Student “evals” help to improve classroom experiences and teaching strategies
Fewer students are doing course evaluations than ever before, but the course evaluations that are completed have never been better.
Four years ago, it was required that 70 percent of students in each class complete student evaluations. At that time, the evaluations were completed on paper. However, the classes didn’t always have the necessary number of students attend class to complete the evaluations which caused a shift to the current online evaluation system.
After switching methods, the participation decreased to under 50 percent, according to Barbara Klett, who works in the Academic Computing Support for COCC.
However, even though the number of completed evaluations has significantly dropped, the quality of those completed is high. This is due in part because students are putting more written input and critique into their evaluations, according to Klett.
“We are grateful [students] fill out evaluations,” Klett said. “I love knowing the students and hearing their concerns.”
Increasing the number of course evaluations completed is a critical next step, according to Klett.
Each term, Klett compiles the results of student course evaluations and then instructional deans evaluate how individuals professors can improve or affirm current teaching methods. Professors aren’t the only ones who read course evaluations. Department chairs, deans and even the vice president of administration have the opportunity to review student course feedback.
Personal impact on professors
COCC communication professor, Jon Bouknight believes course evaluations help him recognize areas of personal improvement.
“I like to see areas I can improve in my comments,” Bouknight said.
Bouknight said his student evaluations have changed his personal views and lead to higher quantities of personal interaction with students. To encourage student participation in the evaluations, Bouknight shows his previous terms student evaluations to his classes.
Though they are an important piece, course evaluations aren’t the only factor considered in instructor performance evaluations, according to Bouknight. Other factors considered include peer evaluations, correspondence, and consistency.
Karl Dinkel | The Broadside