Teaching Commons > Teaching Guides > Course Design > Midterm Surveys
Surveying your students at the midpoint of the quarter can offer you valuable insights into what is going well and not so well in the courses that you’re teaching. A midterm survey:
Reflect on the reasons why you are soliciting student feedback in the first place. Do you want to gauge generally what is working well and what is not? Or are there specific elements of the course that you are already considering modifying? Be prepared to act on the feedback that you receive, and keep the survey short and specific enough to help you do so.
The University of Toronto has published a great list of additional specific mid-term survey question prompts that can be tailored to your course and goals for soliciting feedback.
There are several ways you can create surveys. Some instructors prefer to use D2L surveys or Qualtrics, while others find Google Forms a bit more user-friendly.
Review the results with your goals for collecting feedback in mind. Focus on trends that you see in the feedback. Thank students again for their feedback, communicate a few general observations, and discuss how you plan to address the feedback.
These are some examples of the ways you might address student feedback:
Student Feedback: I don’t know when assignments are due.Instructor Adjustment and Explanation: I noticed several students said they have difficulty managing the deadlines. I've added the remaining due dates to our course calendar. Please also download the Pulse app to receive notifications.Student Feedback: I want to talk more with my classmates.Instructor Adjustment and Explanation: A few of you said you wished you were able to talk with other students in the class synchronously. I've scheduled an optional class discussion via Zoom.
Student Feedback: I don’t know when assignments are due.
Instructor Adjustment and Explanation: I noticed several students said they have difficulty managing the deadlines. I've added the remaining due dates to our course calendar. Please also download the Pulse app to receive notifications.
Student Feedback: I want to talk more with my classmates.
Instructor Adjustment and Explanation: A few of you said you wished you were able to talk with other students in the class synchronously. I've scheduled an optional class discussion via Zoom.
Otherwise, discussing the survey results with your students also provides you with the opportunity to:
For additional tips on how to implement, and communicate survey feedback, see University of Toronto’s “Interpreting the Results of Evaluations” and Vanderbilt University’s “Soliciting and Utilizing Mid-Semester Feedback” guides. If you’re unsure how to interpret some comments, you may also find it helpful to review the feedback with a colleague or your Instructional Designer from the Center for Teaching and Learning.
Some student feedback will address elements that you’re unable to change as the course is in progress. Note those items for later reflection and revision.
Carol A Hurney, Nancy L Harris, Samantha C Bates Prins, & S E Kruck. (2014). The Impact of a Learner-Centered, Mid-Semester Course Evaluation on Students. The Journal of Faculty Development, 28(3), 55-61.
Center for Teaching & Learning, Boston University. Getting feedback from students.
Centre for Teaching Support & Innovation, University of Toronto. Gathering Formative Feedback with Mid-Course Evaluations.
Lewis, K. (2001). Using Midsemester Student Feedback and Responding to It. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, 2001(87), 33-44.
Marx, R., (2019). Soliciting and utilizing mid-semester feedback. Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching.
Svinicki, M., Nicol, D., & McKeachie, W. (2014). McKeachie’s teaching tips : strategies, research, and theory for college and university teachers (Fourteenth edition.). Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.
Wickramasinghe, S., & Timpson, W. (2006). Mid-Semester Student Feedback Enhances Student Learning. Education for Chemical Engineers, 1(1), 126–133.