As we approach mid-semester, how are our courses progressing? How are our students feeling about their work, and what are their hopes for the remainder of the semester?
Mid-semester is an excellent time to check in with our students, to hear what they are experiencing in our courses. This is an opportunity to identify changes we might make, or clarifications we can offer to our students, to help them succeed in each course. And, equally important, this is an opportunity to demonstrate to our students that we have heard them!
Mid-semester feedback can be very simple (typically, I ask students to tell me, in an anonymous survey, what has been helpful for their learning in our course, what I can do to help them over the rest of the semester, what they can do to help themselves, and any other feedback that they wish to offer). Then, I typically spend about 10 minutes in a subsequent class (ideally shortly after this feedback is submitted), talking with students about what I saw. I will talk about patterns that came up, what I am planning to do differently (if anything), explaining why I may not change part of the course, even it if is not popular (say, quizzes), and some of the ideas that I thought would be helpful for students (ideas on how to study more effectively).
If you are interested in more information about doing mid-semester evaluations, Steven Volk has a nice overview of mid-semester feedback, posted on the GLCA/GLAA Consortium for Teaching and Learning site:
I would also recommend a (short!) piece by Laura McGrath on how we can use mid-semester feedback to make mid-course corrections: https://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/gradhacker/mid-semester-evaluations
And, UC Berkeley has an excellent handout on how to respond to mid-course feedback (http://teaching.berkeley.edu/sites/default/files/respond.pdf), which is adapted from Barbara Davis and Steve Tollefson, Tools for Teaching, Jossey-Bass,