Action planning with data: Checking in throughout the semester

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Action planning with data: Checking in throughout the semester

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Author :
Makena Neal & Ashley Moore
Action planning with data: Checking in throughout the semester

MM Contact profile image
Author :
Makena Neal & Ashley Moore

If you’re wondering, “do I have to wait until end of semester evaluations to see if my changes improved student’s learning experience,” the answer is no! There are simple ways that you can check in with students in your course throughout the semester. Dr. Ashley Moore is an Assistant Professor in MSU’s Department of Teacher Education. Dr. Moore shared some of her approaches for “checking in” in this current remote learning environment. 

Every two to three weeks, Ashley distributes a Google Form to her class. She discloses at the start of the semester here commitment to this practice and includes questions related to her instructional approaches, materials, and uses of technology. The survey is anonymous, so learners can share feedback without fear of retaliation (just like with the mid-semester feedback survey). As a part of this practice, Ashley compiles the results into key ideas and themes to share out with her students the next week. Her reasons for this are two fold: 1) it helps students feel heard, and 2) it reifies that students are often not alone in their feelings/feedback. Transparency in regards to decision making is key in Dr. Moore’s courses, and the data from these brief check-ins help her provide evidence for why decisions are being made and calling out changes in real time. Two samples from Dr. Moore’s TE 101 check-in surveys are included below:

In real time, Dr. Moore uses a few approaches to check in with her students. Ashley utilizes...

Zoom polling: (learn more about utilizing this Zoom feature here: Polling for meetings – Zoom Help Center)

  • to check in on how people are feeling after a reading or activity
    • Knowing where where students are emotionally influences how they engage and how as an instructor, Ashley considers structuring the remaining dialogue
  • Basics on course prep
    • Knowing whether or not students have purchased the course readings and whether or not they have arrived is good for level setting expectations. 

“Exit ticket” in Zoom chat: 

  • Directive: Drop one word or phrase about how you’re feelings as we wrap up class
    • Ashley used the chat from synchronous class to send synthesis email to students containing: overview of the meeting, highlights from the discussions, and reminders of expectations and upcoming deadlines

Class (verbal) dialogue:

  • Ashley uses Polleverywhere  to allow students to send in questions and comments to the call anonymously and in real time. She then uses these comments/questions to continue driving and prompting class conversation. 
    • If there is anything harmful, Ashley can identify it in the background and reframe before introducing to the class
  • Intro check in - 
    • Ashley logs on 15 min early to her synchronous course meetings. She plays music and usually displays a meme or prompt - asking for responses as learners log in. 
      • Example: What's one thing you're proud of yourself for doing in the past week?
    • She starts class officially with an overview of the day then addresses the comments from the intro check-ins generally.

Using tactics like these described by Dr. Moore can help you determine if the changes you’ve enacted based on mid-semester feedback are meeting the needs or if further adaptation is necessary; rather than waiting until end of year evaluations!


To read more about Ashley’s background and hear about her graduate experiences check out: