Student course evaluations offer valuable feedback to not only help instructors enhance future course content, but improve their own teaching methods as well. Academic head units, such as Directors, Deans, or Chairman may also consult feedback obtained from course evaluation surveys coupled with peer review evaluations, student test scores, and supervisor feedback as part of their promotion, merit increases, and tenure decisions.
A course evaluation survey enables students to have direct input into a myriad of aspects of a course, including content, classroom environment, and instruction teaching effectiveness. Over time, course evaluations can help professors design better courses and become better teachers.
Course evaluation questionnaires designed with survey software make it easy to gather insightful information to improve the quality of the learning experience of the student. The inclusion of open-ended sections provides students with the opportunity to tell instructors what to add or eliminate from a particular course.
Advantages of a web-based course evaluation survey
The use of a web-based survey tool by institutions of higher education for course evaluations offers many advantages. For starters, online survey software enables the instructor or institution administrative staff to design a course evaluation questionnaire that is individualized and tailor-made to suit the needs of the entity or specific course. An online evaluation survey can be more detailed than a paper version, using branching question technology to dig deeper into a student's thoughts and opinions.
Other advantages of an online evaluation survey include reduced cost compared to paper-based surveys, thanks to the lack of mailing, printing, and personnel needed.
There's also an increased student response rate with an online survey tool, which is due in part to the ease of reaching the targeted students desired to complete the online course evaluation survey. Lastly, the data can be validated quickly and results can be disseminated rapidly for course assessment, analysis, and improvement.
Early and Mid-Course Evaluation Surveys
While course evaluations are typically conducted at coursework completion, that's not the only time it is beneficial to conduct evaluations of a course. Early course evaluations are especially helpful to gauge how well a semester is going for students while there is still plenty of time to make course adjustments or teaching method tweaks. Many instructors prefer to administer early course evaluations around the third to fifth weeks during a semester. When conducted early on in the semester, students may become more invested in a course, and get more out of it.
In place of -- or in addition to -- early course evaluations, a mid course evaluation survey can still be an effective way to assess course progress and alter it while students have time to still benefit from the changes.
But regardless of when a course evaluation survey is administered -- beginning, middle, or upon completion, students appreciate knowing that the instructor and school faculty is interested in their opinion.
Course evaluations have been an established practice at many educational institutions, whether higher learning or not, and help students obtain a more positive overall learning experience.