Tag: evaluations

Interpreting Course evaluations

Even as a new semester is starting, we should not lose sight of all the effort that went into teaching last semester.  The start of a new semester is a perfect time to reflect on your course evaluation results and the student feedback received.  

Previous course evaluations can provide valuable information and insight as you begin to take the time to reflect on where you would like to refine your courses in the new semester. But where do you begin to make sense of all the data and feedback that is provided on course evaluations? 

Starting Point

Select a recent course evaluation and run the report with comments.  At the top left corner of the report will be your response rates.  Do you have a good response rate to justify the value of the data?  If you have a very low response rate, you may want to be careful in making generalizations of the course overall. Be sure to use course evaluations that have at least a 50% response rate. For this reason, it is important to encourage students to complete the evaluations so that it will generate sufficient usable data later on. High response rates along with high scores also leads to teaching award nominations!!

Review the overall average of the 7 dimensions.  

The average of the 7 dimensions will be found towards the bottom of the report just under the likert scale questions.  Typically questions 5-11 are the seven dimension questions determined by the university.  Your average score on the 7 dimensions will depend on many variables such as class size, experience teaching this particular course, etc. If you would like to improve your overall average of the 7 dimensions, it is important that you look at each individual dimension and find the one with the lowest score.  This dimension would be your best indicator of a starting point in refining your course.  Going forward, you will want to select and  incorporate some different approaches or strategies that would hopefully strengthen this dimension from the student perspective.  

Student Feedback

Are you overwhelmed by reading through all the student comments at the bottom of your course evaluation reports?  Wondering where to start to incorporate this feedback into your future course offerings?  Begin by trying to categorize each comment into broader topics.  You will begin to see that most of the comments correlate with one of the 7 dimensions.  The category with the most comments will be an indicator of where to refine your approach moving into future offerings of this course.  

Feel free to reach out to the Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning – we have a wealth of strategies and approaches that you can try based on your course structure and comfort level.

7 Dimensions of course evaluations

The course evaluation survey is comprised of 7 main questions most commonly known as the 7 dimensions. These 7 dimensions provide students with guided questions in evaluating the teaching and learning process of a course.

As another fall semester begins again, it is often a good time to reflect on these dimensions by reviewing previous course evaluation scores and student feedback in order to seek ways to be continuously improving your courses.

It may be helpful to outline each dimension with some possible classroom strategies that could be incorporated. To get you started, we have outlined each dimension along with one or two strategies you may find useful for each.

  • The instructor was enthusiastic about the subject matter of the course.
    • Share your passion for the topic by incorporating your work experiences, research findings and publication work into your lectures.
  • The instructor communicated the course material clearly.
    • Set up course content in organized modules by weeks, chapters or units within Canvas.
  • The instructor engaged students by encouraging participation during class.
    • Chunk your lectures into 10-15 min. segments. Have students interact with the content for the next 10 mins. before returning to another segment of your lecture. Reference the CTL website for additional active learning strategies.
  • The instructor engaged students by encouraging course preparation, reflection, or other activities outside of class.
    • Offer homework or pre-class activities that allow students to apply the concepts to their current real world situations.
    • Offer social media or collaborative platforms such as google docs in order to share their files with peers and work in real time.
  • The instructor provided timely feedback on my work (homework, assignments, exams, etc.)
    • Utilize grading tools such as Gradescope that allow you to pre-populate your feedback based on student responses.
  • The instructor displayed a personal interest in students and their learning.
    • Provide timely feedback.
    • Try to arrive early to class and stay a few minutes after (if room schedule allows) to have informal conversations with students.
  • The instructor uses technology appropriately.
    • Introduce one or two technologies that complement your lectures. For example, try a digital interactive whiteboard such as jamboard.
    • Engage students with polling questions via iClicker.

Taking time to reflect and plan strategies for each of these dimensions at the beginning of the semester will be beneficial at the end of the semester as students evaluate these seven dimensions and provide feedback on what worked well. If you would like to discuss the Student rating of instruction in more detail, please feel free to reach out to the CTL at 487-3000.