1. Review the feedback
You want to ensure students feel their feedback is valuable to you and the course, so keep your students abreast on where you are in the review process. Are you synthesizing data? Noting key themes? Maybe you're working on a way to present the anonymous findings back to your class. Regardless, review the data, share it back, and make a plan for change.
2. Quick Tips on How to Interpret the Data
Review our article on how to interpret the data. These tips are adapted from the Enhanced Digital Learning Initiative at MSU: Scott Schopieray (CAL), Stephen Thomas (Nat. Sci.) Sarah Wellman (CAL & Broad), Jeremy Van Hof (Broad). Additional sources: Faculty Innovation Center at University of Texas at Austin
3. Discuss with a Colleague
There is a body of literature that indicates biases are real and problematic in students’ evaluation of teaching. The goal of this mid-semester instrument is not evaluative of the instructor, but instead is focused on feedback surrounding the learning experience. That being said, be aware that a host of factors including (but not limited to) gender, race, and subject matter, stress, and load can lead students to make statements that imprecisely reflect the actual quality of instruction.
We recognize it can be difficult to look past the most impassioned individual feedback and consider all the data holistically, but remember that the “loudest” voice or the longest comments may not reflect the overall feelings of learners. One helpful strategy is to have someone you trust read the comments before you do, then provide you their overall impressions and filter out any inappropriate remarks.
4. Share with students the common themes surfaced in the data
When you collect mid-semester feedback, you are asking your students for feedback. You want to make sure they feel valued and heard, that they have a voice in your class space, and that their input isn’t being collected just “for show.” You should clearly indicate which elements of their feedback you will and will not act on (and why). We know that students who feel empowered and who see their voice reflected in class activities feel more engaged and are more likely to show positive learning outcomes.