Course evaluations to be offered soon

Responses help professors improve courses

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Course evaluations can provide information to the instructor and to students thinking about taking the class in the future.

Lauren Hornsby | Cavalier Daily

Course evaluations for spring 2016 classes will be posted on the U.Va. Collab soon.

According to the University’s Information Technology Service website, course evaluations are the online evaluation system used for all courses except those in the three professional schools. Anyone designated as an instructor for a course in SIS is included for evaluation of the course.

Trisha Gordon, director of U.Va. Collab, said there are always seven provost questions within every course evaluation survey across classes and schools.

“Some time around the middle of every semester an email is sent out to department [administrators], like chairs and so forth, to ask if they want to include questions for their courses,” Gordon said. “Then a little after that, the instructors are invited to included their own questions if they would like.”

Gordon said course evaluations can have multiple purposes. Professors can use student responses to improve their courses based on the feedback they receive from them. In addition, department chairs can utilize course evaluations to determine if contracts for non-tenured faculty will be renewed for another term.

Some students view course evaluations as having good intentions, but find them to be tedious.

“I know they’re for a good cause but it is pretty tedious and I don’t know if they even make that much of a difference for professors,” second-year College student Rebekah Lee said.

First-year Engineering student Kristi Kim said while she does not know if course evaluations improve classes, she knows to avoid the classes that have bad reviews.

“Course reviews are essential but I can't see whether or not it's improving a course,” Kim said.

Course evaluations also serve the Course Selection Guide. The guide was created in response to Student Council’s lobbying for a course evaluation system that would give students access to the data in order to make registration decisions. The CSG provides evaluation data on courses taught in semesters prior, no matter who the previous instructor was.

“The CSG is actually available through SIS, and the way it works is if that the course is evaluated and meets minimum threshold for responses, then it will be included in CSG and students can look at evaluation of that course,” Gordon said.

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