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A Survey to Assess Student Needs in Your Course

Posted by on Friday, August 20, 2021 in News.

As we near the beginning of a new semester, many of us are thinking about how we can make space in our classrooms to learn about our students’ needs. In higher education, the question of how we can support students coming back to campus after mostly online experiences is a hot topic in almost every higher ed news outlet and social media site. There is no shortage of discussion about the challenges that we are facing this fall and resources for how we might approach them.

The Vanderbilt Center for Teaching also has resources can help. One of the simplest steps faculty can take to start the semester on the right foot is by asking students what they need to succeed in that course. On the Course Development Resources (CDR) site, we have a resource called Assessing Student Needs in Your Course” written by Heather Fedesco, Amanda Brockman, and Emilie Hall. Originally written for online and hybrid courses, the principles and models the authors provide for instructors are applicable to any course that uses technology at any level.

If you need help setting up a survey in your Brightspace course, we have some guides on that topic and the Brightspace team is also happy to help! Email to ask a question or request a one-on-one consult with an instructional technologist.

As we prepare for this semester, I hope these resources help us all create space for students to communicate privately and authentically with us about their needs, hopes, and challenges, and strengths.

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