By completing their course evaluations at the end of the term, students are contributing to the success of future students, according to Sean Rule.
“The only reason student evaluations are important is because they make classes better for the next group,” Rule, a math professor at Central Oregon Community College, said. “The next group of students is going to benefit because I’m going to adjust my style of education based on what they’re saying.”
During fall term 2012, The Faculty Forum, Central Oregon Community College’s faculty union, organized a group of professors to update the course evaluations, according to Barbara Klett, COCC’s Instructional Technology Coordinator.
Rule was an instrumental member of the committee, according to Klett.
The goal of the committee was to revise the questions to make them more “quantifiable” and more “meaningful,” Rule said.
Hundreds of questions were scrutinized by the committee, who then narrowed it down to a series of ten questions.
“We uber-analyzed them,” Rule said. “It was a long process.”
The online course evaluation system was first implemented at COCC winter term 2011-2012. Before the online system came into place, the evaluations were completed and tallied by hand.
“Kids type more than they write,” Rule said. “Many of our faculty members forget that. We grew up writing everything. Our students don’t, they grow up typing.
With the online course evaluation system, evaluations can be completed from mobile devices, according to Rule.
“The accessibility is incredibly cool,” Rule said.
COCC saw a 48 percent return-rate across the institution spring term 2012, according to Klett, which “blew away” the other institutions across the country.
Fall term 2012 COCC had a “35% participation rate across the entire credit courses,” Klett said. Which breaks down to, 6,757 students completing their course evaluations and 12,468 students not participating, according to Klett.
“A lot of students love their instructors and can’t wait to provide that feedback,” Klett said.
Course evaluations are completely anonymous, according to Klett.
“Some students aren’t comfortable enough to tell me to my face,” Rule said. “So an online anonymous evaluation is a perfect place to do that.”
The goal of course evaluations is to give students a chance to express what was beneficial to them and what could have used some improvement, according to Klett.
“If you can make the class more engaging,” Rule said. “They’re going to learn.”