We offer help every semester for faculty who wish to reflect on successes and identify areas for improvement in their courses. Small Group Instructional Feedback (SGIF) is a formative, mid-course check-in used for gathering information from students on their learning experience. This process, which is offered at many institutions nationally, is designed to foster dialogue between students and instructors, and to offer students a transparent but anonymous way to surface their concerns about the course in a thoughtful way.
Three Duke faculty shared how the SGIF process helped them identify meaningful yet manageable changes to their courses.
The SGIF process is as follows:
- The instructor initiates the SGIF process by completing a request form.
- A Teaching Consultant from Learning Innovation will meet with the instructor in order to provide an overview of the program, address any questions or concerns, and schedule the SGIF, which will last about 30 minutes.
- Teaching Consultants from Learning Innovation will facilitate the SGIF session in the class at the agreed-upon time (either in person or online, depending on the course format). We’ll ask students to join small groups, reflect, and reach consensus on their answers to the following questions:
- What is going well for you in the course so far?
- What do you think could be improved in the course?
- A custom question for that particular course, based on discussion with the instructor. See below for some examples of custom questions.
- The Teaching Consultant will meet with the instructor to review a report summarizing anonymized outcomes of the SGIF and to help determine how to best respond to students.
Some examples of the specific questions faculty have asked in an SGIF include:
- How can the next Problem-Based Learning activity be improved?
- Do you feel you are becoming an independent designer? What do you feel least confident about?
- Thinking about the assignments, class discussions, lectures, and support for you as a student, how do you feel about the mix of undergraduate and master’s students in the class?
- What skills do you wish were covered in this course?
- What can the instructor do to make this a space that everyone feels comfortable engaging in (at a more consistent level)?
Soliciting mid-semester student feedback is a wonderful way to demonstrate attention and caring to students, and to do some course corrections to improve a course. Faculty who have participated in an SGIF have found it valuable.