OSCQR – Standard #50

OSCQR – Standard #50

Course includes the opportunity for learners to provide descriptive feedback on their experience in the online course, the course design, content, user experience, and technology.

Review These Explanations

Online learners have first hand experience in online learning environments as learners and users of the online learning technologies. They are immersed within the online experience, and can provide useful feedback on their experiences with the online course design and delivery. This feedback can be used to guide continuous improvements to the course design and delivery practices, and improve the efficacy of the online teaching and learning process. Providing a channel for feedback, and encouraging dialogue among learners, can lead to the improvement of ideas and opinions (Mabrito & Medley, 2008).

Learners may find navigation difficult, or content lacking, which can get in the way of successful course completion. Creating mechanisms for learners to  provide feedback to the instructor and/or course designer on navigation, access, and the overall learning experience, can guide improvements to support learner success while the course is in progress, as well as at the end of the course.

In addition, if new technologies, LMS features, or pedagogical approaches are incorporated into the learning environment, learners need a way to report or explain any issue that arise, offer their insights and suggestions, and share solutions that they may have found that can be shared with their classmates.

Independent from end-of-course surveys, providing channels to collect learner feedback on the online learning experience empowers the learner to have a stake in making the experience better for themselves, as well as for other learners in the future. These channels also enhance group cohesion by exemplifying how instructors value the opinions of their learners.


Mabrito, M. & Medley, R. (2008). Why Professor Johnny can’t read: Understanding the net generation’s texts. Innovate: Journal of Online Education, 4(6).

Refresh Your Course with These Ideas

General Suggestions

  • Develop metacognitive learning activities that ask learners to reflect and express what they are learning, how they know they are learning, and what is helping or hindering their learning using a journal, blog, etc.
  • Set up an online forum-based Suggestion Box to collect informal feedback.
  • Distribute a survey, or poll to collect descriptive feedback from learners at mid-term and again the end of the course term.
  • Ask learners to share three things that they like about the course, and three things that are not working well for them after a few weeks into the course. Repeat this activity at mid-term, and again at the end of the course term.
    • Consider making a minor change/adjustment in the course design or deliver based on learner feedback during the course to demonstrate that responsiveness to learner feedback and experiences.
  • Include a discussion forum to collect feedback at the end of a learning activity, and require learner participation as part of the overall activity grade.
  • Invite learners to participate in the full course review process.
  • Have learners develop course experience feedback as groups, and submit anonymously.
  • Invite learners to specifically share what they would like other learners to do in order to engage the course as a group.
  • Ask learners specific questions, such as what has helped them learn in the course, and what has hindered their learning process and progress.


    1. What did you like best about this course?
    2. Did any of the technologies used help or hinder your learning experience? How so?
    3. What specific things do you think could be improved in the structure or design of the course and learning activities?
    4. How would you improve the quality and participation in course discussions/interactions?
    5. What changes would you suggest be made to the pacing or sequence of the content and activities for this course? (e.g., Were the due dates manageable for you? Were the course materials sequenced well?)
    6. What changes would you suggest be made to the quantity of work required for this course?
    7. How could the course be improved in terms of my(the instructor’s) interaction, participation, and management of the course?
    8. What other suggestions, comments, or recommendations would you have for the instructor?
  • Create a Feedback Journal – Consider adding a “descriptive feedback/metacognitive journaling” section to the course to elicit feedback from students useful for improving pedagogical style, (based on Rodgers, 2006). Questions might include:
    1. What did you learn? Really think about what it means to have learned something.
    2. Can you say more? Can you give me an example?
    3. How do you know you learned it?
    4. What helped your learning? What would have helped your learning more?
    5. What hindered your learning?
    6. How did you feel?

Rodgers, C. R. (2006). Attending to student voice: the impact of descriptive feedback on learning and teaching. Curriculum Inquiry, 36(2), 209-237.

  • Conduct a How’s it going? survey after the first couple of weeks, review responses, and select one thing to improve (not a major course design change).
  • End of course, How did it go? Survey. Continuous improvement of course design or delivery is identified and address.
  • Example MidTerm Group Discussion Forum to Collect Learner Feedback

We’re in the middle of our semester. I am interested in your experience and your feedback

  • How is it going?
  • Are you progressing at the pace at which you thought you would progress?
  • Are you happy with how much time and effort you are putting into learning?
  • Do you know where to find your grades? Are you happy with your grades? Do you know why you are getting the grades you are getting? Do you know what to do to continue getting good grades or what to do to improve your grades?
  • What do you need help with?
  • What are you unclear about?

Please respond to these questions to let me know where you are in your learning, I’ll try to do my best to help you out. If you don’t feel comfortable sharing your situation here, you can send me a private message. A response to this discussion is required, but not graded.

Explore More Refreshing Ideas from the Teaching Online Pedagogical Repository (TOPR) at the University of Central Florida (UCF)

This Pedagogical Practice from TOPR explores methods and approaches to collecting learner feedback to inform the design and delivery of higher quality online courses.

Collect Student Feedback using Course Evaluations
This semester, I used the anonymous survey twice in my course (V-mode) and you can get fairly good response rates (27/33 = 81%) to get a feel of how the course has been perceived up to that point. You can also add short comments portion, to which students in distant learning setting would surprisingly type up something to express their opinion. (Read more …)

Explore Related Resources

Li, N., Marsh, V., & Rienties, B. (2016). Modeling and Managing Learner Satisfaction: Use of Learner Feedback to Enhance Blended and Online Learning Experience. Decision Sciences Journal of Innovative Education, 14(2), 216-242.
Thelk, A. D. (2014). Building a Better Course-Evaluation Process. Assessment Update, 26(2), 6-7.

Share What You Know

OSCQR has been developed by a community of online practitioners interested in quality course design. There are numerous opportunities for community members to offer suggestions, donate resources, and help with future development.

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