What is Mid-Course Feedback?

What is Mid-Course Feedback?

Mid-course feedback (MCF) involves collecting feedback from students near the middle of the course to give the instructor the opportunity to make adjustments and improvements before the course is over (Harris & Stevens, 2003).

Mid-course feedback can provide information about components of the learning process that students do not understand and therefore can be an important course development tool (Hodges and Stanton, 2007). While mid-course feedback is a term that encompasses a range of techniques for collecting student feedback, the focus of this website is on feedback that is collected anonymously from students using instructor-designed questions.

A mid-course feedback process need not take a lot of time, but it does require some thoughtful planning. In particular, consider how you will report back to your students once you have collected and reflected on their feedback.

MCF and emergency online teaching

In the specific context of online teaching due to the COVID-19 situation, we recommend using MCF as an opportunity to obtain feedback from students on their experience of specific aspects of course structure. For example, students may be feeling overwhelmed with the increase in number of low-stakes assessments in some courses, and the number of different technology tools they are being asked to use. While not all feedback can or should be implemented mid-semester, you may learn about additional supports students need to thrive.

Why do MCF?

Information collected through MCF allows you, the instructor, to make adjustments to your teaching and course in order to enhance the learning experience of your students.

You can also use mid-course feedback to engage your students as co-creators of a course, to invite them to contribute to its success, and to help students understand the rationale behind various pedagogical practices you employ.

Benefits for instructors may include:
  • Stronger rapport and increased engagement with your students when they recognize you care about their learning
  • Actionable feedback that can benefits students in the present term
  • An opportunity to address issues in the course before the official end of term evaluation
  • Improving students’ faith in evaluations and their ability to provide useful feedback throughout their degree (Wachtel, 1998)
  • An opportunity to reflect on your teaching

Benefits for students may include:
  • Feeling valued and respected through having a voice in the course
  • The opportunity to contribute to changes that enhance their learning experience
  • Recognition that they have input into the course and there is some flexibility in their learning experience
  • Practice giving constructive feedback
  • An opportunity to reflect on their learning (Cook-Sather, 2009)

Sources

  • Cook‐Sather, A. (2009). From traditional accountability to shared responsibility: The benefits and challenges of student consultants gathering midcourse feedback in college classrooms. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 34(2), 231-241.
  • Harris, G. L. A., & Stevens, D. D. (2013). The value of midterm student feedback in cross-disciplinary graduate programs. Journal of Public Affairs Education, 19(3), 537-558.
  • Hodges, L. C., & Stanton, K. (2007). Translating comments on student evaluations into the language of learning. Innovative Higher Education31(5), 279-286.
  • Wachtel, H.K. (1998). Student evaluation of college teaching effectiveness: A brief review. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 29(2), 191-121.