Canvas: Distribute an Early Term Survey in Your Course

Using an early-term student survey is an effective way to make timely changes to your course. When instructors solicit feedback from students and make pedagogical adjustments, students report improvements in their learning as shown in higher student ratings of teaching at the end of the semester.

An Early Term Survey is built right into Canvas and can be distributed in a few simple steps. To be effective, early term feedback should be obtained between weeks 3 and 8 of a regular semester. You will also be able to add additional questions to the survey.

  • When you make the survey available, let students know why you are asking them for feedback and ask them to be specific in their responses.
  • Always set aside time to discuss the feedback with your students and let them know what you will continue to do, what you will stop doing, and what you will change during the remainder of the term. Discuss any requested changes that you cannot make. It is important that students see that their feedback matters.
  • Only you receive the results of the early term survey. It is a good idea to inform your students of this as well.

Learn more about the value of early term feedback at the Center for Educational Innovation.

In this article:

Importing an Early Term Survey into Your Course Site

  1. Go to Global Navigation and click the Commons link.
    Canvas Global Navigation menu; Commons button highlighted
  2. If prompted, authorize Commons to access your Canvas account.
    Canvas Commons authorize prompt
  3. Type umn survey in the search field.
    Canvas Commons search field
    A list of matching University of Minnesota resources appears.
  4. Select the Early Term Survey.
    Select Early Term Survey in Canvas Commons
    A preview of the survey appears.
  5. Click the Import/Download button.
    Early Term Survey Preview; Import/Download button highlighted
    The Import/Download window opens.
  6. Search for the course(s) into which you would like to import the resource, or select the course(s) from the list. 
    Import/Download window; search field; several courses selected from those showing; Import into Course button highlighted
  7. Click the Import into Course button. An import status notification appears at the top of your screen. 
    Notification text: "You have successfully started the import! It may take a little while to see changes in your course.
    • Note: It may take a while to see changes in your course. 
  8. Navigate to your course and view the imported survey in your Quizzes course navigation.
  9. (Optional) Modify the survey (on this page).
  10. Click the Publish icon to publish the survey. 

Modifying the Survey (Optional)

  1. Select Edit from the vertical ellipsis to the right of the survey title.
    Veritcal ellipses dropdown menu; Edit command highlighted
  2. Select the Questions tab.
  3. Click + New Question to add more questions.
    Questions tab displaying quiz questions; +New Question button highlighted
  4. Click Save & Publish.

Student View

Regardless of how your students navigate to the survey, they will be presented with the instructions and a Take the Survey button.
Early Term Survey instructions with Take the Survey button

Once they click Take the Survey, the questions and a Submit Quiz button will be available to them.
Early Term Survey Quiz interface