to be sought from the class on what is working well and what could be enhanced, in time for minor matters to be resolved for the current cohort. It is normally carried out in class to maximise response rates. Except for small classes, it is normally appropriate to have a separate feedback exercise for lectures and for workshops. Assuming that it is to be a single exercise, the timing is normally at an appropriate point between weeks 3 and 5. The School does not formally collect or record this feedback.
Workshop feedback: This is collected on paper during a session but can be done online. You can review the feedback to individual tutors and if there are particular commendations or criticisms, discuss them with that tutor. Care should be taken to preserve student anonymity. Forms are available:
Lecture feedback: This is also normally done on paper but can be adapted for online use.
Example 2: Mid-Course Feedback Example (Engineering) - paper-based
Engineering use “start-stop-continue” sheets.
Teachers give a summary, about one slide per topic (sample PowerPoint presentation below), shortly after the feedback is collated. This explains what can and cannot be changed and why. (See example slides under Example 4).
Example 3: Mid-Course Feedback Example (Social and Political Science) - Paper-based
The School of Social and Political Science have designed a postcard (see sample below) to hand out to all taught students (UG years 1 -4, and PGT).
Example 4: Mid-Course feedback responses
These slides are an example of how this could be presented during a classroom discussion.
Resources to help you
We have provided some examples and links to further information for colleagues to use to get started. When using online tools to gather feedback we strongly advise you to use one of the following centrally supported platforms. Centrally supported services have been checked for compliance with accessibility and data protection legislation, and are fully supported by central teams. If you plan to use any tools not on the list, it is your responsibility to ensure that they have been checked against the relevant regulations.
- Learn (this link includes information on the upgrade to Learn Ultra): you can use discussion boards or surveys. Staff can also respond to students’ feedback via Learn. We would encourage colleagues to provide information to students about mid-course feedback, plus a link to the tool you are using to gather their feedback, in the 'Have your say' section of the Learn Foundations course template. This can be found on the left-hand menu of Learn. If your school is not currently using the Learn Foundations template then you may have a similarly named section, and we would encourage you to place this information in a consistent place across courses.
- Moodle: a VLE only available to fully online programmes containing similar discussion board features which can be used in a similar way to the Learn features above and a quiz function
- Media Hopper Create: recording short videos can be used by staff to respond to students’ feedback, including via Learn.
- Collaborate: a virtual classroom and meeting tool. A polling option can be added to live online sessions.
- Online Surveys (formerly Bristol Online Surveys). A questionnaire can be created in Online Surveys and the link can be added in Learn.
- Office 365 Forms. A questionnaire can be created in Office 365 forms and can be embedded within Learn.
- Microsoft Teams. Synchronous meetings within MS Teams can be used to meet with students to discuss feedback gathered in another format.
- Wooclap: a real-time digital voting system. This has replaced TopHat.
The Business School Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) team have created a useful guide comparing Office 365 Forms and the Learn survey tool.