Most instructors receive the bulk of student feedback at the end of the semester via course evaluations. But here’s the thing — by then it’s too late.
“We call them the autopsy,” one Instructional Technologist said of course evaluations. “By the time we’re learning the problems, it’s too late to solve them.”
Feedback Box is a Canvas integration that lets students share private, anonymous feedback with instructors anytime during the course. Simplicity is the key. Feedback Box was co-designed by a Center For Teaching & Learning that wanted instructors to have zero setup to get started.
It works like this —Students see a new “Feedback” link in the course navigation. Clicking takes them to a submission form.
When a student submits feedback, the instructor receives an evening email with a link to a simple dashboard on Canvas where the instructor can view each comment and reply if desired.
So how do students and instructors use Feedback Box?
1) Communicating During The First Week To Boost Retention
After the first hour of class, many students already sense the challenges they will face with an instructor’s teaching style. One student’s Feedback Box submission begged a Calculus professor to slow the pace of class. A week later, the same student expressed appreciation for the change of pace, saying they felt more confident not dropping the course.
2) Mid-Terms: Start Doing, Stop Doing, Keep Doing
Research has shown student ratings of college teaching effectiveness improve after students have the chance to give feedback. In the middle of the course, some instructors announce a prompt like, “What should I start doing, stop doing, and keep doing?” and ask students to submit responses on Feedback Box. It’s much easier than creating a survey!
3) Flagging The Misfires
Students are sharing meaningful, productive comments on Feedback Box relating to culture, religion, gender, and diversity. Helping students feel safe is a real-time pursuit. If an instructor’s remark creates discomfort, students feel more secure voicing the concern quickly rather than saving it for the course evaluation months later.
4) Words of Encouragement
Instructors are receiving message of gratitude ranging from how a certain lesson sparked a passion for a new field, to how an instructor’s use of modules helped students remember material. Students understand professors are deeply invested in creating a positive classroom experience. Sending an anonymous compliment on Feedback Box ensures it will be presented sincerely.
In the year since our launch, we’ve been blown away by the maturity students show on Feedback Box. Students realize Feedback Box is for leaving a private message to an instructor rather than posting a public comment that can be liked and retweeted. That said, an instructor can report abuse if the need ever arises.
Founder, Feedback Box