Guide To Teaching and Learning

Effective Feedback and Critique

This page provides information on helping students provide effective peer feedback and critique and also includes information on how you can receive feedback on your teaching, course content and structure.

How to help students give effective peer feedback:

Ask questions.

Be specific.

Address the work, not the person.

Consider identifying:

  • A greatest strength: Why do you think it’s powerful or works well?
  • Some tiny tweaks: Identify one aspect that would benefits from a small adjustment or modification.
  • What was surprising: What was unexpected, engaging, thought provoking?
  • What do you want more of: More detail? More information? 
  • What was confusing: Where were you lost, puzzled or unclear?

Getting Feedback from Students on Your Course

It’s important to make clear to students that you are learning and you want to help them learn. Therefore, you would like their honest feedback in order to make changes to the class while it’s still early.  The Faculty Center advises using some of these simple questions in the second or third week and again a few weeks later, and again a few weeks later, asking them each time to assess how any changes you have made have improved their experience of the course. And tell them what you’ve changed and why.

It can be as simple as three questions:

  • What’s working well? 
  • What challenges are you experiencing?
  • What could change to make it better? 

Practice Stop, Start, Continue

  • Please tell me anything I should stop doing, 
  • Start doing, 
  • And continue doing. 

Some additional questions you might ask:

  • How can I better support your learning?
  • Can you hear me clearly in recorded videos or in Zoom?
  • Do I demonstrate and present new methods and materials clearly in recorded videos or Zoom?
  • Do I answer your questions effectively? If not, can you provide examples?
  • Can you follow the flow of the class? If not, what can I change to help you?

Other ideas:

  • Is the structure of the class clear or do I need to clarify some things, and if so, what?
  • For assignments, are you clear about my expectations for your work?
  • Do you think the methods I’m using are suitable for the material we’re covering?
  • Is the pace of the course conducive to your learning; what could change?
  • What do you like most about the class?

And this one would probably be appreciated:

  • Do I have any annoying habits?

The Office of Institutional Effectiveness and Accreditation has created Google Form templates that you can also use to solicit feedback from students. 

Platforms to collect anonymous student feedback:

Due to many factors including faculty being responsible for students’ grades, cultural norms, personalities, etc., students may not feel comfortable providing you with direct feedback attached to their identifying information. Anonymous feedback is highly encouraged. 

  • Google forms. Here’s information on how to create one
  • Poll everywhere
  • Free Suggestion Box
  • We do not recommend using Canvas for anonymous feedback. Although you can set responses to anonymous, you can then as the faculty revert it and see who said what. This can breed mistrust and make students less likely to continue to engage openly. 

To learn more about soliciting student feedback and best practices in getting the most meaningful answers, refer to this rich resource on soliciting and using student feedback

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