On Teaching Evaluations (with a bonus guest essay…)

3 thoughts on “On Teaching Evaluations (with a bonus guest essay…)”

  1. Hi Raghu, thanks for the post. A couple of thoughts:

    1) I actually think it would be even more meaningful (at least to the student) to do two evaluations. One immediately following the course which is stored in some archive, and then another at some later date like you suggest. In addition to improving the quality of responses, this would allow students to recall how they felt immediately following the course and reflect on how experience perhaps altered (or not) their evaluation of the course. This might even spur some meaningful conversations between peers. For teachers, this would allow for multiple opportunities for evaluation. It would also serve up data points one could analyze after the fact to try to determine the quality of short versus long term evaluations.

    2) I think students should have to pay an evaluation fee of say $50 when they enroll for the first time that is only returned to them when they successfully complete all of their student evaluations at the end of their tenure.

    3) Tell “Professor X” I say hi.

    Best,
    Fehmi

    1. Oh and one last thought: I know it will never happen and is super radical, but I think professors should get paid to take one course per year from one of their peers. They would interact with the class as a fellow student and partake in all of the activities, assignments, exams and be evaluated with a grade. This would be awesome for students (although one could argue it would also be difficult due to power differences) because they would feel more (or less) a part of the learning community. It would be even better for instructors, who would see first hand some of the common struggles of the class while evaluating the professor’s work. The downside being that you have to spend time taking a course you’ve probably already taken, which the majority of professors would profess (ha) as a waste of their time (although I would admittedly love the opportunity, I mean, we’re choosing to be in school forever, right?).

    2. I think the idea of two evaluations is a great one, for all the reasons you wrote!
      I’m not fond of the fee idea — it would incentivize quick, thoughtless responses just to get $50. I don’t know what a good incentive is, though. UO’s present scheme in which filling in evaluations allows a student to see his/her grades sooner sounds good, but I don’t know how effective it is compared to alternatives.

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