Today, in the campus mail, came four manila envelopes — one for each of my courses. We are to “administer the instrument” next week — little paper booklets in which they can indicate their assessment of everything from my knowledge of the subject (which they always place at the highest level, even when I taught the course on early industrial Europe, hah!) to my fairness in marking their work (where I sink towards somewhere halfway between “completely fair” and “average”). I may not have Severus Snape’s wit when it comes to handling course evaluations, but neither do I have his profound personality problems, so it evens out.
I’m less hostile towards these sessions since the University dropped the time requirement from twenty minutes to ten and since they abandoned the ill-advised substitution of an online form that required students to actually log into their university email, open a separate email for each class, click on a link that didn’t always work and fill out a buggy online form. Yes, that was a year to forget!
What’s of more interest to me is crafting my own evaluation form I administer the last week of class. I started doing this last year. There I’m getting valuable feedback about how the course is constructed, what they think of the texts and assignments, what they wished we’d done more on, less on and what else they’d like to learn. So, in my copious free time, I’m off to refine those surveys since term’s ending in less than three weeks!