What: Weekly “surveys”
Why: It provides evidence that students are doing readings, provides a mechanism for submitting work for class activities, and provides an opportunity for self-reflection on the material.
When: At the end of each week (due ).
How: An online quiz *survey) in Canvas
Assessment: Grading (Ungraded Grading Scale), although most will be N/C
Late Policy: While they are due on Friday, we will accept late responses over the weekend. Drop Policy: Drop 2 applies.
Note: in Canvas, the distinction between a survey and a quiz is ambiguous. Basically, a survey is a quiz where we don’t grade the answers carefully. Sometimes because we simply don’t take the time to check, and sometimes because we make the survey anonymous (so we know that students have answered, but cannot connect individual responses back to students).
For anonymous surveys, we can only check that a student has participated (N/C grading). For non-anonymous surveys, we may choose not to grade it (again, N/C grading), or we might look at the answers to see if students are taking the surveys seriously.
There will be a few kinds of questions:
Content Reflection Questions: These are questions that ask you to think about the material in the class. These are designed to help you think about the topic and self-assess how well you understand it. The Educational Science literature suggests that taking a little time to reflect on what you learned over the course of the week can be really valuable. These questions aren’t meant to test you: we aren’t really going to grade your answers - it’s pretty much the honor system. We may look at your answers (when they aren’t anonymous) to get a sense of if students are learning what we expect (so we can adjust the course accordingly) or to check that people are taking the surveys seriously.
Survey Questions: These are a way for us to get information we need to plan class.
Feedback Questions: These are a way for us to get a sense for how the class is going, so we can make adjustments if necessary.
We started doing these surveys last year (both in CS765 but also CS559), and found that they were a really useful for us (course staff) to stay more connected to the students, but also help the students internalize the material. Yes, we actually got positive feedback that students liked being forced to take the time to reflect on what they learned during the week.
When the class was completely online, surveys were essential. Online, we miss most forms of feedback - the chatter before and after class, the puzzled expressions on students faces when something isn’t clear, etc. Once I started getting the regular feedback from surveys, I realized that in the large classes (and CS765 counts), I wasn’t getting as much feedback as I thought I was.
So, I really do believe the surveys help you (the student): they will help you digest the material by helping you reflect on it, and they will make the class better by providing me with things I need to adjust the class.
I will use the surveys as a way to measure “participation” in the class. This is always challenging to measure, having students participate by taking time to reflect (and confirm that they’ve done so), is at least some signal.