Research shows that students learn more effectively in online courses when an instructor gives consistent, timely feedback (Ramlall & Ramlall, 2016). Anyone who has developed a course with our DL team has discussed this as part of our process. We know that our instructors spend time thinking through exactly how they will participate in online discussions and give comments on student work to help students learn the most from the experience of completing their assessments.
Feedback flows both ways
Feedback should also flow from students to instructors. This post is a simple reminder that it’s a great idea for instructors to create a few touchpoints for getting feedback from everyone in the course. A best practice is to set up a quick survey question or two that is sent out automatically at the end of the first week or maybe the beginning of the second week of the quarter. The best type of question is something straightforward and open-ended like, “Is there anything that is confusing about the course so far? “ This gives learners an opportunity to voice a concern about any aspect of the course very early on. Instructors have told me this has been a quick way to fix everything from a basic misconception to a broken link.
Check-in with students throughout the course
Another good idea is to add a survey at the course midpoint. This allows the instructor to get feedback when they still can make adjustments to the course and not wait until the course is finished. Stromie (2021) suggests the following questions for this check-in:
- What activities in the course contribute to your learning?
- What specific suggestions do you have to improve the course?
- What might improve your learning experience
- What assignments have not helped you achieve the course learning objectives?
Choose a few of these questions and give it a try. Look over the feedback and see if there aren’t a few small changes that could be made to improve the learning experience for your students.
This is a relatively small change, but from my conversations with instructors who have tried it, I’ve heard that it can be a big help. More reticent students tend to respond to this survey and instructors have reported getting a unique perspective from experimenting with this practice.
Ramlall, S. & Ramlall, D. (2016). An Effective MBA: Perspectives of Students, Faculty, and Employers. Journal of Management & Strategy, 7(3), pp. 18-22.
Stromie, T. (2021). Motivation for learning: If we build it, will they come? In J. Quinn (Ed.), The learner-centered instructional designer: Purposes, processes, and practicalities of creating online courses in higher education. (pp. 117-128). Stylus.