Using Student Feedback to Improve Teaching

February 13, 2024

Administering feedback to students seems natural for instructors. What is more challenging is receiving feedback from students and using it in a constructive way. Students may be in the best position to give instructor feedback, because they are the ones participating in the course. Creating a culture that shows students you value their feedback will be beneficial as you learn from students, connect with them, and improve the overall learning experience.

How to Get Online Feedback

In an online classroom it can be easy to forget to touch base with students as they move through the course. Much of the teaching is done before students join the course. Lectures have already been recorded, or modules and assignments have already been organized. But just because the course is structured this way, that doesn’t mean teaching is less dynamic. Connecting and adapting to your specific students during the course will allow you to modify the course to improve the learning experience.

One way to open the door for feedback is through office hours on Zoom when students can choose to ask questions. Based off their questions, you can use this as feedback to understand how well they are understanding the course content. Exams are another built in feedback tool that instructors can use. Exams assess student performance which may reflect how well they absorbed the content that was taught in lecture videos or with supported assignments.

Directly asking for feedback will also help you improve the overall course. Receiving feedback by openly asking for it on a discussion board or an additional question on an assignment is a good way to get students to open up. An example question could be: “What are you going to take away from this assignment? Are there things you still don’t understand?” This allows you to understand where your content or your students’ participation in the content has put them in the course. You could ask more personal questions such as, “How can I improve as an instructor?” Or,  what would you like to see more of?  You can create an ungraded, anonymous survey using the quiz tool in Canvas if you want to offer a space for feedback without their names on it. Monthly or mid-semester check-ins that build informal feedback pathways between you and students will allow you to improve and make adjustments as the course progresses.

How to Use Feedback

Feedback can be broken down into aspects going well in the course and aspects that need to be improved. It is important to view criticism as a positive way to create change rather than a negative. When asking for this type of feedback, it is necessary to actually want to make a change to improve. The improvements don’t have to be drastic. One negative comment does not mean the entire pedagogy is wrong. Rather view student criticism as a way to make minor tweaks in the way the class operates.

Maybe the student complains, “lecture videos are too long.” What this feedback is actually saying is that the student may struggle to engage for longer amounts of time. A way you could use this feedback to improve the course is to split lecture videos into multiple mini-lecture videos or include chapter breaks in them. Pull from “negative” feedback to make minor adjustments in your course. It can be something as minor as responding to emails more quickly or adding more supplemental information in your assignment directions. Pull from positive feedback to solidify aspects of the course that are generally generating a positive attitude and successful outcomes. Hearing positive feedback from student allows you to understand how you are benefiting them and what should continue in the course.

Use feedback to reflect on teaching methods. A student could offer new information that you didn’t know about the style or delivery of the course. Use this to sift through the content of the course and learn from their point of view. Use feedback to implement change during the course term. Then use the feedback to implement change over time to let students from the past help current or future students by improving overall teaching methods. Feedback from students can be one of the most valuable aspects to online teaching but needs to be received often and openly. 


To hear first hand experiences and more information on student feedback visit the Faculty Focus Podcast.

Upcoming Events

Quick Hits: Turnitin Feedback Studio

Thursday, February 15th, 3:30-4:30 PM

Join this training to learn more about the Turnitin Feedback Studio and AI detection. Whether you are completely new to Turnitin Feedback Studio, want to see a demonstration, or just have a question related to the topic, this training has you covered. When registering, choose whether to have a specific topic covered, enter your question, or both. 

Facilitated by our Learning Tech Team.

When: February 15th, 3:30-4:00 pm.
Registration: Quick Hits: Turnitin Feedback Studio.

Interactive Learning and AI

Wednesday, February 21st, 1:30-2:30 PM

Join this training to learn more about AI and interactive learning in your course! This training will cover several pedagogical approaches to AI tools, including ChatGPT. 

Facilitated by Millie Tullis, Digital Learning Strategist.

Registration: Interactive Learning and AI.
Modality: Virtual and synchronous—an Outlook Calendar invite, with the Zoom link, will be sent.

Quick Hits: Canvas Basics

Thursday, March 7th, 3:30-4:00 PM

Join this training to learn more about Canvas fundamentals! Whether you have a specific question or want a Canvas tool demonstrated, this training opportunity is your time to work with one of our Learning Technology Specialists. When registering, choose whether to have a specific topic covered, enter your question, or both. 

Facilitated by our Learning Tech Team.

Registration: Quick Hits: Canvas Basics.
Modality: Virtual and synchronous—an Outlook Calendar invite, with the Zoom link, will be sent.

Clemson Online Spring 2024 Events Calendar

Review our Spring 2024 Events Calendar to see what Online Instruction Development opportunities await!

We have a robust lineup of topics and live training formats to support your use of Canvas and other e-learning tools. Topics cover demonstrations of using Kaltura, presentations on group assignments in online courses, and workshops to get your Canvas site ready to teach!

All of our live training is recorded. Registrants will automatically receive a link to that day’s video after it has been processed.

Contact Millie Tullis with any questions regarding these sessions.

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