Student Feedback Sessions

Office of Teaching and Learning staff members can conduct mid-course student feedback sessions for DU instructors. Such sessions provide anonymous, detailed and specific feedback about your teaching and your course, and are very useful for making constructive changes that can have immediate impact on student learning and satisfaction.

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What is a Student Feedback Session?

A mid-course student feedback session, also called a Small-Group Instructional Diagnosis or Student Feedback through Consensus, is a process that has been refined over many years to collect large amounts of detailed feedback from students in a short amount of time. Students discuss the course’s strengths and make suggestions for improvement using forms and small groups. These sessions are best conducted mid-way through a course so that students have enough time to experience the course and instructors have enough time to make use of the feedback.

The process can be adjusted based on the size and scope of a class, but typically involves the following steps:

  • An initial phone call or meeting is held between the instructor and an OTL consultant.
  • During a class session mid-course (usually weeks 3- 5 of the quarter or weeks 5-6 of a semester), the OTL consultant takes 15-20 minutes of class time to conduct the feedback session in the instructor’s absence.
  • During the 15-20 minute session, the consultant walks students through a process of small and large group discussion to obtain feedback about the course.
  • The OTL consultant prepares a summary of student feedback.
  • A follow up meeting is held between the instructor and OTL consultant.
  • The instructor is expected to acknowledge the feedback received with the students and may decide to discuss the feedback in depth with students and/or make changes to the course or teaching approaches based on their feedback.

How will a Student Feedback Session benefit me?

Although there are many ways to gather student feedback about teaching, mid-course student feedback sessions are useful for many reasons:

  • The process gives students time to provide specific examples and suggestions about the course. With other methods students may indicate they liked or did not like something, but you may not know why.
  • The small-to-large group process weeds out any outlier comments, while simultaneously allowing all student voices to be heard. You are only presented with a summary of ideas and suggestions that the majority of students agree with.
  • Students appreciate giving formative feedback that can be acted upon while they still are taking a course, rather than after the course is over.
  • Student end-of-course ratings can be positively impacted when instructors ask for and act upon student mid-course feedback.

“It was extremely valuable to me. This process allowed me to receive early feedback and make changes immediately rather than waiting until the end of the quarter.  In addition, I believe it clearly demonstrated to my students that I wanted to improve the experience I provided to them.”
– Jason Howell, Daniels College of Business

“The session was very valuable. Although I had a good sense of how each student performed and where academic understanding problems were present, I did not know how students felt about the organization and structure of the course. I want to do it again!”
– Nick Galatos, Department of Mathematics

“The students indicated they were very happy to have the opportunity to provide feedback while it could still make a difference for them, not just for later classes. It provided additional insights about student reactions and it gave us the opportunity to talk about learning and what works and doesn’t work for each of them personally.”
– Paul Bauer, Daniels College of Business

Learn more

Sample student feedback form

Who to contact?

If you’d like to schedule a mid-course student feedback session, contact Bridget Arend. If you teach with the Daniels College of Business you can also contact Jenn Light. Please include:

  • your name and academic unit
  • name of course
  • two possible dates/times for class observation and student feedback session (during weeks 3-5 of the quarter)
  • location of class
  • a copy of your syllabus

We will follow up with you to discuss your specific goals for this session.

© 2014 University of Denver - Office of Teaching & Learning