Nothing is worse for a business than wasting money, and that is exactly what Texas State is doing with their course evaluation process.
According to a Jan. 16 University Star article, the course evaluations students are required to fill out at the end of each semester cost Texas State approximately $250,000 each year. This costly price tag seemingly stems from a gross, ineffective waste of university funding, time and resource materials.
Several classes require students to fill out a general five-question course evaluation. A department evaluation is issued as well, which likely costs a large sum in printing fees. In addition, many students do not take evaluations seriously and would rather get out of class earlier than normal by quickly bubbling in answers without serious thought or not filling them out entirely.
Though Texas House Bill 2504 requires universities within the state to give these evaluations, it is downright unintelligent to waste $1 million every four years to print paper for these class critiques.
Information and technology move faster every day and with that, departments have to make sure the curriculum is up to par so college education is as valuable to “real-world” jobs as possible. Course evaluations, for that reason, should be more cost effective and conveniently developed to allow students to properly evaluate the education given by Texas State instructors.
The solution to all of these problems would be to transform semester course evaluations from time-consuming in-class paperwork to a simple website for students to use. If evaluations were conducted through the web, the important resulting information could be more easily accessed and utilized by the university.
The university should invest in developing a website or using a certified third-party survey web host where students must go to answer questions about their classes. That was evaluations can be centralized, and the online format will allow for more specific questions and hopefully more specific answers.
Students can then fill out all of their class evaluations in one sitting instead of wasting time in multiple classes completing paperwork. Since students would no longer have the opportunity to do the evaluations in all of their classes, university officials can still mandate participation by placing holds on the registration of students who have not submitted their feedback.
Ratemyprofessors.com, a website dedicated to students who post their honest opinions on their classes, instructors and universities, has been a huge success. It would be beneficial to the university as a whole to implement and utilize a website format similar to this for easy class and teacher evaluation. Because information would be updated in real time, resources wasted gathering data and class time spent on paper evaluations would be made history.
Students must continue to fill out these evaluations and should not be able to receive their final course grades until the evaluations have been completed. This will ensure the HB2504 requirements are properly carried out at the university.
The solution to the current giant waste of money is an easy one. Converting course evaluations to an online process may seem like a tedious project for the university to undertake, but the time and money saved is worth the effort overall.