Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Online Course Evaluation

The fall semester is coming to a close, which means students will be completing their end-of-the-semester course evaluations. Traditional course evaluations serve to inform instructors after teaching and learning activities are completed. The best instructors can do with such data is to make adjustments for upcoming courses. This process does little to inform instruction as it is happening.

Mechanisms to allow instructors to make adjustments to instruction in a timely manner are one way to gather feedback to improve teaching effectiveness and to ensure that students are being served in the course. However, next semester, you may want to consider accessing this feedback early in the course which allows instructors to make adjustments to benefit current students while they are in the course.

If instructors consider this type of assessment strategy, some authors suggest teaching three to four weeks will provide the students with a good representation of the teaching, the assessment, and the expectations. This typically results in more substantive comments.

  1. Remind students that this is only to improve teaching and make adjustments to improve learning.
  2. Express the need for candid and constructive comments.
  3. Encourage students to write comments.
  4. Let students know you will discuss the main points of the feedback with the class.
  5. Organize responses into categories such as strengths, weaknesses, plans for modification, etc.
  6. Create an action plan to address the most critical items.
  7. Discussing the feedback with the class is an important way to establish trust and credibility.
  8. Thank students for responding.
  9. Limit the discussion to 3-4 main points that you can control.


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