Providing Constructive Feedback

Teaching is a fundamental purpose of the University of Florida (UF). Your feedback is an important aspect of the learning process and is considered in the following areas:

  1. Yearly Performance Evaluation  
  2. Promotion and Tenure
  3. Teaching and mentoring awards

Your feedback is critical and essential to the continued success/improvement of the course for all the students that will follow you. It is also utilized by instructors to better understand the views of students on a course, including its content, it format, its presentation, and its success in meeting the learning objectives.

After final grades are submitted at the end of the term, evaluation results are shared with the instructor and administrators. Therefore, keep in mind that you are communicating directly (though anonymously) with the instructor – they see the evaluation results (without your identity).

Use the following guidelines to provide your instructor with constructive feedback that they can use to improve their teaching and course design. 

Guidelines:

  1. Be respectful – Your evaluation is a professional communication. Derogatory or offensive language are not appropriate and will diminish the value of your feedback.
  2. Keep the tone and content of your comments focused on the substance of the course. Comments about clothing, hairstyle, etc. diminish the value of your feedback.  
  3. Be clear and specific – Think carefully about specific behaviors and course content (e.g. assignments, lectures, discussions) when making your evaluations. In your comments, provide examples and offer constructive solutions or suggestions.  

Prior to completing your course evaluations, consider: 

Confidentiality: course evaluation results (both numeric and free-response) are provided to the instructor, as well as administrators within the department and college. 

The results are not made available until after final grades have been submitted at the end of the term.

 

Less Helpful or Vague

More Helpful and Specific 

“The instructor was great”

“Dr. Smith was quick to respond to student questions and concerns. She fostered an environment that encouraged us to speak up and contribute to the conversation.”

“The instructor just lectured the whole time”

“In a 3 hour course, I would suggest taking a few breaks between the topics being covered. A little more time should be spent on interaction with the students with hands on learning and discussion.”

“The instructor was engaging”

“The instructor included multiple class discussions throughout class. They posed questions for us to grapple with and asked us to formulate how we would approach the issue.” 

“Improve organization of the course”

“I never really knew what to expect when coming to class. The syllabus did not include an outline of what would be covered each week. The wording in the slides were unorganized and led to confusion on relatively simple topics.”  

“Tests were not on what I learned”

“The content in course materials was very general or in some cases very specific. It was very difficult to know what topics to review for the upcoming exams. It would be nice to have a review guide that covered the relevant material to review.”

“The PowerPoint slides were too long”

“The PowerPoints included too much text and could have been shortened to bullet points of relevant material. It would be helpful if the slides were also included in Canvas so we can refer back to them.”

“The textbooks were unhelpful”

“I found the textbook to be unhelpful. It did not include many of the concepts covered in class, and there were no problem sets or review questions included. I would suggest including journal articles or other shorter materials that would better cover what we are learning.”

“The teacher really cared about the students.”

“I really appreciated that the instructor always answered emails within 24 hours and never canceled their office hours. They also made it a point to learn all of the students names and a little bit about each of us.”