Spotlight on Teaching and Learning: Revisiting the Mid-Semester Check-In

March 15, 2021

Mid-semester check-ins are an opportunity to learn more about students’ learning and their experiences in the classroom. In October’s Spotlight on Teaching and Learning, CTL highlighted the benefits of implementing a mid-semester check-in and shared strategies for navigating student feedback productively. We’re taking a second look at mid-semester check-ins to share new strategies for implementing student feedback activities in remote classrooms.

Why Conduct a Mid-Semester Check-In?

Checking in with your students at key points throughout the semester can provide insight into how students are experiencing our courses. As instructors, we can use this information to inform changes while the semester is ongoing, or inform changes to our courses in the future. Research suggests that students perceive their learning progress and participation differently from instructors (Carpenter, Witherby, and Tauber 2020, Deslauriers, et al. 2019). We can use student feedback to identify and narrow these perception gaps.

Conduct a Mid-Semester Check-in Remotely

You can easily administer a mid-semester survey using the survey tool in bCourses(link is external)(link is external). In fact, the DLS Core Template(link is external)(link is external), a bCourses template developed using the core Canvas tools available to all instructors, includes a mid-semester survey already populated with the questions highlighted in October’s Spotlight on Teaching and Learning

Read more about the mid-semester survey available in the Core Template and how to use it in your bCourses site in the DLS resource, Include Beginning of the Course and Mid-semester Surveys(link is external)(link is external).

In addition to bCourses, Qualtrics(link is external)(link is external) and Google Forms(link is external)(link is external) are other campus-supported tools you can use to administer surveys and analyze the data.

Let CTL Collect Student Feedback For You!

Learn more about your students’ learning experiences while your course is in progress by requesting a Mid-Semester Inquiry (MSI). MSI consultation services include:

  • Meeting with a CTL Consultant to discuss your goals for students’ learning and share more about your course.

  • A CTL Consultant visits your class to facilitate a confidential focus group with your students for 25-30 minutes.

  • After the focus group, meet one-on-one with a CTL Consultant to debrief students’ feedback and receive a memo summarizing emerging themes and strategies for enhancing student learning.

Learn more about CTL Consultations --- We offer individual, small group, and departmental consultations to faculty, staff, and graduate students on any topic related to teaching and learning. Email sends e-mail) to request a consultation today!

Students [had] a good opportunity to reflect on their learning experience in the class, and maybe empowered them to think about how to make the class serve their learning goals even better... I was able to decide what to do more of, what to change, and in some cases what pedagogical approaches or learning goals to make more explicit. It was a valuable experience, it helped me grow as an educator, and it was time-efficient.
Assistant Professor's experience with CTL's Mid-Semester Inquiry

References and resources for further reading

Carpenter, S. K., Witherby, A. E., & Tauber, S. K. (2020). On Students’(Mis) judgments of Learning and Teaching Effectiveness. Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition.

Deslauriers, L., McCarty, L. S., Miller, K., Callaghan, K., & Kestin, G. (2019). Measuring actual learning versus feeling of learning in response to being actively engaged in the classroom. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 116(39), 19251-19257.

Hunt, N. (2003). Does mid-semester feedback make a difference?. Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 13-20.

McGowan, W. R., & Osguthorpe, R. T. (2011). 12: Student And Faculty Perceptions of Effects of Midcourse Evaluation. To improve the academy, 29(1), 160-172.