Kennesaw State University

Small Group Instructional Diagnosis

A description of the general SGID process

  • The instructor and facilitator/s meet to review the SGID process, individualize the questions, and schedule a mutually convenient time to conduct the SGID,  which requires approximately 30 minutes.
  • On the day of the SGID, the instructor introduces the facilitator to the class and explains the purpose of the process. The instructor leaves the room.
  • The facilitator/s then divide the students into small groups of 3 - 4, gives them a handout that include the questions (with space for concrete examples).  There is usually a question about what the students think is working in the course and a question about what they would like to see change.
  • Students in each group must come to a consensus about what they like or do not like about a course and the suggestions for improving it.
  • After students have completed their lists, the facilitator leads a whole group discussion, inviting the students to share their group lists.  
  • The facilitator develops consensus among groups about the most and least effective elements of the course, noting outliers or additional information that arises.
  • After the session (within a week or two), the facilitator meets with the instructor to report the results of the SGID.
  • The instructor reports back to the class, explaining how the students’ feedback informs the course design, activities, or assignments in that course or future courses. This step is one of the most important in the SGID process, since it demonstrates the instructor's commitment to improving teaching and learning and respect for the students' feedback.                                                            

Benefits of the SGID process

  • Consultation between the facilitator and instructor leads to improved instruction. 
  • Student participation allows students to compare views.
  • Students can provide constructive suggestions.
  • Faculty and student communication improves.
  • Extremely divergent student views may be reconsidered or moderated.
  • This information is cited from J. H. Herman's and M. Langridge's Chapter 15 in To Improve the Academy Volume 31, "Using Small Group Individual Diagnoses to Improve Online Instruction,"  pp. 230 - 231. Also from McKeachie's Teaching Tips: Strategies, Research, and Theory for College and University Teachers, Fourteenth Edition, pp. 334-335.