Early Semester Course Feedback
The Teaching and Learning Commons recommends capturing student feedback at various points within the semester. One tool we recommend is the Early Semester Course Feedback, which was created and continues to be championed by WVU’s Teaching and Assessment Committee. The goal is to initiate dialogue/reflection about student experience and learning, not to conduct an evaluation of the instructor’s teaching. This process should be considered formative in nature and should help the instructor make adjustments throughout the semester.
What is the ESCF?
The Early Semester Course Feedback (ESCF) is an optional tool to solicit student feedback in your courses. It was created and developed by the Faculty Senate Teaching and Assessment Committee. With the ESCF, students are able to indicate what is working well, where they are experiencing challenges or concerns, and other thoughts regarding the course. You can use this feedback to inform adjustments to your course and/or teaching. The purpose of the ESTA is to inform the individual instructor of possibilities for course improvement. Therefore, the course level data is not automatically shared with administrators or uploaded to Digital Measures.
When can I give my students the ESCF?
For 16-Week courses, the ESCF window normally opens during the 4th week of the semester and normally closes 24-48 hours prior to midterm grades being due. You can choose to make the ESCF available to your students and specify a close date anytime during this window. The ESCF is also available for 8-Week courses. The survey window will be adjusted to reflect the condensed course schedule, so the ESCF should be made available to students at an earlier point in the course. Keep in mind that the ESCF is optional. If you want to opt-in, you can manage its use in your course on the Dashboard.
Can I customize the questions for the ESCF?
The ESCF includes a set of standard questions, but you can choose to create two additional questions. You have a choice to add an open-ended question and/or a Likert-scale question. Since the standard questions are designed to be generic, you can use these additional questions to solicit student feedback on a specific part of your course. For example, if you are using a specific strategy or tool in your course, you may want to include a question to allow students to share their thoughts on that strategy or tool. You could also include an open-ended question that plainly asks students to list out what is working and/or what suggestions they have.
How can I encourage my students to complete the ESCF?
You can remind students in a variety of ways, such as in class or through an announcement in eCampus or SOLE. You can further encourage your students by explaining that the ESCF is a way they can have a voice in the course and offer you feedback to improve their course experience. It is also good to remind students that these results are completely anonymous and encourage them to respond authentically and constructively.
What are some ways I can interpret my results?
To access your students’ responses, go to the dashboard and locate the data under the “Reports” section. Your results should be available 24-48 hours after your specified close date. You do not need to wait for the “hard close” of 24-48 hours prior to midterm grades being due.
When reviewing your students' responses, you should look for common themes. For example, if several students respond saying they would like more opportunities to practice with the content, you could consider adding an optional practice quiz prior to an exam or including more in-class activities. These themes should not be limited to what students want changed; you should also look for indicators of what is working well. If something clicked with your students, you can plan to incorporate it again later in the semester. Identifying common themes will help you decide what the most impactful changes to your course may be.
There are certain things that I cannot change in my course mid-semester. What happens if they come up in my ESCF responses?
Keep in mind that it might not be possible or appropriate to implement certain changes that students suggest in their ESCF responses. That is okay! In general, it is good practice to discuss the feedback you receive on the ESCF with your students. This is even more important when explaining your reasoning and rationale as to why certain things cannot be changed. Acknowledging the feedback and addressing concerns will develop better communication between you and your students, even if you cannot implement a specific change.
What supports are available regarding the ESCF?
For any technical issues with the ESCF, please refer to the ITS information on the ESCF.
The Teaching and Learning Commons is available to offer support in interpreting your results or discussing possible changes to your course. You can submit a request for Peer Support of Teaching to discuss your ESCF results with another Instructor. You can also discuss your results with a TLC staff member by submitting a ticket request.
ESCF Quick Start Guide
- Go to the dashboard to check the status of the ESCF in your course and specify an open and close date during the window.
- Notify your students that the ESCF is available and specify the deadline by which you would like them to respond.
- Review your results and look for common themes in the responses, e.g., the top three things that are working in the class, and the top three things that perhaps you want to re-evaluate or modify.
- Decide what changes you will make to your course based on your students' feedback.
- Discuss the results, any changes you plan to make, and your rationale for those changes with your students.