Want to Improve the Learning Experience for You and Your Students?
What is a SGIF?
A Small Group Instructional Feedback session is a formative mid-course check-in process for gathering information from students about their learning experience in a course. The process is anonymous and designed to foster personal reflection and constructive communication between students, their classmates, and the instructor so that learning objectives and outcomes can be met successfully.
Research has shown that SGIFs can produce many benefits for instructors and students, including:
- Increased constructive communication between students, their classmates and the instructor with respect to their contributions to the teaching and learning process;
- Concrete suggestions for instructors and students that can improve the teaching and learning experience;
- Increased student motivation, since students see the instructor’s interest in teaching and understand they share responsibility for the outcome of the course;
- Raised awareness of student concerns in a low risk setting, with time to implement changes before Student Evaluations of Teaching Effectiveness (SETEs) are administered.
What to Expect
The SGIF engagement is collegial, efficient and focused on positive outcomes. Here are the steps:
- Instructor meets with the facilitator, a CEETL Faculty Fellow or Consultant, to confirm schedule and areas of interest;
- The instructor introduces the facilitator and leaves the room. The facilitator conducts the SGIF during 20 minutes of class time and a recorder captures the responses;
- Individually, in groups, and as a class students are guided to answer these questions: “What specific changes could the instructor, my classmates, and I make to help me learn in this course?” and "What about this course has been most helpful to my learning?"
- Facilitator summarizes and shares the feedback with the instructor and they discuss teaching strategies;
- Instructor reports proposed changes back to the class at the next session.
Request a SGIF
The SGIF Season is generally between the 5th and 10th week of the semester. It is recommended that you schedule your SGIF early and include its date and time in your syllabus. Even if you haven’t scheduled it yet, it would be a good idea to include it in your syllabus and emphasize the importance of mid-term feedback to your students.
Instructors may request a SGIF by completing this SGIF request form. Please provide us with at least two weeks’ advance notice and we will make every effort to accommodate your request, based on scheduling availability.
- In the pre-consultation, the instructor and facilitator confirm the date and time for the SGIF and follow-up consultation and identify key areas of interest to explore.
- During the SGIF, the instructor introduces the facilitator and then leaves the class for a period of 30 minutes. The facilitator engages the class in individual, group, and collective feedback activities that address these questions: What am I, my classmates, and the instructor doing that help my learning? What could I, my classmates, and the instructor do to improve my learning? The facilitator asks the class to prioritize their responses and express their level of agreement on the collective responses, which are recorded.
- In the post-consultation, the facilitator and instructor meet to discuss the results and develop strategies to continue with the current practices that are working well, and make concrete changes to those practices that are not as beneficial. At the next class session, the instructor follows up with the class for 5-10 minutes to thank them for their feedback and share any changes they can expect.
- University of British Columbia (SGIF): The Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology
- Georgia State University (SGID): Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning
- Vanderbilt (SMA): Center for Teaching
- Ohio State University (SGID): University Center for the Advancement of Teaching
- Rensselaer (GIFT): Institutional Research and Assessment
For more information about SGIFs and their educational benefits, you may consult these references:
- Clark, J. & Redmond, M. (1979). Small Group Instructional Diagnosis: Final Report. Washington University, Seattle.
- Crow, R., McGinty, D., LeBaron, J. (2008). The Online Small Group Analysis (OSAG): Adapting a Tested Formative Assessment Technique for Online Teaching. MountainRise, the International Journal of Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, Summer (1-19).
- Diamond, M. R. (2004). The usefulness of structured mid-term feedback as a catalyst for change in higher education classes. Active Learning in Higher Education, 5(3), 217-231.
- Hurney, C. A., Harris, N. L., Bates Prins, S. C., & Kruck, S. E. (2014). The impact of a learner-centered, mid-semester course evaluation on students. Journal of Faculty Development, 28(3), 55.
- Maurer, D. (2016). Small group instructional feedback: A student perspective of its impact on the teaching and learning environment (Ed.D.). George Fox University.
- Millis, B. (1999). Three practical strategies for peer consultations. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, 79, 19-28.