End-of-course faculty evaluations must be taken seriously

As another semester comes to a close, students should be thoughtful when filling out end-of-course evaluations and remember that their feedback and comments make an impact.

End-of-course evaluations for classes and professors may seem like a waste of time to many, but students should take the opportunity to have their voices heard. Although it may be tempting after a long semester of class projects, countless chapters of textbook readings and difficult exams to mindlessly fill out the little Scantron bubbles of a course evaluation, students need to take the time to write meaningful feedback.

The editorial board understands it is tempting to not take the end-of-course evaluations seriously. However, students cannot complain about their classes if they are not willing to put in the time and effort to provide helpful constructive criticism to professors. Although students may think course evaluation results are loaded to the university’s website and never looked at again, many professors do in fact read over their evaluations and take their past students’ comments into consideration when planning for the next semester.

Now that the majority of course evaluations are sent to students as links through their BobcatMail account, students really have no excuse to not take five minutes out of their Facebook stalking, Tumblr trolling or Netflix binging time online to supply helpful critiques of their classes. Providing evaluations online aids in cost effectiveness, according to a Jan. 16, 2013 University Star article. So students who were not fond of the tiresome Scantron version should be open to online survey-style evaluations.

In this fast-paced world, students should stop, breathe and take the time to write thoughtful comments on evaluations. Simply completing the “strongly agree” and “strongly disagree” bubbles on the standard course evaluation is not enough. Although those questions are helpful, they fail to provide a “why” answer. In the comment section of the evaluations, students should explain (briefly if necessary) exactly why they think their professors “did not communicate course goals clearly,” or exactly why they “would not recommend this class to a friend.”

Students should make clear the strengths and weaknesses of their courses so the university can grow and improve. Bobcats cannot expect classes to improve if no one comments on what they loved or what they hated. Professors are not omniscient and cannot read students’ minds (not even those in the psychology department). If students wish to help their fellow Bobcats who may be looking to take the same course they hated last semester, they should provide comments and suggestions on how to improve it in the future.

End-of-course evaluations are posted on the Texas State website to comply with House Bill 2504 that requires universities to make them public and provide transparency. These evaluations are updated on the web page each semester, according to the university’s website. Because of this, students should feel an added weight to thoughtfully complete their evaluations and not simply say, “I hate my professor” or “I loved my professor.”

If college has taught students anything, it should be how to articulate the many reasons and evidence why they hate that girl who talks too much in philosophy or why they love that band they saw at the Triple Crown Friday night. Students articulate their love or hate for things every day with long lists of reasons. Now they must take those skills and use them productively in writing end-of-course
evaluations.