Early Course Feedback: Focus Groups-Teaching Excellence & Educational Innovation - Carnegie Mellon University

Early Course Feedback: Focus Groups

What is it?

While your course is in progress, a focus group is an efficient way to gather rich information from your students on how your course supports their learning.

When you request a focus group for your course, an Eberly colleague holds an informal interview session with your students during class when you are not present. The Eberly colleague asks your students about their experiences and perceptions of learning in your course. He/she solicits alternative perspectives and assess consensus for each discussion point raised.

Focus groups are voluntary and confidential and student responses are anonymous.

Why do it?

A focus group can be useful for gathering information about a particular issue or as a general "check in" on how your course is going.

The feedback you receive is frank, revealing, and constructive, so you can make targeted adjustments while your course is still in progress.

When to do it?

You can request a focus group at any point in the semester. However, we recommend 3-5 weeks into a full semester course and 2-3 weeks into a mini course, so that students have enough experience with the course and you still have time to make adjustments.

CONTACT US  at least one week in advance so we can ensure an Eberly colleague is available.

  1. Meet with an Eberly colleague to discuss your course and identify issues for student feedback.
  2. Eberly colleague visits your class and talks with students for 20-25 minutes.
  3. Eberly colleague compiles student comments and meets with you to discuss next steps. A written memo summarizing the feedback is also provided.

What's the process?