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Course and Teaching Evaluations

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Submitting Course and Teaching Evaluations

Each term, students in the four undergraduate schools, Divinity School, and Graduate School will be invited to submit course and teaching evaluations for your classes. Vanderbilt appreciates your honest and constructive feedback regarding your experiences in the classroom.

A user guide with detailed instructions for utilizing the Course and Teaching Evaluations application is available here.

Accessing Results

Course and teaching evaluation results for the College of Arts and Science, School of Engineering, Blair School of Music, and Peabody College of Education and Human Development are made available to the Vanderbilt community through restricted single sign-on access.

  • Visit VOICEView to review archived course evaluation results through Spring 2016.
  • Course Eval View is available to view results from Fall 2016 and beyond.

Please note the following restrictions:     

  • Write-in comments are not shown.
  • Evaluations in which fewer than five students responded are not shown. Exceptions are made where similar courses can be aggregated – as is done for the Blair School’s studio instruction, for instance.
  • Evaluations in which fewer than 51% of students responded are not shown.
  • Evaluations of new early-career faculty are not available for their first three years of teaching at Vanderbilt.
  • TA evaluations are not available.

FAQ

Why are course evaluations important?

Course evaluations are a critical component of assessing and improving teaching and instruction. By completing your course evaluations, you provide valuable feedback to your instructors. Course and teaching evaluation summary reports are also available to students when making registration decisions.

Where can I see evaluations of classes I am considering taking?

Legacy reports are currently archived in VoiceView. Results from Fall 2016 and beyond are available in the Course Eval View application. If a course had an enrollment of fewer than five students, or if fewer than 51% of students completed evaluations, then the evaluations are not shown. Exceptions are made where similar courses can be aggregated – as is done for the Blair School’s studio instruction, for instance.

What technology will be used to access the new course evaluation tool?

The software application Vanderbilt adopted in Fall 2016 is Blue, a mobile-, tablet-, and laptop-compatible application that is consistent with current technology norms.

Can a faculty member tell who has provided a given evaluation?

Student responses are anonymous. While the system keeps track of which students are finished, individual student responses cannot be linked to that student. Of course, a student could make a comment that reveals their identity (“I was the only freshman, and I felt singled out”, for example), but this still does not reveal responses to other questions. Further, courses with enrollments lower than five students are not reported to instructors to ensure anonymity. Faculty members do not see their course evaluation results until after grades are submitted.

Why don’t I see text comments?

Written comments on course evaluations are not shared with other students but are kept confidential to the instructor and relevant administrators.

How are evaluations used by faculty?

Student feedback on faculty and course content are valuable elements to the improvement of Vanderbilt course offerings and to the professional development of our faculty. Evaluation results are used by individual schools in faculty renewal, promotion, and tenure review processes. Faculty themselves find them very useful when designing course structure, syllabi, and content, as well as for personal development.

How can I maximize the usefulness of my comments for my instructors?

The course evaluation form focuses on the instructor of the course, but this does not minimize the student’s role in a successful learning experience. As you reflect on a course and its instructor, be sure to consider the ways you contributed to your own learning experience.

  • Learning, when it is meaningful and transformative, is hard work for the learner. An instructor should provide appropriate support for students in doing that work, but an effective course is not necessarily an easy one.
  • There are a variety of effective ways to teach, with the effectiveness of a particular method depending on a number of factors: the course content, the instructor’s experience, the students’ backgrounds, even the physical environment of the classroom. An instructor’s choice of method that strikes you as unexpected might, in practice, be effective in helping you learn.

Consider these elements and provide feedback that you think can best help the instructor make the course a good learning experience for future students. Some additional elements of effective feedback:

  1. Feedback is not the art of finding fault with someone/something, but rather the act of providing constructive comments about the course, instructor, and instruction methodologies. Feedback should tell the instructor about the elements that helped learning so that she/he can keep them in the next iteration and the aspects that can possibly be improved with potential solutions.
  2. Feedback should be specific (not vague) and buttressed by clear examples.
  3. Feedback should focus on observable behavior rather than inference of what someone might be thinking or appear to believe. For example, “The instructor provided important feedback on my assignments” vs. “The instructor is unfair.”
  4. Feedback should avoid personalization or emotionally charged wording (i.e., The instructor is worthless or milquetoast) and stick to descriptions of actual incidents.
  5. Feedback should offer alternatives to the behavior criticized.

What are examples of effective feedback for instructors?

Constructive : The lectures were clearly well prepared and interesting, but I think our class would have benefited from a more discussion-based class session. I think it would foster more class collaboration and would be a good way to stimulate class interest and motivate students to do the reading so they can be active participants in the class discussion.

Constructive : Though I really enjoyed the class, I believe it was a little too reading intensive. It was hard to take in such a dense amount of material. Students in the future may benefit if the reading was condensed into smaller bits that are more manageable.

Constructive : The textbook was interesting, but I believe another textbook would be more beneficial for this class. It was hard to connect the reading to the class sessions, which made it difficult to want to read the assigned text prior to class sessions.

Positive : This professor was always well prepared for class and was very receptive to student feedback. He/she was very accessible and responsive to my questions in class and via email. The papers and assigned readings were very manageable if one planned ahead, and were very good at taking what we learned in class and applying it to the real world. The second major assignment was particularly relevant to me, since I was able to select a topic of personal interest. Great class and great professor – would recommend to any student.

Unhelpful : Hated the class!