-By Mark Prestopnik, Educational Technology Instructional Technologist
The Value of Student Feedback
Everyone is familiar with the Student Evaluation Survey (SES), Duquesne’s official course evaluation instrument. The SES is intended for course level instructor feedback and is made available to students near the end of each course. DropThought, alternatively seeks quick feedback on a singular unit, module, assignment or quiz. This type of request for feedback, while it is still fresh in the minds of students, provides instructors with valuable information that can be used to improve course experiences in future weeks. Additionally, DropThought feedback can be used in conjunction with SES feedback to improve future course offerings, by revealing information within specific parts of the course that might not otherwise be gleaned from the broader SES. Duquesne’s Center for Teaching Excellence provides additional evidence of the benefits of early course evaluations.
The DropThought interface is user-friendly. Students are prompted to enter a thought (feedback in a textbox), and then to select an emoticon to represent their reaction. Choices range from a smiley face (satisfied) to a frowning face (dissatisfied). Providing anonymous feedback in this fashion is welcomed by students who are accustomed to communicating with friends using emoticons. Once you establish a pattern whereby students are asked for their “thoughts” regularly throughout the course, it will become part of the flow that students and instructors value and rely on to shape course experiences.
Effective for all Course Formats
DropThought feedback forms are effective for use in face-to-face, blended, and online courses. The instructor dashboard allows instructors to sign on to one location to access all student feedback in a convenient manner. The easy to use instructor dashboard allows instructors to communicate directly with a student who has left feedback, without revealing the student’s identity to the instructor. Instructors are also able to adjust their settings to allow automatic notifications to be sent to their email when a new student comment is provided.
Duquesne Instructors have already experienced the value that DropThought offers. School of Education Instructor Darren Mariano remarked, “The ability to empower students to evaluate pieces of instruction immediately allowed me the opportunity to collect data quickly and adjust/adapt to the learning style and points of interest of the students. The data gleaned from DropThought ultimately informed and focused my strategies of instruction.”
Pause for Reflection
As you create future courses, you might wonder, how can I improve my course this time around? By pivoting back to your DropThought lesson based feedback, you’ll be able to use evidence to make finer improvements that you otherwise might miss when solely focusing on broader, course level feedback. As educators, and believers in lifelong learning and growth, it’s important to seek opportunities each time a course is taught to improve it. Take a few minutes to reflect on your current or past courses and consider some ways that you could improve individual units, lessons, quizzes and assessments that influence student learning. Some ideas may be flowing through your head already. DropThought will be an excellent tool to leverage to bring further ideas to light!
Instructors who are interested in using DropThought should visit the sign up page: http://highered-signup.dropthought.com/.
View our Using DropThought tip sheet for suggestions on how to effectively use DropThought feedback forms in your course site!
Image from http://www.dropthought.com