How to easily and efficiently get a pulse on how the course is going?

End-of-course evaluations are helpful in making improvements for subsequent semesters, but they are inadequate for being responsive to students needs and perspectives while a course is running. This is where formative assessment comes in. Formative assessment techniques allow you to quickly and periodically evaluate students’ understanding of course concepts so that small improvements can be made to on-going instruction.


  • Implement lightweight classroom assessment techniques (see e.g., a list from Iowa State and Vanderbilt)
  • Use Google Forms or Qualtrics to develop short, online surveys to get both quantitative and qualitative feedback from students.

Double Espresso-level:

  • Developing feedback dashboards (analogue or digital) that give you (and potentially your students) near real-time feedback on students are progressing through your course (see this example from an award-winning hybrid course).