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ADVICE OR FEEDBACK?

Some of the best advice I’ve ever received has come from students. It’s nice to see that I am in good company since as compared to feedback the linked article supports the idea that in many contexts, asking for advice offers more bang for the buck than asking for feedback. It’s another sign of how misaligned incentives can really screw up the best intentions. In college, instructors and administrators have little incentive to ask for advice from students and share the information obtained. One explanation is that the extrinsic rewards for faculty and administrators from a public college with lots of tax-payer subsidies is not a recipe for innovation. But I’ve found as student after student, decade after decade, shares advice with me that my classroom experience with students has improved. As we struggle with allowing online versus in person classes for a commuting group of students with loads of responsibilities, maybe, we need the advice of our students that will help inform our assessments of what is gained and lost from online vs. in person. It can’t hurt to ask.

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