In every class I’ve taught, I’ve held a qualitative mid-term evaluation, allowing the students to give me feedback while there’s still a chance of modifying and improving the course for their benefit. It’s also a great opportunity for me to take a general reading of the class, often eliciting sentiments about which I was completely in the dark.
Feedback ranges from the heartening (e.g., “[I would recommend you to a friend] because I have been greatly educated not only on the philosophy of justice/ethics but also on proper writing and reading skills. It is also a very relevant and fun class”) to the critical and personally uncomfortable (e.g., “You are kind of scary when it comes to the paper standards, be less intimidating”) to the humorous (e.g., in response to a question concerning what was going well, a student wrote “[Your] solid beard growth”).
These comments lead to concrete changes–both to the current semester and sometimes to future iterations of the course. For example, here are some long-term changes I’ve made in response to these midterm feedback sessions:
Setting up more in-class debate
Collectively reviewing and evaluating student writing assignments at the beginning of class (as well as reviewing and evaluating the effectiveness of students’ peer feedback on those writing assignments)
Building in specific deadlines in order to motivate students to keep on task
Increased connection between theoretical readings and current events
Assigning roles to small groups
Just as importantly, these times allow me to engage the students in honest discussions about the ideal student, the ideal professor, and the genuine partnership and community we’re attempting to establish as a class.
You can peruse a certified transcript of all student qualitative evaluations in two recent courses here.