Alex Kurland, Staff Illustrator

As the end of the semester approaches, students are asked to complete course evaluations, which allows them to voice their opinions on things like professor rapport and class format.

This semester, the University Registrar offered students the ability to see their grades as soon as they are entered into Blackboard, beginning Dec. 12 — if all evaluations are submitted, that is.

For students who have not completed their evaluations by Dec. 12, grades will not be made available until Dec. 22, at the earliest. As always, the evaluations are not viewed by professors and teaching assistants until after the semester ends.

As of late, UR faculty and administrators have identified a growing student reluctance to complete these important course evaluations.

Senior Nate Brown is one such reluctant student.

“[Evaluations] do not make a huge difference, and professors do not really care too much if you do them,” he said.

In recent years, the number of students who completed evaluations dropped from 80 to 90 percent to 30 to 40 percent, according to the University of Rochester Course Evaluation Project.

Such a dramatic decrease demanded attention. In 2010, as a result of this overall student mentality, faculty and the administration began to look closer at the current system and its problems. The goal was to make the online system more accessible and easily navigable for students.

This semester, the introduction of the incentive of receiving grades early has prompted mixed feelings from UR undergraduates.

“For me, I would normally procrastinate something like a course evaluation,” freshman Susan Talbot said. “Being able to see my grades immediately online and being able to approach teachers if any discrepancies arise prior to returning home for break, I felt I should get [the evaluations] out of the way sooner than later.”

For junior Abhiniti Mittal, the new system had less of a dramatic effect.

“I have never done [evaluations] unless they’re mandatory, and the new system doesn’t really help me anyway because my finals don’t end until Dec. 21,” she said.

Although some students still remain unconvinced, others believe course evaluations are worthwhile.

Some students are skeptical whether their evaluations will be considered, but junior Maeve Willis continues to believe that evaluations have the potential to change aspects of a class.

“In my psychology class, my professor received evaluations saying that he spoke too quickly, and as a result he decided to post videos of his lectures online so students could look up anything they missed during class,” Willis said.

It is unclear as to whether this new incentive program will have an impact on the UR community. However, it is a sign that the faculty and administration are aware of a growing problem on campus.

Lerner is a member of
the class of 2016.



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