Center for Teaching, Learning and Technology
Illinois State University
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Midterm Chats

A Midterm Chat, more formally known as a “Small Group Instructional Diagnosis” (SGID), is a consensus-building process that enables instructors to gain insights into students' perceptions about the class and their learning.

Midterm chats must take place between the 5th and 10th week of the semester. For Spring 2017, that puts the window for Midterm Chats between the weeks of February 12 and March 5. This gives the instructor time to institute any changes s/he deems important as a result of insights gained through the process. Classroom Observations or Video (Ad)Vantage consultations are options for obtaining feedback during the other weeks of the semester.

Submitting a Midterm Chat Request

Chats are scheduled on a first come, first served basis. Submit a request for the Spring semester by February 9, 2017.

  • Process
  • Policies

The Midterm Chat is a four-part process that includes the following:

  1. Initial meeting
    At the initial meeting, we will ask you to tell us about the course, your students, and your teaching.
  2. Classroom Visit
    The chat may take anywhere from 20 - 45 minutes, depending on how long it takes to reach consensus among your students. During our meeting with your class(es), we will ask students to respond to standard questions:
    • What aspects of this course help you to learn?
    • What aspects of this course inhibit your learning?
    • What suggestions can you offer that would enhance your learning in this course?
    • What can you, as students, do to improve your learning in this course?
    Students will consider these questions individually, in groups, and finally, as the whole class, in order to reach consensus. By achieving consensus, you can feel more confident that feedback represents more than just the view of the outliers.
  3. Feedback Phase

    No later than one week after we talk to your students, we will meet again to review the results of the chat, discuss strategies for change, and answer your questions. We will provide you with a written summary of our conversation with your class for your records. We will also, of course, be happy to help you reflect on the feedback and plan an appropriate action phase.

  4. Action Phase

    For the best results, you will want to have a follow-up meeting with your students to discuss the feedback with your class.

    Research demonstrates that this meeting is crucial in improving student engagement, motivation, and learning in the class.

    A nice by-product is that this meeting CAN improve end-of-term instructor ratings as well.

  1. Voluntary
    Only instructors can request that Midterm Chats be conducted with their classes.
  2. Formative

    CTLT facilitators are not in the business of evaluating teaching. Facilitators are only in the business of gathering candid feedback from students.

    Once we have provided that information to the instructor, only the instructor decides how it will be used.

  3. Confidential

    Generally, information we gather as a result of the Midterm Chat process will not be shared with anyone else, at the university or beyond, without the instructor’s express consent. However, members of the CTLT staff may discuss an instructor's situation for professional development purposes, such as how to handle certain types of feedback or what recommendations can be made to support the instructor's teaching goals.

    We will provide a follow-up letter summarizing the results of our conversation with each class, and instructors are welcome to use those letters in any way they deem appropriate (as an addition to their teaching portfolio, as part of their annual ASPT report, etc.).

    We would be happy to send a copy of the letter to a dean, chair, mentor, or DFSC, but only at the written request of the instructor.

  4. Timely

    Midterm Chats are conducted between weeks 5-10 of the semester. By this time in the semester, students and instructors have generally settled into the routine of the class and some assignments have been completed and evaluated. On the other hand, it is still early enough in the semester for an instructor to make significant changes to the class when s/he feels that doing so will improve learning.

For more information, please contact the main CTLT number at (309) 438-2542 or email

2017-01-18T11:35:29.463-06:00 2017