Part 5: Reviewing Your Course Design
Knowing how students are doing with the course content will help you make necessary adjustments during the semester. This will help you consider how to use student feedback to improve your overall design.;
STEP 1: Gather Information about Student Learning Early and Often
Now that you’ve designed your course, it’s essential to think about how you will know whether the components of the course are working as intended. As we teach, there are surprises and new understandings. Therefore, it’s wise to build in strategies for getting feedback on the course.
Throughout the semester collect information about the assignments, activities, and climate you’ve created for the course. Seeking feedback by gathering data on teaching and learning will enable you to determine how if your students are achieving the desired course outcomes. Designing a great course is definitely an iterative process!
Methods for such reviews can range from a more formal quiz, to a show of hands, to a multiple choice question you pose to the class after a lecture segment. Gather information about "affective" outcomes (e.g., changes in student attitude) as well as cognitive outcomes. Below you'll find some good resources on "classroom assessment techniques" to get you started:
STEP 2: Gather Information about Student Response to Teaching Strategies, Exams, and Assignments
Monitoring student responses to your course can be done in numerous ways. Some options include short surveys about particular activities and assignments (see the Gathering Feedback on Assignments resource for a sample), mid-term surveys, or inviting a consultant to lead a Student Feedback Through Consensus process administered by the Center for Educational Innovation
Whatever method(s) you chose, remember to discuss with your students what you learned and how the course will change as a result of their feedback. See Talking with Students about Their Feedback for tips on how to structure such a conversation.
STEP 3: Design Your End of Course Evaluation
Consider adding questions to the required Student Rating of Teaching to gather feedback on specific aspects of your course. Remember that the most important question to answer is “Did students achieve the intended learning outcomes?" Evidence of student learning may include pre and post tests, attitude surveys, and student assignments (when compared with student work in past classes or similar courses at this level).
Think about ways to help your students give you feedback on the successes and struggles they've encountered as learners in your class. Some of the prompts found on the Critical Incident Questionnaire by Stephen Brookfield may help students describe these in a constructive manner. A CEI consultant can help you create an evaluation plan appropriate for your course.