Teaching Tip: Gathering Feedback
We constantly gather feedback about our classes, from graded assignments to our students’ body language. Sometimes we’d like to capture more detailed information for a particular day, but want something informal, low-stress. Enter the one-minute paper...
The one-minute paper requires no preparation and only a few minutes of class time. It doesn’t require you to grade it. You can keep the answers anonymous if you like. And you can tailor its details to your tastes and needs. At the end of the class, give the students a minute or two to write answers to two prompts, like:
- "Tell me about the most important thing you learned today" and
- "What's the biggest question you have after today?"
These prompts give shy students freedom to raise questions they might otherwise let go. They give us the chance to discover what's resonating and what's confusing or misunderstood and to find other patterns. And they give us and the students freedom to explore the content in ways that we may not have anticipated.
What's more, when students write (even for just this short moment), they integrate content more completely. Interactivity like this is essential to learning, and asking students to put what they're learning into their own words —immediately, rather than a week or two later — is a good way to help them discover the gaps in their knowledge.
How do you gauge how your class is going? Some of you sent us wonderful ideas last time — thank you. What tips can you offer us? We’d love to hear from you!
For more on the one-minute paper, see:
Thomas A. Angelo and K. Patricia Cross, Classroom Assessment Techniques: a Handbook for College Teachers (Jossey-Bass, 1993), pp. 148-153.