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Fall 2020 Mid-Semester Course Check-In Resources

As we reach the half-way point of this unprecedented semester, we are hearing requests for course check-ins with students. Conducting a course check-in is a useful process for gathering student perceptions on course design and delivery as it relates to their learning. It is an information gathering exercise to provide a faculty member with ideas for course adjustments. A check-in not only provides students' perspectives, but it can enhance community building.

Best practice for course check-ins

If faculty are interested in conducting a course check-in, a few best practices should be followed to ensure students understand the purpose of the check-in and provide helpful feedback:

  1. Prior to the check-in, clearly communicate to students the importance of their feedback to improving the quality of the course and assure students their responses are confidential. Students need to understand why they are providing feedback and why this is important to the faculty member.
  2. Provide time to participate and consider if incentivized participation is appropriate. Consider providing class time for students to complete the feedback. While normally faculty may offer the last 10 minutes of class time to do so, consider conducting the check-in at the beginning of class or in the middle as a break from course content. For asynchronous courses or for situations for which using class time is not appropriate, faculty may choose to offer incentives for completion.
  3. Promptly review the results of the check-in, reflect on the responses, and prioritize one or two changes that would enhance student learning or the student learning experience.
  4. Share the feedback with students and indicate what changes will be made. Students need to know faculty heard them and carefully considered possible changes.

Options for course check-ins

Faculty may choose to design their own check-in survey and administer it in Canvas or through a survey software. To support faculty interested in a course check-in, CETL has created two check-in templates within Canvas for download and import into courses. The survey questions and settings are editable. Notes: (1) the current settings are for a graded survey with extra credit points, and (2) the surveys are not compatible with the “new quizzes” function in Canvas if faculty are only using the new quizzes feature.

Template 1: Provides a rating scale and asks students to rate items such as course expectations, instructor engagement, course organization, feedback, etc. After rating, students are asked to provide comments and suggestions items working poorly and items working well.

Template 2: Questions are open-ended and ask: (1) What has been most helpful for you in this class so far? (2) What is missing that could be helpful to your success? and (3) Is there anything in your other courses that could work well in this course?

See instructions on how to download the course check-in templates from Canvas Commons and edit them.

Mid-semester feedback session through CETL: For a fully supported mid-semester check-in, faculty can request a mid-semester feedback session from CETL. During a mid-semester feedback session, a CETL staff member collects student feedback, analyzes it, and meets with the faculty member to debrief and discuss possible changes. For more information about mid-semester feedback sessions or to sign up.

Please feel free to email CETL at teaching@vt.edu with any questions or concerns.