The semester is just not finished until you have completed course/teaching evaluations. Most students probably see them as a pesky task, but we can learn a lot about ourselves as faculty and our students from these evaluations. In this post, Stephanie Medley-Rath explains how gender bias influences the feedback on these evaluations.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year… Chrismakwanzika? No. It’s the end of the semester! During these last couple of weeks of the semester, you have written papers, passed your exams, and completed course/teacher evaluations. Let’s talk about these evaluations.
When your professor brings out the evaluation forms, you probably think a a few things:
- The semester really is almost over!
- If my classmate, who is handing out the evaluation forms, moves a bit more quickly, I can get out of class early today!
- I can give my professor fair and constructive feedback on this course and their teaching abilities.
What? Fair and constructive feedback isn’t what you had in mind? That wasn’t on the top of my mind either when I was in your shoes.
Now that I am the one being evaluated, I think about course evals a bit more than I did as an undergraduate. Many (rightly) critique these evaluations because students might not be the best judges of quality teaching given that at times what is best for learning might not be something students particularly enjoy. Learning a subject involves being challenged, dealing with confusion, and suffering through failure along the way to developing mastery. Continue reading