Strategies for Getting (and Responding to!) Feedback from Your Students
Strategies for Getting Feedback from Your Students
General Tips and Strategies for Getting Feedback from Your Students
- Include an open-doors/ open-ears policy about feedback in your course syllabus, letting students know that you want to hear feedback from them during the quarter and that they should not wait until the term ends.
- Discuss feedback on the first day of class – both in terms of how you want to help them to become better students and also that you want to continuously become a better instructor. Set the climate for a feedback friendly classroom.
- Always follow-up when feedback is provided and offer some kind of response. Students appreciate when their feedback is recognized. If students feel their feedback was ignored this could have a negative impact on student motivation and engagement.
- Consider feedback as a whole and do not get too upset by outliers. Even the very best instructors will get critical (and sometimes hurtful) feedback from a few students now and then.
- You do not have to respond to feedback in the moment. If you feel stuck or unsure of how to move forward, tell students you have heard their concerns and you need to take time to reflect and consider how to best incorporate their feedback.
- For challenging feedback, discuss with a colleague or with the appropriate UCLA department for more serious grievances.
- Keep in mind that it may take a lot of courage for a student to come to you with feedback. Even if you disagree, thank them for sharing and try to respond with this context in mind.
- Interactions with TAs are a very large part of the student experience. Encourage TAs to solicit feedback using appropriate methods from this guide. Observe TAs if possible, ask TAs for feedback on your teaching, and share feedback with your TAs on their own development throughout the quarter.
Getting Feedback from Students: Activities and Questions to Ask
The following resource outlines several possible activities you can use to get feedback from your students, as well as examples of questions to ask:
Strategies for Responding to Feedback
Be aware of the limitations with using student ratings of instruction
See the CEILS teaching guide on “Other forms of evaluating teaching” to read about the limitations in using student ratings of instruction as the main component to evaluate teaching.
Using Mid-Quarter Evaluations to Hear and Respond to Student Feedback
Why survey students during the term?
Why wait until the quarter is over to get feedback from your students on their experience in your course?
There are several examples of mid-quarter evaluations and questions you can use to get feedback in the middle of your course (or sooner). This could be as simple as asking students to write down on an index card what has been working well and what can be improved, or you can use a more formal instrument like a survey to capture more specific feedback.
Mid-quarter Evaluation Template
To help make this as easy as possible for you, CEILS has developed a mid-quarter evaluation that is available in CCLE as a template. You can simply copy this into your course, and make any edit:
Using weekly, mid-quarter or targeted surveys to assess classroom climate
Here is a set of student survey questions to assess classroom climate and potential microaggressions. (Microaggressions are smalll, often unintentional, actions that target marginalized groups.)
CEILS hosted a symposium at UCLA on June 12, 2018, called “Exploring Practical Ways to Inspire and Reward Teaching Effectiveness and Instructional Innovation”. The event details can be found here. Several visiting speakers, including Emily Miller, Associate Vice President for Policy at AAU, Sierra Dawson, Associate Vice Provost for Academic Affairs at the University of Oregon, and Diane O’Dowd, Vice Provost for Academic Personnel at UC Irvine, shared resources on student ratings of instruction, peer teaching observations, and self-assessment of teaching practices, among others. Many thought leaders from the UCLA community also participated as panelists, moderators, and participants throughout the day. Please explore the resources shared by our colleagues.
- Click here to access the UCLA Box folder with handouts, rubrics, guidelines, and other materials shared during the symposium. A password is required to access the Box folder. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to request the password.
- Click here to view the spreadsheet with a list of the documents and Box folder locations.
CEILS also hosted visiting Scientific Teaching Scholar Philip Stark, Professor Statistics and Associate Dean of Mathematical and Physical Sciences at UC Berkeley, who gave a talk on November 2, 2018, entitled “Student Evaluations of Teaching: Managing Bias and Increasing Utility”. Resources shared at this event can be downloaded from the event page found here; these include slides from his talk, UC Berkeley’s guide for documenting teaching effectiveness and their guide to peer review of course instruction. We encourage you to check out these and our growing list of resources.