Respond quickly to student comments
Ideally, you should respond to your students' comments at the next class meeting. To make this possible, create and share your online survey during times in the quarter when you will have the opportunity to immediately review the class's comments. Mid-term evaluations usually occur between weeks four through six.
Consider carefully what students say
First, review the positive things your students have said about the course. This is important because it is easy to be swayed by negative comments. Then consider their suggestions for improvement and group them into three categories:
- Those you can change this quarter (for example, the turnaround time on homework assignments)
- Those that must wait until the next time the course is offered (for example, the textbook)
- Those that you either cannot, or for pedagogical reasons, will not change (for example, the number of quizzes or tests)
You may want to ask a colleague or a teaching consultant to help you identify options for making changes.
Dedicate time in the next class for letting students know what, if anything, will change as a result of their feedback. Thank your students for their comments and invite their ongoing participation in helping you improve the course. Students appreciate knowing that an instructor has carefully considered what they have said.
Use the time to clarify any confusions or misunderstandings about your goals and their expectations. Then give a brief account of which of their suggestions you will act upon this term, which must wait until the course is next 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. Keep your tone and attitude neutral; avoid being defensive, indignant, or unduly apologetic.
Read more about the benefits of talking with students about mid-quarter evaluations in this piece by Dr. Maryellen Weimer.