Five Questions for Midterm Season

notebookDepending on when your fall academic term started, you’re either in the middle of midterm season or just barely recovering from it. Students are a bit more tired, perhaps a bit less enthusiastic than they were six weeks ago; the sniffles, coughs, and sneezes of fall have descended upon the university; and faculty committee work, grant deadlines, and academic conferences all seem to coincide in late October and early November. Plus, of course, there’s grading.

Here at ProfHacker, we’ve written before about planning your courses at the beginning of the term and about reflecting on your courses at the semester’s close. But if you can spare 15 minutes now, while you’re in the thick of the semester, to jot down some ideas about how things are going in your courses, you’ll have valuable insight when planning the course for the next time. When you’re filled with pre-semester enthusiasm or tired from grading finals, it’s easy to lose sight of how things were going in the middle of the semester.

So pour a cup of coffee, sit down for just a few minutes, and capture some quick responses to these questions. File away your answers someplace where you’ll remember to look at them next time you plan the course.

  1. What reading or assignment was most successful so far this semester? Why?
  2. Which unit, lecture, or topic did you really enjoy teaching this term? Which one did you least enjoy? How might you use those insights to rearrange or revise the course contents next time?
  3. What has surprised you the most this term?
  4. What do you hope your students are taking away from the course this term?
  5. What one piece of advice do you want to offer yourself for the next time you teach this course?

What other questions would you include in your own midterm reflection? let us know in the comments!

[Creative Commons licensed image by flickr user neil conway]

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