Part 9: Spring 2019 Labs

180 Building Feedback into Your Course – 05.14.2019

How do you know if students are keeping pace? How do the students know? At the May 14, 2019 Teaching Effectively in Canvas session, six attendees kicked off summer by digging into options in Canvas for getting and giving student feedback. Participants discussed good practices in using feedback to save time and improve student success.


  • To build feedback into your course, consider how it fosters student agency, student belonging, and students’ feelings that the instructor cares about their learning and success.
  • Promote self-generated utility value. Research from Canning & Harackiewicz (2015) suggests that prompting students to discover for themselves why and how a topic might be useful (self-generated utility value) has positive effects on their learning.
  • Prompt students to find context for the what, why, and so what of their learning. To promote student investment, help them identify how their efforts today play into the big picture of what they want to accomplish and where they want to be.
  • Let students grapple with real-world problems. A useful framework for activity development is Papert’s (1991) Constructionism, which promotes creating tangible solutions to interesting problems.
  • Gauge student buy-in and participation with analytics. To see analytics such as which Pages have been viewed for an individual student in Canvas, check the access report in their profile under the People tab.
  • Gather qualitative and quantitative feedback through Canvas surveys, peer feedback, and muddiest point activities.
  • Communicate evidence-based messages for student empowerment: that intelligence is malleable (Paunesku et al., 2015 and Broda et al., 2018), students are worthy of being here (Miyake et al., 2010 and Cohen et al., 2009), people like them are successful here (Lockwood, 2006), and they belong in the group (Walton et al., 2012 and Walton & Cohen, 2011).
  • Provide thoughtful yet efficient feedback through Canvas Quiz feedback, Speedgrader, peer review, or audio commentary.
  • Use student input to shape the course throughout the semester.

For more information on building feedback into your course, visit the session’s activity sheet.


Teaching Effectively in Canvas is a Faculty Engagement program designed to highlight experiences of UW-Madison instructors in the Canvas learning environment and to dig into solutions to challenges faced. In these responsive sessions, participants put forth questions and needs they’d like to see addressed, hear practical ways that other instructors use Canvas, connect teaching practices to evidence-based learning research, and learn how to access and apply resources that can guide them beyond the session.

Canvas topics are also regularly address throughout the semester in Active Teaching Labs. Sign up for regular Active Teaching Lab announcements by sending an email to


Active Teaching Lab eJournal Copyright © 2016 by DoIT Academic Technology and the UW-Madison Teaching Academy; Jennifer Hornbaker; John Martin; Julie Johnson; Karin Spader; Margaret Merrill; Margaret Murphy; and Jeffrey Thomas. All Rights Reserved.

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