As a relatively new lecturer, I'm always looking for ways to improve my teaching. After doing a bit of research around how different lecturers etc approach student feedback, a number had stated that using anonymous feedback solicited during the semester can be really helpful.
So following on from that, I put on my learning site an anonymous feedback form for students that could let me know how they think the unit is going and what could be improved. The idea behind this was to get real-time feedback that could be implemented throughout the course, instead of for the following year. This portal is only accessible to students, and the comments are submitted to me and my TA privately.
I left this open since week 1, and perhaps that was my mistake. Despite barely being into week 2 (in which week 1 was just a basic introductory lecture to the course) one student has provided some anonymous feedback, which isn't feedback at all. Rather, it is just a string of abusive, sexist and foul language comments.
Due the alarming nature of the feedback, I approached a mentor/supervisor about what I should do. They were conflicted, because on the one hand, the nature of the comments were highly inappropriate, abusive, and raise concerns about the safety of my person in my teaching space. However, no specific threat at this time was made. On the other, having anonymous informal feedback throughout the unit is a good way of getting students to reflect on their own learning experiences without the fear of being reprimanded re assessments, and help me improve my teaching in the process.
I'm caught between continuing to allow anonymous informal feedback, or taking this option away and informing students of the reason. No other student has provided any feedback. Only myself and my teaching assistant have access to the feedback. Only students enrolled in the unit have access to the form.
How would you handle this situation?