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  • Center for Teaching & Learning Minnesota State Colleges & Universities
  • For those of you who hate acronyms, you’ll be glad that nobody could figure out how to pronounce msfg. Small Group Instructional Diagnosis (SGID)--SGID was introduced by D. Joseph Clark, Ph.D., in 1976 when he held a faculty development position at the Biology Learning Center of the University of Washington. The practice was disseminated with a FIPSE grant in the 1970s." SGID is a method of evaluation that uses facilitated small group discussion among students to provide feedback to an instructor for the purpose of improving teaching, developing ideas for strengthening the course, and enhancing communication between students and teacher about the teaching and learning process.  Usually conducted at the mid-term point of the semester--and also called "Student Mid-Course Interviews" or "Student Focus Groups"--this method of evaluation can also improve student interest in and understanding of the course material and methods. Also see ED420346 - Using Small Group Instructional Feedback (SGIF) as an Alternative to Mid-Course Questionnaires: Practical Guidelines for Instructors and Facilitators. Center for Teaching & Learning Minnesota State Colleges & Universities
  • HOW’S IT GOING (Exercise) Before we talk about WHAT a SGID or SGIF is, and how it’s done, let’s talk about why you might want to do it at all. Here you are on September 15 at the end of the FOURTH week of classes in the fall semester. I’d like to give you a chance to talk a little bit about your teaching. Please take a few minutes--the next 5 minutes--to talk with ONE other person about how it’s going this semester. Be sure to allow the person you’re talking with to have 2-3 minutes, and to take that much time yourself. Think about both what’s working, AND what you’re concerned about. Some of you are having a great semester, with students who are focused, hard-working, attentive, and getting it. <click> Others are even finding that students are working collaboratively, creatively, and obviously learning. <click> And then a few of you are already sure that you’ve got students whose lives are incredibly transformed by being in your classroom. <click> Center for Teaching & Learning Minnesota State Colleges & Universities
  • BUT while you talked about what’s working, you also, I’m guessing had some concerns, or you know there’s a time coming when you might experience too many moments like this in class. You are dismayed when a student who seems bright and interested just isn’t getting it and seems to be losing interest. You dread the days to come when something like this happens. Am I right? Well, the whole idea of mid-semester feedback is… Center for Teaching & Learning Minnesota State Colleges & Universities
  • How things went by giving the end of semester evaluations, and then waiting for weeks or months to have the courage to read them. Even if you read them right away, and evenif the great majority of them is positive and confirming, you may be distracted by the one or the few that say something in your class sucked. Well, here’s the alternative idea in mid-semester feedbacks. Center for Teaching & Learning Minnesota State Colleges & Universities
  • There is a large and longtime body of research that shows that asking students in the middle of the semester how it’s going can be VERY effective in these ways. Changes that you can do at this point. Listening and caring may sound too warm and fuzzy for you, but it matters to students that you care about them, but more importantly about the quality of the class. I’m going to tell you an anecdote about this climate business later, but I’ll tell you now that I’ve seen it happen that a class can change dramatically, especially in the case where things were going dramatically wrong. The research is pretty clear on this point: end-of-semester evaluations can be improved by listening to students and making adjustments--often very small--as a result. But most importantly, you AND your students can find new ways of improving their learning. I think that happens because asking students to stop and think about the class and their learning has an effect on them. Center for Teaching & Learning Minnesota State Colleges & Universities
  • There are some very important conditions hidden in this simple procedure to make sure it works well. I think the fac dev cmte will be wanting some more conversation on the details of this process. Center for Teaching & Learning Minnesota State Colleges & Universities
  • Here are some of the most important. (Let’s discuss each.) Center for Teaching & Learning Minnesota State Colleges & Universities
  • I know peer consultants who use up to an hour of class time, especially in a big class, but I’ve found, in having done dozens of these, that longer doesn’t necessarily means better. Center for Teaching & Learning Minnesota State Colleges & Universities
  • Let me give you some examples of how this works. Remember, I told you that there are really only three questions that we ask students. But we ask you in the consultation, what topics do you want to focus on. Here’s an example, real-life, from one of my own consultations. Students are not petty, they are very focused on the questions. Center for Teaching & Learning Minnesota State Colleges & Universities
  • Here’s another set of quotations from groups that talked about classroom activities--what happens in the classroom. Additional topic areas might be assignments, technologies, etc. Center for Teaching & Learning Minnesota State Colleges & Universities
  • So you can see, I think, what you get out of it: very specific, concrete ideas for how to improve the class in ways that all students agreed would be helpful (remember that concept of consensus). But what do students get out of it? Do they really think it’s helpful, as I said? Here’s what some researchers at Lincoln University in New Zealand found in 2003. They surveyed 118 students from 3 first-year, 1 second-year, and 1 third-year courses in communication, psychology, and exercise management. Center for Teaching & Learning Minnesota State Colleges & Universities
  • Now I’ll tell my anecdote about the climate change I’ve observed. I used to do these at the 14 colleges and schools of a major research university, --so in a lot of programs, at undergraduate and graduate classes. I had been asked by a graduate professor to visit one of his master’s classes in a professional program. He was concerned about the climate in the class. He had a hard time getting students to open up and get involved, and had one or two students who seemed tobe taking over the class. Well, my worst nightmare occurred when I walked into the class, got the groups talking, then when I asked for their feedback, had a student announce, “this is the absolute worst class I’ve ever taken.”…but what happened after that transformed things. The students had a chance for the first time to talk with one another without the instructor present, and they said to the “worst ever” student and a couple others who were complaining that they thought the instructor actually was very knowledgeable and trying very hard. They pointed out that it was not his responsibility to explain everything, but that students themselves have to come prepared, and cooperate….The professor later told me that the class changed completely after that day. Center for Teaching & Learning Minnesota State Colleges & Universities
