I gave the students in my ENG 202.210 class a chance to offer some direct feedback to me today. We had a nice conversation, and there are some things that I hope to take away from the talk for application in later terms.
Written feedback (I had students fill out brief forms) let me know that I need to do two things, particularly. The first is to clarify the explanations I give of assignments, particularly as they appear on the website and as they pertain to the first assignment: the standard email with attached memorandum. As I noted during the class meeting, I am sketchy on the website so as to encourage class attendance, but, as I look back over what was submitted, perhaps I do need to tighten up what I offer there. One or two students commented that doing so during the classroom explanation of the assignment is also likely to help.
The second is to secure more student assignments as examples. I did note to the students the ethical (and sometimes legal) concerns involved in doing so, but I did accept their reasoning; they find it easier to understand the work of their peers than the examples I create and post. The students did note that they wanted mine to remain up, but that having the divergent perspective was illuminating. I can understand the position, and I will work in future terms to secure more student examples. I may also do a small bit in the few remaining days of this term, so as to get things going.
Oral feedback (I did say we had a nice conversation) more or less reflected what was in the written feedback. There were more complaints about other faculty in the spoken work than the written, though; I entertain it because students do have a right to air their grievances (particularly when I ask about what has gone poorly), although I do insist that they not use my colleagues' names. Professional courtesy requires it.
I expect that I will have more to say regarding feedback and my reflections on the term's work in the coming days and weeks. And I am going to be revising my syllabi extensively to reflect what I find in that feedback and what I continue to learn from my own ongoing reading and research.