Universities and colleges use course evaluation surveys as a means to collect feedback which the school administrators and teachers use to evaluate the effectiveness of instruction. Instructors can understand how students feel about their teaching methods, while educational institutes can take measures to improve the quality of education.
Why must you conduct a course evaluation?
The reason for conducting a course evaluation is to enable study boards, lecturers, and the institution’s management with findings of the educational outcomes. Course evaluation helps to enhance the teaching experience continuously and guarantees students the best learning environment. Course evaluations are run by universities to maintain the top quality of courses while creating a firm basis for future improvement. The university emphasizes a lot on course evaluations as a method of ensuring optimal conditions for lecturer engagement and student learning.
- It helps students: Students are allowed to voice their concerns and share their perspectives over time. Feedback received from them is used to impact the teaching methods positively.
- It helps professors: It helps professors gauge what’s working and what’s not, and use this information to make changes, refine, and restructure courses to make it more effective.
- It helps future students: The inputs gathered from students, when implemented, improves the courses for prospective students. Universities run surveys regularly to enhance the effectiveness of their courses year-on-year.
Three amazing course evaluation surveys that real universities use
Universities and colleges must survey their students and collect their feedback about the courses offered to ensure the best learning experience for them. Surveys are the best tool you can use to gather direct opinions from students. Keeping these surveys anonymous will increase the chances of collecting honest feedback.
Let’s look at three amazing types of course evaluation surveys used by real universities:
- Instructional experience survey
- Course material survey
- Course structure survey
1. Forrest College – South Carolina
Instructional experience survey
Instructional experience surveys are the most used surveys that aim to capture the student’s experience of the instructor. These surveys aim to obtain student feedback about the instructor’s knowledge, his/her teaching approach, their style, clarity of explaining topics, teaching material, and many other parameters.
Instructors use this feedback to understand areas they can improve the quality of the course while understanding what teaching methods are the most effective.
The objective of the evaluation survey is to provide data for development and improvement and support the university management in evaluating instructor effectiveness.
The survey above is a classic example of a ‘complete’ instructor evaluation survey, where the professor is studied thoroughly. The survey asks direct questions, as well as indirect questions, with the instructor always at the pivot. This survey captures everything from the instructor’s knowledge of concepts, course material, enthusiasm, to subject awareness, and grading system to give the instructor and the educational institute a complete picture of the instructor’s skills and performance.
2. The University of Oregon
Course material evaluation survey
Another essential survey you must run is the course material evaluation survey. It is not simple for teachers and universities to design a course that’s 100% perfect and accurate. The course material must also change with the changing times, to be most beneficial to students, and it has to be tailored to the current needs. Run a survey to understand the course material satisfaction levels of students.
Institutions run course material surveys to find out the following:
- How much the students spend on textbooks?
- What digital learning aids do students find beneficial?
- Were audio/video learning sessions effective?
- The engagement levels of each course.
- Was the course’s material too challenging?
- Was there any repetitive content in the course?
Let’s look at the survey that the University of Oregon uses
Running a course material evaluation study is an important step. The feedback you receive from the students helps you understand which activities they benefitted from, what areas do they struggle with, and how much did the course material impacts their learning.
3. The University of Wisconsin – Madison
Course structure survey
Course structure surveys aim to understand the student’s feelings and feedback about the structure of the course. Many courses need practical lessons too. This survey helps to find the right balance between classroom lectures and practice. Evaluate everything beginning with the instructor’s feedback, course material feedback, the timings of the course, the availability of study materials, implementation of the course, etc.
Different question types like single-choice, multi-select, rating scales, open-ends, NPS must be applied to capture the most accurate information. Here are the most critical questions your educational institution must consider while creating a course evaluation survey.
To improve the courses, it is highly important to collect meaningful information and inputs from students. Running a course evaluation survey helps students to reflect on and provide feedback about the course – for the benefits of future students. A course evaluation survey guides educational departments to revise the course and design it to function in the most optimum way.
Importance of running online course evaluation surveys regularly
Universities must run course evaluation surveys around different topics and collect student feedback on the courses they offer. Here’s a look at the principal reasons for running course evaluation surveys regularly.
- Enhance the current course: Use constructive feedback received from the students to make changes and enhance your course structure to everybody’s advantage.
- Assess specific behaviors: Take a deep dive into the issues that exist instead of only assessing the ‘quality of teaching’ in general.
- Smart devices: In addition to computers, enable students to respond via mobile devices and tabs to capture information on the go.
- Enhanced question types: Use online surveys to enable you to ask questions in different ways to capture the most accurate responses.
- Quick report generation: Generate reports in the go with a live dashboard. Capture student feedback and work on it instantly.
- Improve student-instructor interaction: Be it academic surveys or market research studies, surveys help the researcher and respondents (in this case, the professors and students) improve the communication between both parties.
- Enhance student engagement: Provide students a platform to voice their opinions and concerns and help them contribute to enhancing the course.
- Continuous improvement: Universities need to be on their toes to improve continuously to provide the best education. Surveys help them look at data constantly and make improvements to areas that are lacking.
Tips for creating your course evaluation survey:
Before you begin designing the survey, you must know what type of information you’re looking to collect and what is the objective of the study. Once that’s clear, here are some useful tips to keep in mind while creating your course evaluation survey:
- Mind the length: Don’t keep the study too short or too long. Short surveys won’t get you the complete information, and students will drop-off from long studies. Respect the time of your respondents (students in this case). Usually, limit your study to 20 questions to achieve a reasonable completion rate.
- Question types: Make sure to use a mix of closed-ended questions along with providing some space for open-ended questions too. Close-ended questions include true/false, yes/no, and multi-choice questions. Also, make use of rating scales to capture accurate thoughts on various topics.
- Question phrasing: Phrase your questions in a manner that it’s simple to understand and interpret by all students. Phrase them in a way to eliminate bias. The question and its options must be non-biased to capture accurate data. Remember that respondents will mostly answer the questions in the absence of the surveyor, so make sure to put your question across clearly.
- Structure: The flow of questions must be logical. Without a logical flow of questions, respondents may feel lost and may get confused. Group similar topics and avoid placing questions vaguely. A well-structured survey not only helps students answer questions problem-free, but it also helps with better data analysis. If you have stand-alone open-ended questions, it’s a good idea to place them at the end to capture more information from the students.
- Specify the purpose and give instructions: Students must be clear on why they’ve been asked to take the survey. The survey must specify its purpose, and clear guidelines must be given at the beginning of the study. Defining the purpose helps students know exactly why the survey is being used and helps them take the study seriously.
Are you ready to engage your students and run a course evaluation survey?
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