Provide Constructive Feedback

Your feedback is an essential component to improve the quality of teaching and learning at UNB. Your feedback is most meaningful when you ARE SPECIFIC, PROVIDE EXAMPLES and OFFER SUGGESTIONS.

This page contains guidelines for providing constructive, effective, and meaningful feedback through your Student Opinion Surveys.

Keep in Mind before Completing the Student Opinion Surveys

• Anonymity: Your surveys are anonymous, both the numerical results and written comments.

• Confidentiality: The complete results are confidential to the instructor, Chair, Dean, and University Administrators.

• The instructor cannot see the results until the final grades for the course have been posted.

Considerations when Writing Comments

Constructive feedback from students is a valuable resource for improving teaching.[1] The feedback should be specific, focused, and respectful; and address aspects of the course and teaching that                                                                                are positive as well as those you feel need improvement.

Keep the following in mind when writing your comments in the surveys:

1. Be respectful and avoid personal or emotional comments.

• Derogatory comments, criticisms based on race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, etc., or personal slurs of any kind are not appropriate in Student Opinion Surveys.

2. Be specific.

• Give a detailed description of why a certain aspect of a course, or an instructor's delivery of material, did not work, and try to suggest what could be done differently.
• Provide examples based on your own experiences when commenting on the course or the instructor

3. Focus on specific aspects of the course and describe how the elements of the course affect you.

• Describing how a situation makes you feel offers the reader a different perspective and allows the instructor to gain a better understanding of the situation.

4. Balance the feedback.

• Offer praise & share criticisms. To help instructors improve the course and their teaching, please provide both positive and negative comments in a constructive manner.

5. Think of the following categories when writing comments. This may help you organize your thoughts.

Overall (Course or Instructor) Teaching Strategies Outside of Classroom Communication
Clarity & Difficulty  Assignments 
Organization & Structure Interest or Motivation

Examples of Constructive Feedback

Instead of...
This is more helpful:

"The exam was unfair."

This leaves the reader wondering about what aspect of the exam is unfair.

“I found the length of the exam overly long relative to the allotted time”.

“I hated the lectures.”

This leaves the reader wondering what made the student hate the lectures.

“I had a hard time staying focused during lectures and I got confused because there was no outline to help us follow along”.

“I was really able to listen in class.” “It was great that the PowerPoint presentations were put online, that way you can follow in class and not have to worry about                                                               frantically take down notes and missing things”.

References

[1] Ory, J. & Braskamp, L. (1981). Faculty perceptions of the quality of three types of evaluative information. Research in Higher Education, 15(3), p. 271-282.

[2] Adapted from: Svinicki, M.D. (2001). Encouraging your students to give feedback. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, 87, 17-24.

[3] Donovan, J., Mader, C., & Shinsky, J. (2010). Constructive student feedback: Online vs. traditional course evaluations. Journal of Interactive Online Learning, 9(3), p. 283-296.

[4] Carney, E. (2015). Preparing Students to Take Course Evaluations – Tips for Faculty. Office of Assessment of Teaching and Learning, Washington State University, p. 3.