Gathering feedback to improve course design

A challenge to improving a course, or having a conversation about improving it, is to gather data and insights that can feed a rich conversation. Previously WSUCTLT described a technique for using a survey to make a survey, and developed an example of the technique in a mid-term course evaluation. This mechanism showed promise for gathering data from a faculty member about their course and then gathering related information of their students’ perceptions of the course.

In parallel with that work, we have used the capacity of our Skylight Matrix Survey System to create a rich and interactive custom report for faculty of their end-of-term course evaluation data. This page of the report surveys faculty (this is a PDF of an Excel sheet) on their course design goals (using the terms of the course evaluation that is administered to students). The next tab in the Excel workbook contains a comparison of the faculty and the student data (PDF of an Excel sheet), downloaded from the students’ evaluation of the course. This technique implements a reflective process regarding the college-wide course evaluation constructs.

We are also piloting work using the Harvesting Gradebook concept where the reviewers (other faculty, students and community) provide feedback on the assignment using the same rubric that is being used to provide feedback to students and to gather perspectives on the utility of the rubric itself. (See sample survey instrument.) This work brings the feedback loop down to the scale of the individual assignment and the community into the conversation about the utility of the yardstick.

We are now working on dashboards, using Google Docs and Google Widgets, to give real-time tracking of the data coming into the Harvesting Gradebook.

Google Widget showing radar graph of data

Google Widget showing radar graph of data

The goal is to make interaction with the data fast and flexible to increase engagement with the information being provided. We are aslo beginning to explore how the data representations could be captured in a faculty member’s portfolio for SoTL or program’s portfolio for outcomes assessment and accreditation purposes.


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