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ach year we consult with faculty, TAs, departments and academic administrators on this campus to address issues of teaching, learning and faculty development.  Through such collaborations we continue to build and improve our programs and services.

Individual Teaching Consultations
The Midterm Assessment Program (MAP)
Departmental Teaching Consultations

Individual Teaching Consultation

The route to excellent teaching is highly individualized. For this reason the Center For Teaching (CFT) offers a customized, confidential process to enable instructors at the Amherst campus to study their own teaching as a means to improve student learning.

Together the consultant and instructor will determine goals, identify what is going well and what might merit attention, and develop strategies for making the needed changes.

Instructors choose from a highly-targeted, short-term consultation to address specific teaching goals, or a more comprehensive overall assessment. CFT consultants offer options such as classroom visits the midterm assessment process (MAP) (a collection of student feedback through questionnaires and small group feedback processes); student interviews; course materials review; as well as instructor self-assessment.

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The Midterm Assessment Program (MAP)

Request a MAP.

The Midterm Assessment Program (MAP) is an opportunity for instructors to get student feedback on a selected course while the course is in progress.

A MAP a is confidential and voluntary service. Unlike the mandatory evaluations all departments ask students to fill out at the end of the semester, MAPs are done earlier (around midterm) to allow the instructor to make meaningful changes during the course. Many instructors use the assessment as a way to begin a dialogue with students about course content and successful learning strategies and as a tool for examining their own assumptions about teaching and learning.

The MAP is one of the most widely requested services offered by the CFT, providing a unique opportunity to tap  into the perspectives of students early in the course. It allows the instructor to gauge how and what students are learning and to assess his or her teaching. It offers the time and attention of a CFT consultant who collects, synthesizes, and helps interpret student feedback, and identifies appropriate teaching suggestions and print or web-based resources. Unlike end-of-term evaluations, MAP feedback goes directly to, and only to, the instructor. 

Student Feedback

Student feedback has three general purposes:

  • To provide the instructor information about students' perceptions of the course and what helps them learn.
     

  • To obtain student responses to activities and materials of the course so that an instructor may make informed choices about course design.
     

  • To compare the instructor's ideas about the course and its teaching and learning objectives with those held by the students. 

MAP Options

The Center for Teaching offers two ways to obtain feedback. The first and most widely used is the Small Group Teaching and Learning Questionnaire where students work in small groups to answer questions. We recommend this version for small to medium-sized classes because it offers the best direct feedback from students. The other option is an Individual Teaching and Learning Questionnaire that each student fills out independently. This is often requested for large classes, but the instructor and the consultant will determine which option will be most useful. 
 

1. Small Group Teaching and Learning Questionnaire (20 minutes) 

The Small Group Teaching and Learning Feedback Questionnaire is typically composed of three open-ended questions (see below). However, the CFT consultant can work with the instructor to design one or two additional questions at the discretion of the instructor.   

The process: In groups of 3-5, students designate a recorder, discuss, and decide what their consensus views are in two categories:

"What do you like most about this course and/or the teaching of it?"

"What suggestions would you make to improve this course and/or the instructor's teaching of it? "

You also have the option of addding a third question on a specific element of the course.

After discussing these questions, the students are asked to indicate those items that are most important for the instructor to hear. 
 
2. Individual Teaching and Learning Questionnaire (15-20 minutes) 

This approach allows each student to offer his or her opinions by completing a 30-item questionnaire. The questionnaire contains 3 sections: Instructor, Course, and Overall. Students rate these items on a 5-point scale. Open-ended questions also encourage students to provide additional feedback.  

The questionnaire includes 30 items in 6 sections:

Scoring: Scoring is done by opscan computer. The results emerge as mathematical scores that are then interpreted in connection with what is known about the course and the teaching of it in terms of context, objectives, materials, etc. The qualitative data are also analyzed for frequent themes. 

A MAP requires modest effort, is easy to carry out, and uses little class time. Usually, an instructor requests a MAP early in the semester. A consultant from the CFT then meets with the instructor approximately one week prior to the MAP. In this brief meeting, they discuss the instructor's expectations for and early impressions of the course, select the most appropriate MAP option, and set a date and time for collecting feedback. Typically, the CFT conducts MAPs between weeks four and nine of the semester, and the process requires the first 20-30 minutes of a regularly scheduled class. The consultant then transcribes and analyzes the results and prepares recommendations for a follow-up consultation with the instructor, usually within a week of the MAP. 

Departmental Teaching Consultations

Each year the Center For Teaching (CFT) works with the departments, schools and colleges of the University on projects tailored to their specific needs.

Projects can address issues of classroom teaching, TA training and supervision, course and curriculum design, student differences, and other topics related to teaching and learning.

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