One of a UR student’s most valuable resources when choosing a class is a course evaluation, which can be an excellent, objective complement to the course descriptions available online.
However, the results of the evaluations that are currently posted on the Registrar Web site are unclear and fail to capture a full range of opinions. Dean of the College Richard Feldman and the Office of the Registrar need to collaborate to make this resource a more transparent and accessible tool for the student body.
While having course evaluations exclusively online theoretically means they would be more convenient for students, it also limits the ways in which students can be held accountable for completing the assessments. Feldman and the Registrar did an admirable job in attempting to garner a high response rate by offering increased funding to the Collegiate Readership Program, but the result was still clear less students responded than when evaluations were completed in class.
This is not an area where thoroughness can be compromised in favor of convenience. Not only does a full sample of the class offer students more detailed information to pick future classes, but it also gives teachers more insight into their own strengths and weaknesses. If time is taken out of class to complete the surveys, this can be achieved.
Additionally, as a way to potentially make this method less tedious, students could be encouraged to bring laptops to class to take evaluations on their computer as a substitute to the paper form.
Currently, assessment results that are open to the public are presented only as numbers. There is no qualitative description of teachers’ abilities an aspect that can provide a great deal of insight into a teacher’s effectiveness. The Registrar needs to find a way to accommodate a comments section in its online presentation of results.
The goal of any course is to first and foremost benefit the student. This means that not only should professors be receiving the most complete evaluations of their work, but that students should also have access to the most accurate accounts available of what any course entails.