During a semester, students who regularly attend class naturally form opinions about their professors. Whether it be that “Professor A” was the most amazing person you’ve ever met, or you can’t wait to get out of “Professor B’s” class, the forming of an opinion seems unavoidable. Now available to each student is the opportunity to voice their opinions about their instructors through online course evaluations.
On Nov. 30, students were sent an e-mail detailing the importance of these evaluations. The e-mail stated, “Student input helps us improve classes and instruction.”
Jonathan Stowers, a Humanities professor, said, “Most faculty are constantly striving to improve their courses, and evaluations, especially the written comments, are very useful.”
Directions were also given in the e-mail about how to access the evaluations. The email instructs students to first go to their MyPage, click on the student tab, then click on the course evaluation channel.
Once there, the first section of the questionnaire provides a variety of questions for students to evaluate his or her instructor, as well as the material that was presented throughout the semester in four different areas.
The first is instructional delivery. In this section, students have the opportunity to express how effective he or she felt the instructor was in presenting the course material.
The next set of questions is called “instructional design,” the questions look at how well the instructor stayed focused on course material. So for all those instructors that seem to go on pointless tangents, this is the time to let them know.
Third is course management. Students must examine how effective the teacher was in creating a positive learning environment.
Last is learning outcomes, students may express whether or not a teacher made clear what students were getting themselves into on the first day of class.
Each of the questions are multiple choice, a selection between “always, sometimes, or never.”
Perhaps the most beneficial part of the evaluation asks students to identify strengths and weaknesses they saw in their professors. Unlike the first section, which is a “multiple choice” format, this section is open-ended and allows students to say whatever they feel about their instructor.
So, if a student had a bone to pick with a teacher and doesn’t want students in the future to have to deal with it, or if a students has great praise for a teacher, this is the place to express that.
The last portion of the evaluation can be very helpful for students to match their learning styles with certain professors. The questionnaire asks how frequently certain teaching methods are used, such as lecture, tests and quizzes, videos, discussions, and so forth. Future students will have access to this portion of the evaluations so that they can find teachers that they think will help them be successful.
For example, if a student likes taking a test rather than writing an essay for assessment, he or she will be able to research that based on the answers given by students in these evaluations.
Essentially, the more students that fill out these surveys honestly and accurately, the more real a picture future students will be able to get about an instructor.
The deadline for submitting the evaluations is Dec. 12, so if students want opinions to be known, this week is the chance to make that happen.