Providing your students with an opportunity to submit course feedback is an excellent way to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your online course. It also provides students with the chance to reflect upon their own learning goals and how they are being met through your class’s learning activities and assessments.
By ensuring this anonymous, confidential feedback is submitted mid-way through the semester (as opposed to waiting until the end) it gives instructors an opportunity to make adjustments they deem appropriate and that would improve the learning experience for students.
Please note that while we focus on surveys in this guide, there are various ways to collect feedback from your students such as
- Create an anonymous discussion forum in Blackboard to invite feedback (visible to all students),
- Offer one-on-one consultations with students about their progress in the course and your teaching, or
- Ask for students’ feedback via email.
The advantage of using surveys is their anonymity and confidentiality, which might encourage students to be more honest in their responses. However we encourage you to explore the best option for you, your teaching style, and your class.
Example of a Mid-Semester Course Feedback Survey
This mid-semester course feedback survey is anonymous (I will not know who responded, or who said what), and for my eyes only.
The questions that follow ask you to share your impressions and concerns about this course thoughtfully and honestly. I invite criticism and constructive suggestions so I can improve my teaching and your learning experience. Please respond to the questions that apply and/or you would like to answer.
I am looking forward to your feedback! Thank you.
Short Answer Questions:
- What in the course/my teaching has been helpful for your learning so far?
- What in the course/my teaching has hindered (been a problem for) your learning so far?
- Describe how the course is/is not corresponding to your expectations (topics covered, level of difficulty of content, organization, workload, and pacing)?
- What 2-3 specific suggestions do you have for changes that I could make to improve the course, or the way it is taught?
- What 2-3 changes could you make to improve your own learning/studying in this course?
Best Practices for Course Feedback Surveys
- Ask actionable questions. Some possible areas of focus can be the learning environment, activities and assignments, pace of the course, clarity/communication, and course materials. These are all things you can make changes to, if needed.
- Offer students extra credit for full completion of the survey.
- Consider reporting results to the students. This prevents students feeling as if they have wasted their time completing the survey and it highlights how their feedback will have an impact on your course and your teaching.
- Reflect on students’ feedback, but don’t automatically make changes! It is important to critically reflect on feedback but avoid allowing these to dictate your class. One remark about the difficulty of the readings does not merit changes to the reading materials.
Tools for Course Feedback
1. Blackboard Survey Tool
Blackboard surveys are created in much the same way as tests (Assessments > Survey) however surveys are anonymous and ungraded.
To get you started, we have created the sample survey (see above) as a Blackboard survey which you can download it here: Zip File
After importing the file into your course site, you can change it to your liking: edit the wording of the introduction or the questions, and add or delete questions.
Instructions to import zip file into your course site:
- Download the zip file to your computer (Important: don’t unzip the file!)
- Go to Course Tools > Tests, Surveys, and Pools
- Select Surveys
- Click on Import Survey
- Choose Browse My Computer
- Locate and select the survey zip file and select Open
- Click on Submit
- You will be able to see and edit the imported survey in your course’s survey area.
Once a survey has been imported and edited, the next step is to deploy it where you would like the survey to appear within the course site. To do so, follow these steps:
- Go to the desired course area.
- Click on Assessments > Surveys.
- From the list, choose the relevant survey.
- Next, set your survey options which are similar to quiz/test options. One of these options is to make the survey available. You can choose to have the survey available or unavailable. If you choose to make it unavailable, please remember to make it available closer to the time when you would want students to complete the survey. You can also set the “Display After” and “Display Until” dates.
Instructors can view survey results and comments through the Grade Center. To view results, please follow these steps:
- In the Grade Center, find the Survey column.
- Click the downward arrow next to the column’s title and select “Attempts Statistics.”
- On the next page, review survey results and any comments left by students.
Helpful Blackboard Support Links
- Create Tests and Surveys (Blackboard Support page)
- Video Tutorial: View the Results of a Blackboard Survey
2. Alternative Survey Tools
Alternatively to Blackboard surveys, there are a variety of web-based survey tools available, for example SurveyMonkey or Google Forms.
After creating the midterm course feedback survey on the platform of your choice, post the link to the survey in your course site — as an announcement and/or in the relevant weekly folder — for your students to access it.