What Do Your Professors Get from Their Course Evaluations? 

In my experience, students dread the end of the semesters. For obvious reasons really; there’re final grades, final projects, final exams, lots of studying, and lots of stress. Many students also dread the coming course evaluations, not just because you’re basically grading your professors, but many find it pointless and tedious. 

Before, students would fill them out in class, but it has since been moved online. If avoided long enough a student’s Blackboard account will refuse to let them in until they fill the survey out. Annoying right? They may be annoying for students to do, but they are beneficial for the professors.  

“Whatever you do in life, you should look at your activity and ask yourself ‘Am I doing a good job? Am I doing the best that I can?’ Instructor evaluations are one data point to help instructors answer those questions about their teaching effectiveness.” -Professor Clifton Jackson, Assistant Professor of IT, School of Business – Info Syst Mgmt 
“I think it is useful for students to have an institutionally sanctioned way to register their opinions. Teachers can receive useful feedback which they might not receive otherwise.” -Matthew Hokom, English Language and, English/English Ed. Program 

Although these evaluations go through channels in the institution before the professors receive the evaluations, they do receive them. Professor Jackson, Assistant Professor of IT, School of Business – Info Syst Mgmt told me “As I learn how to be a better instructor, I make adjustments to assignments and teaching methods and see how these are received by the students.”  

The evaluations help professors change the way they teach as times change along the years, learning how different students and generations learn. They ask themselves many questions like:  

  • Did the grades improve on similar assignments this semester compared to last? 
  • Did my students benefit from changes made this semester compared to last? 
  • Are my students learning what I want them to learn in this class? 
  • What can I change to make their experiences in this class better? 
  • How can I make this topic more interesting? 
  • How can I better convey what I’m teaching and make it easier to understand? 
  • What this semester was more challenging or too easy for my students? 

As students we tend to not think of this when we fill out these surveys at the end of the semester. Your responses show professors where they can improve in their instruction and where they’re doing just the right thing. Professor Matthew Hokom, English Language and English/English Ed. Program told me that, “They can cause me to add, drop, and modify assignments and classroom routines.”  

When asked “How would you feel if students asked you to fill out a similar form about your experience with them as your students in your classes?” The responses that mostly got was that professors give feedback throughout the semester on assignments, project, presentations, and testso in a way they already do 

Professor Clifton Jackson, Assistant Professor of IT, School of Business – Info Syst Mgmt said “That’s an interesting idea. I’ve had examples of the same class where one group of students made me love our interaction and the other was kind of boring...I’d like students to know that whether they have fun in a class, or not, is up to them – especially in a class with me.  Life is too short, let’s enjoy our time in the classroom together.”  

I got different answers when asked if the professors preferred the electronic or paper version. Students have the choice on both the paper and the electronic versions to write down comments on the professors and classes. Professor Matthew Hokom, English Language and English/English Ed. Program said, “The general written comments are the most useful to me.” Professors get a more personal touch from their students and extra feedback with these answers creating a more thorough response.  

 My final question for these professors was “Can you tell me about the most memorial course evaluation you’ve gotten thus far?” Professors seemed to not be able to remember specific ones 

Professor Clifton Jackson, Assistant Professor of IT, School of Business – Info Syst Mgmt said, “I don’t recall a memorable official evaluation. I can think of several conversations with classes and individual students that were helpful. In one class, a student told me that I needed to require students to do the practice exercises because they taught the basic skills needed on the case studies and he said most students skipped them and then struggled with the harder case studies. I thanked him for that and asked him ‘Why did you wait until the end of the semester to tell me that?’  He just smiled. I made the changes the very next semester.”