OMET Talking Points for Faculty
Research shows that students are more likely to respond to surveys when faculty are engaged in the process and personally ask them to provide feedback. We suggest giving students time in class to complete surveys. Before they begin, take a moment to give students some direction on how they should approach the survey, how results are used, and what their feedback means to you. Below, you will find a list of optional talking points that you can use to discuss teaching surveys with your students. Select and adapt the talking points that work best for you and your class.
Restate the purpose and intent of the course. Ask students to think about why they took the class and what they were hoping to learn. It may be helpful to reiterate course learning objectives or describe the course type and level to remind students of what the course was designed to accomplish.
Ask students to reflect on their own effort. Consider reminding students of how they contributed to their own learning experiences by asking them to reflect on the whole term, their effort in the course, strategies that they used or things that they may have done differently to improve their learning.
Examples of reflection questions (some examples adapted from KU):
- How did you contribute to your learning in this course? How could you have deepened your learning?
- How did you use your time in and out of class to prepare for class? What would you do differently in the future?
- What is one learning strategy that you used for this course that was successful? What’s one learning strategy that you would change or that you wished you had used?
- How has your perspective changed since you started this course?
Explain the purpose of teaching surveys and how to give constructive feedback. Explain that the purpose of teaching surveys is to collect their feedback so that you can use it to make improvements to the course. The most meaningful type of feedback is specific and improvement-focused, meaning that comments explaining what course materials, activities, and assignments helped or hindered their learning and why are more helpful than general positive or negative feedback.
Here are some tips and examples that you can give students:
- When responding to open-ended survey questions, be as specific as possible. Rather than making general positive or constructive comments, explain what specifically helped or hindered your learning in the course and why.
- Example: Instead of, “I liked the practice quizzes,” you might write something like, “I felt that the practice quizzes helped me apply what we discussed in class and check my own learning.”
- When making constructive comments, offer suggestions for improvement.
- Example: Instead of, “The final project was confusing,” you could write, “I struggled with the final project because I felt like I didn’t fully understand your expectations. If you posted examples of past projects or broke the project into pieces so that students could get feedback before submitting the final version, that might help clarify what you’re looking for.”
Give examples of how you’ve used feedback and how it’s benefitted the current cohort of students. Express that you value student feedback.
Talk to students about unconscious bias. Some studies have indicated that students’ unconscious biases can affect teaching survey results. Making students aware of their potential biases can help mitigate them.
You can briefly explain that:
- Everyone has unconscious biases, which are social stereotypes that a person might unconsciously believe in a specific moment that causes them to think or behave in a discriminatory manner. Unconscious biases are a function of the brain attempting to quickly categorize information.
- Studies suggest that unconscious biases may affect teaching survey results. For example, some studies indicate that gender, race, and cultural biases may lead to decreases in teaching survey ratings.
- Students can mitigate potential unconscious biases by being aware of them and focusing their feedback on their learning experiences, meaning the course content, materials, teaching strategies, class activities, and assessments. Survey feedback should not be used to comment on aspects of the instructor’s identity.