Registrar’s Office to Make Course Evaluations More Accessible
Published: Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, April 17, 2012 15:04
The University Office of the Registrar will revamp the format of course and professor evaluation results to make data more accessible to students.
In collaboration with the Georgetown University Student Association and the Inter-School Academic Council, the administration is investigating transitioning the way feedback is made available in an electronic format. The first step in this process is requiring that all class evaluation forms be submitted online, rather than in paper, by Fall 2012.
“The results are used for very important things — for promotion, tenure and merit increase, and used by the faculty to improve their courses based on the feedbacks,” University Registrar John Pierce said. “Now we hope it can be used by some students during their course-selection process.”
The Office of the Registrar and the ISAC hope to make the evaluations accessible to students directly through MyAccess during registration.
“It would be ideal to have professor evaluation results in MyAccess next to courses, so that when you select a course, there would be ‘view course description,’ ‘view textbook’ and also ‘view professor evaluation,’” ISAC Co-Chair Jed Feiman (COL ’12) said.
Course evaluation results, arranged by course number in a single document, have been posted on the registrar’s website in PDF format since fall 2004.
“When we used to publish a little booklet for class schedules, GUSA published a paper document of faculty evaluation results at the same time for preregistration for students to look at,” Pierce said.
When the Office of the Registar started to publish the class schedules online, GUSA requested that it do the same for faculty evaluations.
“Basically the format that it’s published in is the format that was created at the time when the results were published on paper. I just took the spread sheet format that [GUSA] had and put that up on the website,” Pierce said.
According to Feiman, few students are aware that evaluation results are available online, and the current format discourages students from using them.
“It is simply not practical to have to go on a different website, find the PDFs and sort through an Excel sheet with just numbers that no one really understands the meanings of,” Feiman said.
Feiman believes improving the availability of the faculty evaluations will give students a more accurate understanding of the courses and professors than that reviews available through sites like ratemyprofessors.com.
According to GUSA Secretary of Academic Affairs Jonathan Askonas (SFS ’13), a change to a more modern system will not be difficult. “Fundamentally, it revolves around the switch of a database to one that can be advertised to students as resource,”
Faculty Evaluations Coordinator Joseph Davies anticipates that making the evaluation results more accessible to students will encourage more undergraduates to complete course evaluations.
ISAC Co-Chair Lucas Stratmann (SFS ’12) agreed that it is important for students to complete course evaluations to make the results posted on MyAccess more useful.
“The more students participate, the more accurate the idea you get from the faculty evaluations,” he said. “There should be more awareness and utilization of the evaluations, so that students will know how taking five minutes to complete the evaluations will be beneficial to everyone.”
CORRECTION: This article previously stated that the Inter-School Academic Council is abbreviated IAC. It is abbreviated ISAC. The article has been updated accordingly.