My colleague here at the GMCTE, Kim West introduced me to integrating formative feedback into my classes. Through this I get some valuable feedback from students about my teaching and the course in general, and it goes a long way in helping to build rapport between me and the students. Following Kim’s lead I would print out sheets of paper that had four instances of a feedback form asking questions like, “What’s one thing you learned today?” or “What questions do you have after this week’s classes?”. I would cut them into four and take them to class. They were voluntary, but students completed them in high numbers.
Students would complete these on Thursdays and every Tuesday I would go over the overall themes and address questions or concerns. It took about five minutes at the end of Thursday’s class and about the same at the beginning of Tuesday’s.
One Thursday last term I forgot my slips and quickly recreated that day’s feedback form using a Google Form. At the end of class, instead of handing out the slips, I posted the link to the online form and told students what this was about. The rate of completion was roughly the same, and I was able to email the link to students who weren’t there on that day, but had been in class on Tuesday, giving those students and opportunity to offer feedback and ask questions. On the following Tuesday, when I went over the results, the students told me that they wanted to always do the formative feedback this way.
I was all for this. I saved trees, didn’t have to print and then cut the slips and Google Forms automatically took the data and created an easy to read spread sheet with it. There was no downside.
Google Forms can be used for surveying students about a number of topics, as well as a sign up sheet for presentations or meetings. Creating them is easy, as you can see in the video below. To share the form with the students, simply copy the URL from the live version and email it to students, post it in BBLearn or add put it on a screen during your class (in a slide for example). To create a shorter version of the URL (especially useful when putting it on a screen in class) you can use Bitly.com or one of the other URL shortening sites.