Mid-course Adjustment

     The Mid-Course Adjustment is a voluntary, non-evaluative, whole-class interview. This interview is usually conducted before or, at the latest, at mid-semester. Its purpose is to help the instructor see the course from the students' point-of-view, and to give the teacher an opportunity to respond to the students' comments and concerns, adjusting the course if necessary.

     The procedure begins at the request of the instructor. The instructor and a trained facilitator -- a colleague, usually a CTE co-director or graduate assistant -- meet to discuss the situation and to schedule a date for the colleague to visit the class. When the colleague arrives at the room, usually a half-hour prior to the end of the class, the instructor introduces him or her to the class and leaves the room. The colleague then explains that the instructor is interested in comments and recommendations, and that all these will be conveyed intact to the instructor with no names mentioned (It is unlikely, at any rate, that the colleague will know these students). The facilitator then asks the students to address three questions, first in a few minutes of informal writing and then either in the large group or in small groups:

What do you like about the class?

What in the class needs improvement?

What suggestions can you make for bringing these improvements about?

     The students report openly to the facilitator, who notes as specifically as possible the recommendations and comments and suggestions.  Written student comments will never be shown to the instructor, but rather summarized by the facilitator.

     The facilitator then meets with the instructor to debrief and clarify the students' comments. At the next class meeting, the instructor opens with a summary of the comments, shares his or her reactions to them, and discusses possible changes in the course from that point on. Sometimes a follow-up meeting between the instructor and the facilitator helps to measure the effectiveness of the Mid-Course Adjustment.

 

Please send questions, suggestions or comments to Jim Hauser and Bob Rosen, 
Co-directors, Center for Teaching Excellence