Staff Editorial

Staff Ed

This week, LUCC heard, and is now considering, a presentation from the Committee on Teaching Development regarding course evaluations.
Since the recent transition from paper course evaluations to online evaluations on Voyager, participation among students has decreased sharply.
This has prompted concern among both the committee members and faculty members who value the feedback as a way of seeking student engagement to help improve their classes.
The decision to abandon paper evaluations in favor of electronic ones comes out of an effort to allow students more freedom to choose when they fill out the evaluation, save professors more class time, protect anonymity and cut down on costs of having someone type every individual evaluation into a database.
These are all legitimate explanations for the change. This switch, however, has resulted decline in participation to only 41 percent of students who fill out these evaluations.
We at The Lawrentian think that this drop reflects negatively on the dedication and involvement of the student body.
The committee has proposed withholding grades until online course evaluations are completed, and though it may seem strict, we support this decision.
There is no need for the university to hire people to enter class evaluations into a computer database when students could simply fill them out online.
The move to withhold grades would also reiterate how important class evaluations and student feedback are to the faculty and improving our education.
While withholding grades will provide students with more incentive to fill out the course evaluations, some measures could be taken on the part of the faculty and administration to make filling out course evaluations more convenient.
Professors could let their classes out early or use class time to take their students to a nearby computer lab. Deadlines for completion of the evaluations could be extended to allow students more time, instead of pressuring students to do them during finals week. Though these measures would make filling out the evaluations easier, they alone would not be enough to guarantee a significant increase.
This new measure to ensure students’ feedback may seem harsh, however we feel it is necessary for the continual improvement of our academic experience.