Three Simple Questions

So it’s the middle of the semester.  It’s that time when mid-terms are happening and the first major assignments are being submitted.  But as the instructor you’re not quite sure how things are going for your students.  You’ve noticed that participation in synchronous sessions has dropped off and the interaction in asynchronous activities has become a trickle rather than a flood.  So what to do?  Try a mid-semester student check-in to get a sense of how students are progressing with the course and what you can do to facilitate their learning.

Ask your students 3 simple questions using the Blackboard Survey tool ( or simply send out an email or announcement and wait for the responses.  Be mindful of whether you would like the responses to be anonymous when choosing a delivery method for the survey.  Consider a simple ‘stop, start, continue’ approach to the check-in.  Here are some suggested questions:

  1. In this course, what is hindering your learning? What should I stop doing?
  2. In this course, what is facilitating your learning? What should I continue to do?
  3. To make your learning more productive, what should I start doing?

Of course you can ask more specific questions or use Likert scales to get a more quantitative set of information but the key here is that when the results come in, you listen to what is being said.  Look for patterns and generalities in the responses and then come up with a plan of action.  What are you willing to adapt in light of the student’s responses?  What can’t be adapted?  What new strategies can you employ to assist students in their learning journeys?

And when you’ve adjusted your course delivery or course organization, thank the students for their feedback and explain to them what decisions you have made and why.  Learning is a partnership and an always evolving process.  Together you can succeed.

If you have any questions about creating a mid-semester student check-in, reach out to the Teaching and Learning Centre at for support.

Written by Claire Hay – Teaching and Learning Specialist