Survey students early in the semester: Pre-Course Survey
Get to know a little bit more about your students early on in the semester.
Knowing students so you can better design your course to respond to student needs for the particular semester, rather than make general assumptions. You can use this to get to know demographic information, technology/infrastructure information, pre-knowledge of course topics, learning strategy preferences and any accommodations students may need.
Writing the survey.
Decide what you need to know about your students and how you might be able to modify things about your course or course structure or pedagogy to respond to these things. Examples of things you may want to know:
Depends on length of survey, but can be taken out of class time.
This is probably not going to be an anonymous survey, but you can promise students confidentiality, that you will not share their personal information. You could do some of it as anonymous polling inside class, but not with very sensitive questions.
Any survey tool will do, Google forms (completely free), SurveyMonkey (free version has limitations), etc., or you can run it inside your Learning Management System (Virtual Learning Environment) if you prefer. Most, like Blackboard and Canvas, have survey tools. If you are unfamiliar with surveying tools or are asking mainly open-ended questions, students can email you their responses or write them in Google docs. You can also ask your teaching and learning centre for help, as they probably have templates and experience creating surveys.
Northwestern guidance from Kristina Wilson: HOW (AND WHY!) TO WRITE A PRE-COURSE SURVEY OR QUESTIONNAIRE
Yale Poorvu Center Pre-course surveys
Sample pre-course surveys:
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