Course evaluations are a regular occurrence at the end of a semester, but the practice of asking end of course questions can be a meaningful way to encourage students to reflect on their learning and provide you with student input that is essential for improving the course. Brookfield (2017) wrote that to become a critically reflective teacher it is important to develop an awareness of our teaching from as many different vantage points as possible (from self, student, peer, and scholarly lenses). He believes this practice should go beyond a rating system and include using feedback to progress toward our teaching goals. Ory and Braskamp’s (1981) research found that faculty often hold perceptions of mistrust toward course evaluations and desire more than one type of diagnostic information for the purpose of making course changes.
End of the course questions might include questions that encourage reflection, celebrate achievements, or identify areas of course improvement.
- What did you find the most interesting that you learned this semester?
- What were the top 3 things you learned in this course?
- What activities did you enjoy the most?
- What is something you accomplished this semester that you are proud of?
- Did you experience any challenges and what did you do to address these?
- What advice would you give to students taking this course next semester?
- Was there anything you had hoped would be covered that wasn’t or something you would like to know more about?
- What worked or didn’t work in helping you learn?
- Is there anything specifically that the instructor could have done to improve this course?
Giving good feedback is a skill that is learned and there are conditions of practice that help students to learn this skill or see the value in giving feedback. Svinicki (2001) recommends asking for early feedback in the course and through your own feedback strategies and class activities help students to understand how to give useful feedback. Students will be more motivated to provide feedback if they understand what impact it will have on the course.
A final note to consider is end of the course questions can be included as additional questions to your course evaluation. The results of these questions are formative and will only be reported to the instructor. Faculty should work with their department or college if this is something they want to explore.
Contact the FCTL if you would like to discuss strategies for end of the course questions and possible course changes based on student feedback.
Additional Reading and Resources
Brookfield, S. D. (2017). Becoming a critically reflective teacher. 2nd Ed. Jossey-Bass.
Svinicki, M. D. (2001). Encouraging your students to give feedback. In New Directions for Teaching and Learning (87), Fall. Willey.
Ory, J. C. and Braskamp L. A. (1981). Faculty perceptions of quality and usefulness of three types of evaluative information. Research in Higher Education, 15(3), 271-282.