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The Impact of Anonymous Weekly Student Feedback and Regular Faculty-Student Interactions
Henrik Eger, Ph.D.
Professor of English & Communication, DCCC, Media, PA
firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, www.henrikeger.com
Closing the Loop: 4th Annual Assessment Summit, Eastern PA Regional Two-Year College Assessment Consortium, Lehigh Carbon Community College, Schnecksville, PA. Apr. 20, 2012, 11:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
Summary: Even some of the most experienced college professors may be surprised by the discrepancy between how they evaluate their own pedagogy and how students perceive and judge the teaching.
Pedagogical Dilemma: In the US, the assessment movement has provided helpful tools, so much so, that more and more local and state governments provide grants to colleges and universities only if they assess student work and can prove that the teaching of faculty members generates verifiable student success. However, little help seems to be available to over-worked faculty members who may tend to concentrate on projects like student papers, speeches, presentations, case studies, etc.—“the products”—instead of also considering “the process,” that is, looking at those concerns which many students may not share until they either drop out of a course or until they are asked to fill out an end-of-semester questionnaire, often yielding unexpected and not always flattering results.
Solutions: Two methods can contribute to an increase in both retention rates and end-of-semester student evaluations: (1) Weekly anonymous student feedback, provided it gets shared and discussed with the students regularly, and (2) frequent interactions with students, whether via email or talks after class.
Outcome: As a result, instructors can foster confidence and initiate helpful discussions, covering those areas that appeared hazy. Weekly anonymous feedback, as well as regular faculty-student interactions, can help instructors fine-tune their methodology, both at an individual and at a class level. This double-thronged approach can improve the quality of student work and contribute toward a mutual understanding between instructors and students.
Recommended readings: An introduction
Catlin, Anita, Michelle Kalina, and Napa Napa Valley Coll., CA. How To Institute the Cross/Angelo Classroom Assessment Training Program on a College Campus, or, How To Create a Dynamic Teaching/Learning Partnership between Teachers and Students. 1993. ERIC. EBSCO.
Cross, K. Patricia, Thomas A. Angelo, and Ann Arbor National Center for Research to Improve Postsecondary Teaching and Learning, MI. Classroom Assessment Techniques. A Handbook for Faculty. 1993. ERIC.
Eger, Henrik. “’He's a great professor, but . . . ’: What We Think We Know About Student Perceptions But Often Don't.” Teaching Academic Survival Skills (TASS) Conference, Fort Lauderdale, FL, March 21-24, 2010.
---. “’Wow, he listens to us!’: Anonymous weekly student feedback and its dramatic impact on teaching and Learning.” Teaching Academic Survival Skills Conference, Fort Lauderdale, FL, March 8-11, 2009.
Fabry, Victoria J., et al. "Thank You for Asking: Classroom Assessment Techniques and Students' Perceptions of Learning." Journal on Excellence in College Teaching 8.1 (01 Jan. 1997): 3-21. ERIC. EBSCO.