student evaluations of instructors
RateMyProfessors.com needs no introduction to most instructors. The problems with the site are equally well known. There’s no guarantee that the students who select to evaluate and post the comments are a representative sample—and no guarantee that the assessments themselves are representative.
Online Course Quality Assurance: Using Evaluations and Surveys to Improve Online Teaching and Learning
In order to improve online programs, courses, and instruction, you have to first determine your goals, select metrics that will tell you what we want to know, analyze these metrics for clues about needed changes, and then make those changes. It may sound simple, but it isn’t.
If evaluation sounds good in theory but feels bad in practice, it may be that you or others are operating under some common misconceptions.
Unless they have a real problem with how the course was run, most students fill out end-of-course evaluations so quickly there’s often very little valuable information in them. Here are two ways that Wayne Hall, psychology professor at San Jacinto College in Texas, elicits helpful feedback on his courses:
I am just about to retire from Penn State and leave my faculty position teaching undergraduates. I’ll still be working; there’s this newsletter to edit and a world of faculty who still need advice, ideas, and encouragement to do their very best in the classroom. But you don’t end 33 years of college teaching without thinking about those things that will and won’t be missed on campus.
In yesterday’s post, it was argued that perhaps student evaluations were not, in Martha Stewart’s famous phrase, “a good thing,” given doubts about the qualifications of students to judge instructors, questionable validity of the evaluation instrument, threats to academic freedom, and misuse by administrators. Every college instructor subjected to student evaluation, myself included, has probably
These student evaluations are so much a part of our system and have become so routine for our students and faculty that I have seldom questioned their value or necessity. But are they really (as Martha Stewart might say) “a good thing?” […]