Gathering Feedback from Students

In a remote teaching environment, gathering information about your students’ experiences throughout the semester is especially important given the absence of face-to-face contact. So, how can you understand your students’ remote experiences?  What are some easy ways to gather and respond to students’ feedback during the semester? 

This guide addresses gathering formative feedback throughout the semester. For end-of-semester, summative evaluations, see more information about course evaluation surveys. As was announced by the provost, UW-Madison will continue its current practice of collecting student course evaluations for spring 2020.


1. Develop a short survey for students.
Create a Google Form or an anonymous Canvas survey with 1-3 questions. Distribute the survey to your students through a Canvas Announcement, classlist email, synchronous session in the chat or other means of regular communication.
Use your UW Google Account
Get Started with Google Forms
Create an anonymous ungraded Canvas survey
Canvas Announcements, classlist e-mail
Sample survey you can make a copy of with this link (using Google Forms)

2. Create synchronous meetings for informal discussions.
You may consider online office hours as a way for students to ask you questions, but it can also be a chance to ask them questions and check-in. If you are using Blackboard Collaborate Ultra, ask questions using the poll feature or ask students to update their status to show how they feel about something said or shared during a session.
Blackboard Collaborate Ultra
Poll Feature
Status and Feedback Feature

3. Set up an ongoing asynchronous discussion forum.
Use a Canvas Discussion or Piazza folder (if you already use Piazza in your course) to create a discussion forum for students to respond to check-in questions or provide you with feedback. Keep in mind that Canvas Discussions are not anonymous, so students may be more hesitant to provide honest feedback.
Primer on Canvas Discussions
Piazza (This tool provides the ability to post anonymously.)

4. Respond to the feedback.
After you have gathered and reviewed the feedback, share with students what, if anything, you plan to adjust in the class as a result of their feedback. Also, consider sharing resources that they might find useful as they adjust to a remote learning environment.
Responding to feedback – Stanford University
Tips for learning remotely
Resources for students

Further Exploration