  • Take NN minutes to discuss with another near you what you might, hypothetically, be interested in knowing through inquiring of your students. [Group discussion: what questions do you have about the process and its risks or benefits?] Center for Teaching & Learning Minnesota State Colleges & Universities
  • Let me close by saying that while we’ve focused on your students and you, I think you’ve probably noticed today and in other experiences that it’s a great experience to talk with another faculty member about teaching, and it often doesn’t matter if you’re in the same field. In fact, it can be even better when the conversation doesn’t get bogged down in content, or when you have to explain to a colleague content in the same way that you have to explain it to students. I am committed to faculty and to the profession of college teaching, and I know that it is a profession that has grown over the centuries to be at its best when peers debate with, review the work of, comment on, collaborate with, and teach one another. I encourage you to do more peer consulting, find ways to enjoy it, and KEEP it voluntary, and very mutual. And I wish you a good mid-semester and great spring semester. Center for Teaching & Learning Minnesota State Colleges & Universities
  • Center for Teaching & Learning Minnesota State Colleges & Universities
  • Sgid sgif-wsu-091710

    1. 1. “ Skids and Skiffs” <ul><li>Winona State University </li></ul><ul><li>September 17, 2010 </li></ul><ul><li>Lynda Milne </li></ul><ul><li>Center for Teaching & Learning </li></ul><ul><li>651-201-1887 or [email_address] </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
    2. 2. Skids and Skiffs ? ? ? <ul><li>S mall G roup I nstructional D iagnostics </li></ul><ul><li>or </li></ul><ul><li>S tudent G roup I nstructional F eedback </li></ul><ul><li>or </li></ul><ul><li>Mid-Semester Focus Groups </li></ul>
    3. 3. How’s it going?
    4. 4. Always?
    5. 5. You can wait to find out…
    6. 6. …or ask students now <ul><li>Mid-semester feedback (Weeks 6 - 8) can: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Tell you if changes can improve the class </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tell students you listen and care </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Change class climate for the better </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Improve end-of-semester evaluations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Improve learning outcomes </li></ul></ul>
    7. 7. Ok. How’s it done? <ul><li>Peer (or even trained student) consultant meets with instructor. </li></ul><ul><li>Consultant visits class. </li></ul><ul><li>Instructor explains invited visit, leaves. </li></ul><ul><li>Consultant asks class 3 questions: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What works (helps you to learn)? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What’s not working? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What do you recommend instructor do? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Consultant and instructor de-brief. </li></ul>
    8. 8. Is there a devil in the details? <ul><li>Instructor should pre-identify focus. </li></ul><ul><li>Student feedback must be anonymous. </li></ul><ul><li>Only consensus comments reported. </li></ul><ul><li>Consultant doesn’t advise, just reports. </li></ul><ul><li>Instructor must follow-up with students. </li></ul>
    9. 9. How much time does it take? <ul><li>20-30 minutes (depends on class size) </li></ul><ul><li>Meetings before and after </li></ul>
    10. 10. Course content /topic /syllabus /materials <ul><li>What works well for you as a learner? </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ He uses lots of helpful examples and adapts the course topics to our varied backgrounds.” </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ All the readings and supplementary materials are good, but not the textbook.” </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>What’s not working so well? </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ Too much of the graded work is due at the end of the semester.” </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ It takes more than two weeks to get papers back; that’s too long to be helpful.” </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>What changes might the instructor make? </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ Break up the final project for several earlier due-dates.” </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ Give papers back one week after due (should be possible with smaller assignments.” </li></ul></ul></ul>
    11. 11. Classroom activities <ul><li>What’s working, what are the strengths? </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ The way she previews application of theory before discussing theory.” </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ Openness in the class; being able to talk to each other and hear others experiences.” </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ Nice slides and media. They help me understand the lecture.” </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>What’s not working so well? </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ Class discussion often seems open-ended and we need more guidance on the course topics.” </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>What changes might the instructor make? </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ Be more sensitive to individual students’ reactions to comments and humor.” </li></ul></ul></ul>
    12. 12. Students at end-of-semester on SGIFs Yes No No Reply Not Sure 1. Were there benefits in providing and receiving feed-back at mid-semester? 84% 5% 8% 3% 2. Did the lecturer respond to the feedback you (students) gave at mid-semester? 74 3 20 3 3. Were there things not addressed in the feedback to the lecturer? 8 47 36 8 4. Would you like to see other lecturers use mid-semester feedback? 81 8 7 4
    13. 13. Why? What changed? <ul><ul><li>“ We had a chance to address any issues during the semester. We had a chance to be heard and, if needed, clear the air somewhat.” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ We could give our thoughts on how to make points clearer.” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ It was helpful to know that other students shared similar views or feelings.” </li></ul></ul>
    14. 14. Would it work for you? <ul><li>What possible issues would you ask a peer to focus on? </li></ul>
    15. 15. Peer consultation <ul><li>Private </li></ul><ul><li>Mutual </li></ul><ul><li>Voluntary </li></ul><ul><li>Inquiry-based </li></ul><ul><li>Professional development </li></ul>
    16. 16. Thank you! Contact the Faculty Development Committee to schedule a SGIF in your class.