New feedback system being tested in 10 Fox courses

A new student feedback system that allows students to anonymously give their opinion about their classes during the semester is being tested in 10 classrooms at Fox School of Business.

Yorn, which stands for “yes or no” or, “your opinion right now,” is an interactive anonymous online platform that students can visit at any hour of the day with the exception of class time, unless the professor allows in-class feedback.

No application needs to be downloaded on any device in order to use Yorn. It can be accessed through computers, smartphones and tablets, like any other URL.

Professors make their own webpage through Yorn using the free basic version and provide it to their students. The students then visit the professor’s webpage, select their class section and provide anonymous feedback about homework, class lectures, exams or any other concerns. Users can click on the “live wall” to leave comments and respond to other users if they have provided their email address or other contact information.

Although the basic version is free, it is not guaranteed to be free of charge if the university implements the system in all classrooms.

Yorn has a privacy policy so users’ opinions and personal information cannot be shared or sold to a third party.

“We are studying whether or not anonymous feedback will be beneficial for students,” said senior finance and entrepreneurship major and intern at Yorn Ervis Meto. “So far, students really like it; however, professors need to engage in it and remind their students to use it. They can provide feedback anytime during the semester so bad teaching habits can change before the semester ends.”

Human resources professor Steven Pyser said using Yorn in classrooms is beneficial to both himself and his students.

“End-of-semester student reviews don’t always help faculty maximize and improve student learning week-to-week throughout the semester,” Pyser said. “I view Yorn as a strength-based tool. It provides me with important information about what is working in our learning community. If there is a gap or deficit, I need to know at once. Yorn also opens communication channels with all students not participating in class. This happens with students that may not like to speak publicly or international students with English as a second language.”

“I think it is a good idea to make it available to faculty because it provides useful feedback and encourages innovation in teaching. It supports recruitment, retention and student satisfaction,” Pyser added.

He said that he would like to see the university adopt the online platform in all of its classrooms.

The Philadelphia-based company is hoping that Temple follows in the footsteps of Drexel University and the University of Pennsylvania, which both use the online feedback platform during university conferences. It allows large audiences to provide honest opinions and ask questions during seminars.

At this time, the use of Yorn at Temple is in an experimental phase, and it is uncertain whether or not it will be adopted in all of the university’s classrooms.

Mary Smith can be reached at mary.eliza.smith@temple.edu. 

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