Students offer feedback, suggestions through course evaluations

Course evaluations are now available to all Baylor students for the fall semester. Will Barksdale | Multimedia Journalist

By Julia Vergara | Staff Writer

The Baylor University Course Evaluations are open for the fall 2017 semester, giving students the opportunity to express their opinions and offer feedback on the classes they have spent the last few months in.

Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education and Institutional Effectiveness Dr. Wesley Null said students spend more time with the professors than anyone else, so it is important to know their experience.

“Students are tremendously important to the institution,” Null said. “Without students, we wouldn’t be here and they are the ones receiving the education and we want to make sure that they have a voice in the process.”

Students have three options to complete their course evaluations. They can log in to the Course Evaluations website, they can access them through their Canvas accounts or download the EvaluationKIT mobile app.

The course evaluations ask for feedback about the course and instructor in areas such as communication, attitude, preparation and organization, policy and evaluation as well as text and instructional material.

At the end of the survey, open-ended questions are available so students can further express opinions or suggestions on the course and the instructor.

Null also said the course evaluations are completely confidential and nothing submitted identifies the student.

“Students often have some of the very best ideas for improving courses,” Null said.

The evaluation’s “primary audience” is the faculty, who are always looking to consider ways to improve their courses, Null said. They receive students’ exact comments as well as aggregated data for entire classes based upon the questions that are answered and use them to revise their courses and think about improvements they would like to make.

Beyond that, department chairs and dean’s offices will also have access in order to better assist with the conversations they have with faculty about ideas for improving their courses, Null said.

Null said in addition to students’ evaluations, instructors also receive peer evaluations where faculty observe one another and have discussions to share feedback.

“They’re [students] not the only constituency that speaks into a professor’s coursework, but they are obviously one very important constituency,” Null said.

Research and Planning Associate Melinda Dunn said the Institutional Research and Testing (IRT) office administers the survey.

Dunn sends out the course evaluation emails which include links to each students’ individual course surveys.

Students will stop receiving the email reminders once they have completed all of their course evaluations, Dunn said.

“If you don’t want to receive any more reminders emails to complete the evaluations, it’s really easy—All you have to do is complete them,” Null said.

Dunn’s email also said that students who complete all of their course evaluations will be entered into a drawing for one of 50 Amazon gift cards for $25.

Baylor has had a 60 to 70 percent response rate in course evaluations for the last four or five years which is a lot better than many institutions, Null said. However, he wants to encourage even more students to take advantage of these surveys so that Baylor can have an 80 to 90 percent response rate.

“They [students] should do this just because they want to help Baylor continue to be the powerful teaching institution that it is,” Null said. “Feedback matters to our instructors. Don’t ignore the reminder emails as they come. Click on that button, they won’t take you long to complete.”

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