June 20, 2010
June 20, 2010
June 23, 2010
New Engineering Educators
15.340.1 - 15.340.9
Daily Course Evaluation with Google Forms
Student course evaluation has become a fixture of American higher education over the past two generations. It serves at least two distinct purposes: to provide superiors with a way to assess the quality of each instructor, and to avail the instructor a chance to improve, based on feedback from students. A third motivation is to give students a way to influence teaching. Almost invariably, the evaluation is performed once per term, and the end of each course. Both the instructor’s and students’ purposes, it would be much better if the feedback came at a point where instruction could be adjusted during the current term. It would be ideal be to collect feedback after each class. Until recently, the overhead of doing so was high enough to render daily feedback infeasible. But now, with Google forms, anyone can create and administer surveys for free, and with minimal investment of time. This paper reports on a semester-long experiment with daily feedback, and how it influenced instruction.
For many faculty, student course evaluation is a stressful process. Student evaluations are often the primary means of evaluating teaching. They can have an impact on performance reviews, tenure, and promotion. Coming at the end of a course, they are summative in nature; that is, they measure what has occurred. There is no opportunity to adapt until the next time the course is taught, and even then, the set of students is entirely different. It would be much better if faculty could get feedback during the course instead of at the end. This kind of feedback is called formative, because its purpose is to “form” the instructor’s approach to teaching the rest of the course. Traditionally, course evaluation has been carried out with pencil and op-scan forms. In the last ten years or so, these evaluations have been migrating online [1, 2]. When employed in the usual way, at the end of a course, evaluations are essentially summative, though faculty may glean some advice about the next offering of the same course from reading the students’ text comments.
It is unfortunate that course evaluation is so infrequent and so inflexible. The kind of feedback it gives faculty has proven ineffective when assessing student performance: “Feedback delivered once a year from standardized district, state, national, or international assessments is far too infrequent and broadly focused to be helpful .” The same could be said of course evaluation, as currently practiced. There have been a few attempts to use evaluations formatively, by administering midterm evaluations [4, 5]. The usual practice is for the Teaching and Learning Center to, at an instructor’s request, administer a mid-semester evaluation form to the students, and then to have someone meet with the instructor to analyze the results.
Proceedings of the 2010 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition 1 Copyright © 2010, American Society for Engineering Education
Gehringer, E. (2010, June), Daily Course Evaluation With Google Forms Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16350
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