Feedback & Flexibility

Feedback plays a large role in teaching and learning – for both students and educators alike. After reassessing your pedagogical approaches to better align with equity and centering students in your course design and delivery, you can gain further insight into your OER and pedagogies by listening to the input of students! Nothing’s perfect and we all get it wrong at times but it’s how we respond to getting it wrong and what we do with that feedback that matters. Take a moment to think about how you handle feedback – how often do you ask for feedback? Who do you ask for feedback? How do you respond to constructive feedback?

Formative feedback, specifically, is a strategy of providing ongoing feedback in order to better understand and improve upon your teaching, resulting in improved learning environments for students. Focus on formative feedback for teaching development: A guide (University of Calgary, 2016) notes that “interpreting formative feedback is a highly reflective process, which incorporates the instructor’s beliefs, intentions, and strategies, and the learners’ experiences.”

Feedback and flexibility work alongside each other. When you receive feedback, you’re given the flexibility to make changes based on that feedback. This takes some reframing. Something that’s helped me is reframing why people provide feedback. Feedback helps us all get better – remember if students are taking the time to let you know what’s not working for them in the classroom, that is not an attack – it’s a learning opportunity. Your students care enough to let you know and want you to improve for future students. When we get to the place where we understand feedback as care, we become more open to flexibility and adapting our ways. When we get to the place where we understand feedback as care, we become more open to flexibility and adapting our ways.

When thinking of how to collect feedback from students, there are a few things to think about. First, reflect on what you’re looking for feedback on. Do you want to know students’ experiences with the learning materials? Do students feel seen and respected (in both the materials and the learning environment itself)? Plan, Build, Teach: A Guide to Teaching, Learning and Assessment, created by Wilfrid Laurier University educational developers, presents a few more examples of questions to ask.

Next, consider the ways in which you can gather feedback from students – from creating a feedback form at the back of your OER to offering office hours to have virtual or in-person conversations or providing space in assessments to provide feedback. Also think of ways to embed feedback into your resource as it’s received. Maybe this means reviewing feedback after a course is complete, or once a year to look at feedback and consider possible changes.

Pause & Reflect on Intentional Feedback
  • Think back to a time when you received feedback. What did it feel like? Why?
  • What constitutes constructive feedback?
  • How often do you ask for feedback from students? Not just about the course itself, but your teaching style?
  • What does being intentional about course material mean to you?
  • What are ways that you can show care in your OER design, as well as the classroom?

Action Plan: Solicit Feedback

Create a feedback form for the back matter of your OER. Feedback forms can be as simple or as detailed as you’d like. Below are some examples that you can use as reference:

Find an editable worksheet here.


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Making Ripples: A Guidebook to Challenge Status Quo in OER Creation Copyright © 2023 by Rebus Community (Kaitlin Schilling, Apurva Ashok, Jördis Weilandt) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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