"Using Interviews to Assess and Mentor Students" (pdf) suggests "adding five-minute student interviews to your teaching tool kit" as these "provide a unique setting and opportunity for you to teach students individually."
- "[I]nterviews enable [students] to receive immediate feedback, provide a unique setting to explain their work, and help them feel more responsible and accountable regarding the coursework."
A. Learning Experiences Interviews Support
- "Brief interviews can provide students an opportunity to demonstrate proficiency ... where mastery of specific skills is an integral requirement of the course."
- "Brief discussion regarding the student’s performance may follow, as appropriate."
- "[I]interviews can quickly identify what students have done, as well as what they know."
- "Interviews provide an opportunity for professors to compliment, assist, correct, address problems and opportunities, and demonstrate interest."
B. Practical Suggestions
1. Interview Early
- "[S]chedule interviews early in the semester ... to provide students with feedback earlier."
2. Clarify Expectations
- "Reduce the stress by removing ambiguity."
- "Explain the interview’s purpose."
- "Help students understand how to prepare for the interview and what to expect when it happens."
3. Be Flexible
- "[L]et students be who they are—with varied communication skills, enthusiasm, and dress."
- "[H]el[p] them learn to communicate comfortably with experts and those they perceive as authority figures."
4. Stay on Schedule
- "If you need more time, don’t run over—instead schedule a second interview."
- " Use a stopwatch or subtle timer to keep you on schedule."
- "Leave a few minutes between interviews, so you can pace yourself and be attentive to every student."
5. Maintain Focus
- "Eliminate distractions. Appropriately limit pleasantries and chit chat."
- "Maintain eye contact. Call students by name."
- "Ask engaging questions."
6. Keep Grading Simple
- "[C]reat[e] self-assessment rubrics for students to complete and submit prior to their interview."
- "Assess their performance during the interview."
- Or, "assign one of three grades: Pass (student was on time and prepared), Marginal (student was late and/or unprepared), and Fail (student did not schedule or did not attend their scheduled interview)."
C. Other Considerations
- "[I]nterviews are scheduled in advance, have stated objectives, and are generally more formal [than regular office-hour meetings]."
- "[I]mmediate face-to-face feedback [may] tak[e] less time than preparing written critiques of student work."
- "Problems and misunderstandings can ... be identified and resolved before they become larger ... provid[ing] an increased opportunity for on-the-spot tailoring and adjustments."