Forward FOCUS (Feedback On Course Understanding and Skills) is an end-of-course confidential survey designed to give an instructor concrete and actionable student feedback to aid in fine-tuning courses for optimal student learning and engagement.
Developed by the UMass Center for Teaching & Learning, Forward FOCUS is:
- Forward-looking: Which aspects of the course should remain whether the course is taught face-to-face or online?
- Focused on student understanding and opportunity for skill development: What were the most valuable things that students learned in your course?
- Actionable: Which course activities were most valuable for students this semester? What changes would improve their learning experience?
- Modifiable: You can add, delete, or modify questions to fit your course.
Forward FOCUS is available to distribute to your students through Moodle and Blackboard.
Administer FOCUS in your course
We have developed the Forward FOCUS for use in different learning management systems at UMass. Choose which option works best for you:
- MOODLE guide to importing and implementing Forward FOCUS and video demonstrating the import process (Moodle users only)
- BLACKBOARD guide to importing and implementing Forward FOCUS
- Google Forms version of the Forward FOCUS [will prompt you to make a copy to your Google Drive. You must be logged into your UMass Google account].
For those wishing to use a different survey platform to administer the Forward FOCUS, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more options. For your reference, you can download a PDF of the Forward FOCUS survey questions.
Departmental Administration Information
For departments that have chosen the Forward FOCUS as their department course evaluation instead of SRTI
- Overview of departmental guidelines and faculty directions for implementation
- To access Spring 2021 (and prior) Forward FOCUS responses on Moodle, instructors must visit the Legacy Moodle site (https://moodle.umass.edu/). They can follow these Moodle instructions to download responses. Instructions to download responses in Blackboard can be found here.
Learn More about FOCUS
- Frequently Asked Questions about the Forward FOCUS
- Guidelines for implementing, modifying, and encouraging students to respond
- Compare SRTI to the Forward FOCUS [PDF]
- Tips for interpreting student responses to improve your course going forward
Forward FOCUS in the News
- UMass Advance leadership team members Ethel L. Mickey, Dessie Clark, and Joya Misra wrote an article for Inside Higher Ed in which the CTL’s Forward FOCUS was mentioned as one way that UMass responded to the COVID-19 pandemic to support faculty equitably.
- The Forward FOCUS, in conjunction with the voluntary SRTI developed by the OAPA, was one of 5 finalists for the 2020 Innovation Award by the Professional and Organizational Development (POD) Network in Higher Education.