How to approach student evaluations
What areas should you ask students to evaluate your course on? The general answer is what areas do you want student feedback on? Is there a specific part of your course you want to know was effective for student learning? Did you add a new element to your course and want to know if it was useful for students? Was there a particularly difficult section of your course that you were unsure of student reaction towards?
The personalized section of the OSS survey allows you to dig deeper into specific parts of your course that are unique to your course and that you want to know more about. So we would suggest being as specific as possible in drafting your questions: e.g. NOT “Problem-set assignments were useful”, but “Problem-set assignments were useful in preparing me for my final exam.” The examples suggested below are derived from the UC Berkeley the Center for Teaching and Learning, while the questions on inclusion and equity come from the University of Arizona.
We suggest keeping the same scale as used in the OSS survey standard questions: Strong Agree to Strongly Disagree.
Open Ended Questions
We suggest that at least one of the open-ended questions relate to one of the scale questions. This gives students the opportunity to provide detailed context for their responses to the earlier scale questions. Try and frame these questions to encourage a positive pro-active response from students: e.g. NOT “What did you dislike about the lectures?”, but “What is one thing you would change about the learning activities in this course?”
Facilitating Inclusion and Equity
- The instructor encouraged the inclusion of diverse perspectives.
- The instructor treated all students fairly.
- The instructor was inclusive of diverse groups.
- The instructor saw cultural and personal differences as assets.
- The instructor accepted viewpoints other than their own as valid.
- The instructor was sensitive to issues of diversity encountered during the course.
Feedback on Assignments and Performance
- The instructor provided clear and meaningful feedback on assignments/projects/group work.
- The instructor provided helpful guidance on my progress/work.
- The instructor clearly articulated the standards of performance.
Encouraging Student Participation/Discussion
- The instructor engaged the class in productive discussions.
- The instructor guided the discussions well.
- The instructor encouraged student contributions.
- The instructor provided opportunities for class participation.
- The instructor encouraged critical engagement with the material.
- The instructor encouraged student questions and participation.
- The course assignments and lectures usefully complemented each other.
- The assigned readings helped me understand the course material.
- The course provided an appropriate balance between instruction and practice.
- The course instructions (including, manuals, handouts, etc.) were clear.
- The lab component complimented my understanding of the lectures.
- The instructor presented course material in a clear manner that facilitated understanding.
- The course workload and requirements were appropriate for the course level.
- The course learning activities (small group discussions, pair discussions, presentations, etc) facilitated my understanding of the lectures.
Skill Development & Application
- The course developed my ability to interact with diverse groups of people.
- The course provided guidance on how to become a competent professional.
- The course developed my ability to read and think critically.
- The course helped me improve my writing.
- The course developed my ability to provide constructive critiques to others.
- The course helped me make progress in my acquisition of the language.
- The course helped me understand ethical issues involved.
- The course developed my communication/presentation skills.
- The course developed my ability to apply theory to practice.
- The course provided the opportunity to practice the skills required in the course.
- The course allowed me to synthesize fundamental knowledge and skills.
- The course improved my problem-solving skills.
- The course developed my ability to think critically about the subject.
- How did the learning activities (small group discussions/pair discussions/presentations/lab/online Canvas discussion) contribute to your learning?
- What is one thing you would change about the learning activities (small group discussions/pair discussions/presentations/lab) in this course?
- How could the instructor better encourage discussions/participation/interactions?
- Which reading/video was the most valuable for your learning and why?
- Which assignments/learning activities were the most helpful for your learning and why?
- How successful was the instructor in creating an inclusive environment that was conducive to learning?
- What are one to three specific things about the course that aided your learning the most?
- What are one to three specific things about the instructor that especially supported your learning?
- Which topic was the most challenging for you to learn and why?
- Which part of the course was the most challenging for you to learn and why?