By McKenna Middleton | Page One Editor
At the end of every semester, Baylor students receive an email urging them to complete course evaluations. An evaluation for a single course takes about five minutes to complete and asks questions about the effectiveness of the instructor and the course itself.
Dr. Wesley Null, vice provost for undergraduate education, oversees the administration of the course evaluations.
“Course evaluation feedback is used by instructors as they consider making revisions to their courses,” Null said. “In addition, course evaluations are used as one of many factors, including peer evaluations, that are taken into consideration as faculty are evaluated each year.”
Course evaluations offer students the opportunity to anonymously provide feedback about the classes they have completed that semester. The survey allows students to respond to statements on a scale from “Strongly Agree” to “Strongly Disagree” and to open-ended questions by writing in an answer.
“Course evaluations are a key opportunity for students to provide feedback to their instructors, feedback that they otherwise might not have a chance to share,” Null said. “The university is very proud of the high-quality instruction that we offer and that course evaluations are an important feedback mechanism that demonstrates to students that their feedback matters.”
Students can access course evaluations through the emails they receive, which provides three options: the course evaluations page on the Baylor website, Canvas, and the EvaluationKIT application. The online surveys remain open for about a month; this semester they are open from Nov. 14 to Dec. 8.
“The information gained from course evaluations helps me decide how to prepare for classes efficiently and effectively,” Baylor Interdisciplinary Core professor Dr. Leslie Ballard said. “Glowing evaluations may make professors feel good, but friendly criticism helps professors to improve their courses to benefit their students. Good professors have thick skins. They listen to students and make improvements that give students value.”
According to Null, Baylor University has an average response rate of about 63-65%. Students who complete course evaluations for all of their classes will have a chance to win a $20 gift card to Amazon or the Baylor University Bookstore. Some professors also offer extra credit as an incentive for completed course evaluations.
“I wish more students would complete course evaluations,” Woodlands junior Austin Weynand said. “I know that completing evals seems retroactive since it won’t affect our experience, considering we will have completed the course already, but it could affect future classes. And as a university full of forward-thinking students, isn’t that a good enough reason on its own?”