#EvalsMatter

November 23, 2015 at 15:26 pm

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Between all the midterms and the final projects, McMaster will soon be getting emails asking you to fill out a course evaluation. It is an extremely busy time and the work is piling up, it’s easy to put off course evaluations because of everything else going on. Yet we don’t often hear all of the benefits associated with completing course evaluations.

It’s important to realize that course evaluations are the best way to provide feedback to your faculty and professors. Similarly to how professor and TA feedback allows you to improve on your next paper or lab, your professors and TAs need your feedback in order to make improvements.  After taking this course you now have valuable insight on what worked well and what didn’t. Passing on this insight to the University can have long lasting effects in improving education.

Improving the Course:

There’s a misconception that feedback is always negative. This is certainly not true. It’s completely fine to let your professors and TAs know that what they are doing is great! Emphasizing their strengths can motivate them to work harder to keep the class just as interesting. However, feedback can at times point out the not-so-great parts of your course experience. In that case it is especially important to fill out those evaluations. By voicing your opinion on certain aspects of the course, your influence can change the course’s structure and do next term’s class a favour.

Improving Quality of Professors:

Something we don’t often think about is some of the long term effects of our evaluations. Course evaluations are used by faculty deans in contract negotiations. They play a role in what professors are offered tenor, what courses they teach and a significant number  other factors that directly affect you as a student. Filling out course evaluations goes further than just improving the course it impacts long terms decisions surrounding the quality of professors here at McMaster.

Improving Advocacy:

Course evaluations are just one way to garner student feedback about their educational experiences. The VP education, the University Affairs committee and several other MSU bodies have been gathering student feedback and can begin to advocate to faculties to improve the student experience. Yet if the perception of faculties is that students are apathetic and disengaged then there is no motivation for them to change the current system. Higher course evaluation percentages would go a long way to changing this perception and therefore improving advocacy initiatives across the University.

Course evaluations are a valuable chance for you to engage with your education! Check out your faculty's course evaluation party to grab some free food and fill out an evaluation! 

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