This post is about data. Not the data you might collect in a study, but important data to help you make decisions about teaching. (exciting, I know)

A surprising component of our brains is the ability to filter and synthesize massive amounts of data at every waking moment. In order to do this we set most of this work to “auto-complete” and magically get our answers to questions. It’s like driving somewhere and realizing your brain has already mapped it all out and gone on autopilot. Like a little black box between your ears.

But as we all know, and much like the auto-correct on your phone, these don’t always give you the best answer. It’s an easy answer… that has been filtered by all your internal biases, skewing results.

So let’s get out of our bias-stuffed heads and take a scientific approach.

Data collection

Ask anyone at Cascades about the importance of SET scores and you will hear a diatribe about poor metrics, popularity contests, and terrible response rates. But here is a great way around most of these:

Keep, Start, Stop.

I learned about this technique last year and it has helped me immensely. It isn’t time consuming, gives feedback before the course is over, and gives you good data to help your class.

Once you have some assignments completed in your class (probably around this time in the term). Offer up an anonymous Canvas quiz and ask some version of the following questions:

“Is there anything that I am doing that is particularly helpful to your learning, that I should KEEP doing?

“Is there anything that I am NOT doing that I should START doing to facilitate your learning or progress in this class?

“Is there anything I am doing that is not helpful to your learning, that I should STOP doing?”

I often get candid responses that I almost never see in SETs. This also gives me the chance to adjust the course to the current students, and also hear all the normal complaints about having too detailed/not detailed enough slides, having too many quizzes/not enough quizzes, and telling too many jokes/not enough jokes.

Hopefully, using Keep, Start, Stop can give you some much needed data about your specific classes and students.

And of course, head over to the Center for Teaching and Learning website for more tools.

-Tim Burnett, Kinesiology

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