A virtual method to provide a mid-term evaluation plan (MAP) for instructors

A Mid-Term Assessment Plan, or MAP, is a way for instructors to assess student reaction to a course and uncover inefficiencies or possible challenges in the design, access, or delivery of courses that students can meet. It is administered at or around the midterm mark of a course and allows time for instructors to review student feedback and make changes to ease any issues.

MAPs can be offered in various formats. They can be carried out as a survey or as a group, with a facilitator from an outside organization (e.g. the teaching and learning center) guiding students through a discussion of critical areas of student engagement. students, homework understanding, or any area that affects student learning. Questions or topics offered in a MAP may be solicited from the students themselves (“List some highlights of this course”) or contain questions sent specifically by the instructor. Student confidentiality is of the utmost importance and must be preserved so that responses remain candid in the MAP process.

One challenge with the MAP is to provide students with a format from which triangulated critical points can be addressed in the course. For example, students will often come up with various drawbacks (“parking is difficult”, “the lesson is going too early”) that could be unrelated to the lesson, or several smaller issues (“some links don’t work”, “Responses from the discussion board are slow”) which could be minor; however, the challenge is to see if any of the student challenges are a symptom of more critical issues.

Given these parameters, creating a way to deliver a MAP virtually, which would be suitable for full online course delivery or a hybrid arrangement where face-to-face time is limited, presents challenges for the teacher. faculty.

Asynchronous VoiceThread method

VoiceThread is a tool that allows students to enter video comments on topics given to them by a facilitator. It runs on a separate platform from Zoom or Canvas, so it offers a layer of security for students who capture sensitive course opinions.

Additionally, VoiceThread is a collaborative tool that allows professors to facilitate discussions and collect student responses asynchronously in audio, video, and text formats. Our campus has an institutional license for VoiceThread which allows seamless integration with the Canvas Learning Management System (LMS). In our case, we created a pilot MAP where students were given an access code and link and were asked to enter their opinions on the strengths and weaknesses of the course. The VoiceThread created for this pilot included the following slides:

  • introduction: The introductory slide included a video commentary from a member of our team providing an overview of the purpose of a MAP. To encourage student participation, we felt it was important to provide context on why their feedback would be helpful in improving the teaching and learning experience in the course. In the introduction, we informed the students that their comments were confidential and that their names would not be shared with their teacher.
  • Highlights of the course: This slide included a video commentary from a member of our team asking students to answer the following question, Please describe what you consider to be the strengths of this course. Students learned how to submit a text comment using the ABC button or an audio comment using the microphone feature on VoiceThread. We have provided a sample text commentary as a template for students. In addition, the students were informed that they would have two minutes and 30 seconds to record their audio commentary.
  • Course challenges: On this slide, students have been asked to answer the question, Please describe any challenges or things you would change about this course. An explanation of constructive comments and instructions have been provided on how to submit text or audio commentary. This was recorded as an audio commentary by the Center for Innovative and Transformative Instruction (CITI). Sample text and audio commentary have been provided as a template for students. The students were told that they would have two minutes and 30 seconds to record their audio commentary.
  • Conclusion: The concluding slide included a video commentary from a member of our team. On this slide, the students were congratulated for their participation. An explanation was provided as to why their comments were helpful and a reminder to log out after submitting a response.

By creating a virtual MAP as an ungraded assignment in Canvas, we were able to create a shareable link with contributor permissions to share with students. Professors could then share the link as an email or Canvas ad for students to record their comments. It was at the discretion of the faculty member how much time students would be given to submit their responses. Given the asynchronous format of the MAP, it was recommended that students have one week to submit their responses.

Lessons learned

VoiceThread is a useful tool for collecting student feedback. To maximize efficiency, advanced training to orient students on how to use the tool is helpful. When students are unfamiliar with a tool, it can negatively impact their self-efficacy and prevent them from engaging deeply in the course content. Faculty should provide clear and explicit instructions in written and oral communications to prepare students to complete the MAP. Communication is vital so that students know what they are supposed to do and why. Because VoiceThread allows the creator to determine how comments are collected, video comments should not be required to protect student anonymity. Students may be skeptical about participating as their feedback is visible to the instructor and could impact their success in the course. The link to the virtual MAP must be shared by the CITI and not by the faculty member in order to bypass any confidentiality issue.

Discussion questions

  1. What methods can I use to collect student feedback before the end of a course?
  2. How can a MAP improve faculty-student relationships and improve students’ digital literacy?
  3. Why is anonymity important when students often comment on social media without fear of reprisal?

Bart Ganzert has an EdD in Higher Education Leadership and an EdS in Adult Learning from Appalachian State. Ganzert has held faculty development positions since 2013 and is currently Senior Faculty Development Specialist at Winston-Salem State University. He is a seasoned educational professional who knows how to be innovative in transformational learning, instructional design, learning communities, curriculum and course development, and high impact learning practices. . Among his duties, he chairs the campus digital literacy committee, which advocates for the use and mastery of digital tools in all study programs. In addition to teacher training, Ganzert taught English composition and American literature.

Jeremiah E. Shipp, EdD, is a Faculty Development Specialist at Winston-Salem State University. He is also an assistant professor of leadership at several institutions teaching online courses for graduate and doctoral students. He is an experienced information technology professional with over 16 years of industry experience. Its engaging teaching style enables post-secondary faculty to implement instructional technology to increase students’ digital literacy in online, hybrid, and face-to-face courses.

The references

Mid-term evaluation strategies (2021). Assessment Office of Trinity College of Arts & Sciences, Duke University. https://assessment.trinity.duke.edu/midterm-assessment-strategies

Graduate student instructor (2021). Conduct a mid-term evaluation. Teaching and learning center. University of California, Berkeley. https://gsi.berkeley.edu/gsi-guide-contents/improve-intro/conducting-a-midterm-evaluation/

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Norma A. Roth