Month: September 2021

Gathering course feedback

A good time to evaluate how your course is doing is in the fourth or fifth week of the semester. Both the Provost and the University Senate (Policy 505.1) advocate for distributing an Early Term Survey. The Early Term Survey provides students with a formal mechanism to give constructive feedback early in the teaching term. Feedback identifies for the instructor ways that the course can be improved moving forward. Examples of a course improvement might include additional study materials or varied methods for a classroom presentation.

Early Term Survey provided in Canvas courses

It is recommended that the Early Term Survey contain three standard questions as outlined in the Policy 505.1 details. To save faculty time in creating a survey each semester, an Early Term Survey is pre-loaded into each Canvas course at the beginning of the semester. The Early Term Survey is located under the Surveys module. The survey is pre-populated with the three standard questions (as outlined in the Senate Policy) and is designated as ungraded and anonymous.

Example Early Term Survey in Canvas

Instructors can add additional questions to the survey if they would like. Our Knowledge Base article entitled, “Adding Questions to the Early Term Survey” will provide you with the details. Remember to publish the survey when it is ready!

Early Term Survey Results

After students have had some time to complete the survey, the instructor can view the results in a couple of different ways. You can view the survey results and the individual responses by selecting Show Student Survey results located within the survey. Or you can select the Survey Statistics in the right sidebar of the survey. The Student Analysis option (within survey statistics) will allow you to download a CSV file containing all responses received from the students.

Implementing student feedback

It is essential that you summarize and respond to the feedback provided.  This can be done briefly in class or even by e-mail a day or two after the survey closes.  Above all, it is especially important to respond to anything you hear multiple times.  If you are unable to make suggested changes, tell students why.  It’s important to show you’ve considered their feedback and are thoughtful about the organization of your course.  Also, if you can act on their suggestions, let them know how you plan to adapt and why you’re making the change.

Additional Support

If you have further questions about administering the Early Term Survey or would like to discuss ways that you can successfully apply the feedback to your course, feel free to reach out to the Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning at 487-3000 or email us at elearning@mtu.edu.


iClicker and student engagement

As we return to in-person learning, many faculty are pursuing ways in which they can engage students in the learning process. One effective approach is to poll students during a live classroom session. A short poll midway through a lecture allows the instructor to gauge comprehension of course content or receive student input. Michigan Tech currently supports iClicker Cloud software to conduct polling in an effort to increase student engagement. The software allows instructors to summarize, share and react to student responses. Points can be applied based on participation or correct answer responses. Students can participate in the polling sessions by using their mobile device or laptop.

Getting Started

Are you interested in polling your classes but not sure where to start with using iClicker? You can get started by downloading the iClicker Cloud software and establishing a free instructor account and creating an iClicker course. I would also encourage you to review the CTL webpage for more info on Student Polling.

Now that you have downloaded the software and established your iClicker course, the next step would be to pull your Canvas course roster into iClicker Cloud as well as become familiar with how to sync your iClicker Cloud grades to your Canvas gradebook. You can reference the iClicker Instructor Guide for further details. Linked below is a great video that summarizes the entire process from downloading the software to running a classroom poll to how students respond on their devices.

Overview of iClicker Cloud and polling

iClicker question types

If your students are using the iClicker Student app on a mobile device or laptop to respond, you have a great deal of freedom in the types of questions that you are able to ask. iClicker offers multiple choice, short answer, numeric and target type questions. You may want to review our previous blog post on iClicker Question Types for more details. If you have students who are still using the physical iClicker device, you will want to limit your question type to only multiple choice.

Taking iClicker to the next level!

Interested in using iClicker beyond just classroom polling? iClicker recently introduced the iClicker Assignment feature. The Assignment feature allows instructors to upload pre-authored questions on the iClicker Cloud instructor website. Students are able to respond to Assignments in the iClicker Student App at their own pace. iClicker has a wealth of great Knowledge Base articles on Assignments and best practices to incorporate them into your courses.

Reach out to us!

If you are interested in finding out more about using iClicker in your classroom or have questions about setting up the iClicker cloud account, feel free to reach out to us at elearning@mtu.edu.


Need help grading?

Are you teaching a large class section this semester and feeling overwhelmed by all the assignment submissions that need grading? MichiganTech has recently added Gradescope to its list of university-supported EdTech Tools. Gradescope is an AI-assisted grading tool. It is designed to help the instructor efficiently grade assessments while still providing detailed feedback. Gradescope can support variable-length assignments such as homework problems as well as fixed-template assignments such as worksheets and exams. Gradescope easily links with Canvas allowing you to set up Gradescope assignments that students can access via your Canvas course. The scores from Gradescope assignments can sync to your Canvas gradebook. Instructors have commented that Gradescope has cut their grading time in half!

Interested in getting started? Follow this KnowledgeBase article that will provide guidance on logging into Gradescope and setting up a Gradescope course.

Photo courtesy of Pexels.com (Lum3n)

Gradescope Assignment Types

So, now that you have logged into Gradescope and set up a new course, lets take a look at the various assignment types that can be created in Gradescope:

Homework & Problem Sets — supports variable length assignments such as handwritten homework problems. It is designed to allow the students to submit their work to Gradescope. Our Gradescope – Homework & Problem Sets article provides additional details to assist you in setting up this type of assignment.

Exams & Quizzes – this assignment type allows the instructor to upload the blank copy of the exam and create an outline that defines the details of the exam such as question regions and question point values. The completed student exams would be collected by the instructor and scanned into Gradescope for grading. Our Gradescope-Exams & Quizzes article goes into further detail.

Programming Assignments – This assignment type allows students to submit code projects which can be automatically graded with a custom written autograder or (if you prefer) you can manually grade the code project using the traditional gradescope interface. You will want to reference our Gradescope – Programming Assignment article for information on how to set up the autograder feature.

Linking your Canvas course to Gradescope

Once you have your Gradescope course and assignments defined, you will need to be sure to link your Canvas course with your Gradescope course and sync your roster so that grades from assignments can be pulled into your Canvas gradebook.

Grading Assignments

We have finally reached the point where you can see the benefits of Gradescope — the grading of the submissions! Once the submissions are scanned in by the instructor or submitted by the student, you are ready to grade by applying the appropriate points and comments to the submissions. Before you get started on grading that first stack of assignments, you may want to reference Gradescope’s tutorial on this process.

Follow up with us!

If you would like to discuss Gradescope in more detail or just want to let us know how Gradescope is working for you….please reach out to us at elearning@mtu.edu or call 7-3000.