Tuesday, December 4, 2012

2012 National Survey discussion - Week #2

Today’s Question

From the National Survey: A Deputy Chief Academic Officer asks: “How do academic health science centers with widely diverse professional and undergraduate programs gain meaningful evaluation reports of faculty and courses, often which utilize 10-20 faculty to teach each course?

One practice that has had success involved frequent (weekly) evaluations with a small common core of items, displaying a picture of each instructor, and average ratings of each item listed in a table for comparison.  That is, students visited the same URL each week, typed in a unique code, and the names and pictures of the participating faculty for that week were shown.  Seven instructor-related items and one comment box (of "best/worst" variety) were submitted by students.  Instructors that taught multiple weeks were evaluated each week.  Chairs and Deans viewed at-a-glance web display of mean ratings for each item and instructor, chronologically and alphabetically, and could click on "comments" icon for verbatims.  This helped them determine, while course was still in session, which instructors were particularly effective or ineffective, based on student perceptions, with comments helping to interpret those ratings.  Most important to decision makers was whether individual instructors receiving lower ratings in early exposure to students then received higher ratings near end of the term (i.e., were instructors using student feedback to address barriers to understanding).  Results were shared with instructors each week and conversations about the feedback were held between instructors and their Chair.

This approach may be useful for other programs.  What methods and processes has your institution put in place to address this question?

Today’s Concern

From the National Survey: A respondent writes: Students are inundated with surveys and program evaluations. Students, especially in engineering and science, have near-overwhelming workloads. Requests to complete surveys are not welcome.”  Another wrote: "My main concern is evaluation fatigue for the students and how to keep them interested in completing the surveys." Other respondents wrote of similar concerns.

What do you do in your department, school, or institution to address this issue?  Combine surveys for several purposes into one instrument?  Coordinate among programs so as to spread out the delivery of surveys?  Illustrate to students how feedback is used to encourage their participation? Please share your answers this week.