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07/01/2010

Faculty reflect on student evaluations

Since faculty take student comments very seriously, it is appropriate to consider how to review the comments from students.  Many faculty get upset with a lone, below the belt and inappropriate comment and over-react to it.  It is important to look at patterns and trends and not just isolated comments or numbers.  Further, some comments need to be unpacked to be understood.  For example, if students write that the course was challenging, is that a complement or a negative remark?  Courses can be challenging because they made the student work hard, learn a lot or really stretch them.  Courses can also be challenging because the course appeared disorganized or was over the student’s head.  To find out what students mean you might want to conduct some follow-ups with the students or ask the next class to help you understand comments.

It is always a good idea to gather some of your own formative feedback on your teaching and not just rely on the standard course evaluations.

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