Mid-Semester Student Feedback Sessions

What is a mid-semester student feedback session?

A mid-semester student feedback session, or MSF, is a structured session led by a trained facilitator that gives students the opportunity to articulate what in a course is helping them learn and what can be done to improve their learning. 

Research on teaching and learning highlights the many benefits of MSFs:

  • They help you reflect on whether your pedagogical goals are being met
  • Eliciting feedback during the semester lets you make changes that benefit current students and generates goodwill: when your students feel heard, see that you’re invested in their learning, and hear you explain the thinking that goes into your teaching, their investment and satisfaction increase
  • MSFs are as useful for students as they are for instructors.  They help students become active, reflective learners and point out that what’s effective for some learners might not be effective for others.  

How does it work?

Mid-semester student feedback is confidential; responses are aggregated, and no identifying details are shared. Importantly, MSFs are separate from the university's evaluation, tenure, and promotion processes—feedback is shared with the instructor only. 

Feedback sessions can be conducted for both face-to-face and online courses. In a typical session, the instructor leaves the room for the last 25 minutes of class. The facilitator then begins the two-part process:

  • Part 1: small groups: students fill out a feedback form in groups of 4-5, answering two questions and providing examples to support their responses:
    • "List the major strengths of this class. What is helping you learn?"
    • "List changes that could be made in the course to assist you in learning."
  • Part 2: finding consensus: students reconvene and share their responses. The facilitator asks the rest of the class whether they agree or disagree with each piece of feedback, tracking which strengths and areas of improvement seem most important to learners and whether there is consensus. This part of the process can be particularly useful for students, who do not always realize that there can be reasonable and fervent disagreement about which approaches and assignments work best. The facilitator also asks any specific questions the instructor has requested and asks follow-up questions to make the feedback as clear and helpful as possible. 

Feedback sessions can also be combined with classroom observations with feedback from the facilitator. 

Once the feedback has been compiled, the facilitator will reach out to you to schedule a meeting. You will look at the report together, discuss the changes you want to see and strategies for implementing them, and develop a plan for discussing students' comments with them.

Please note that this process can be customized to meet your needs—we can change the format and structure to suit your situational factors. Get in touch, and we can find an approach that works for you. 

I'm interested! What do I do next?

Fill out our intake form. We will schedule the MSF session and a conversation to talk about your course; this will provide context for the facilitator and address any specific questions you want students to discuss.