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D 11524-11527


DOCUMENTS OF THE GENERAL FACULTY 



PROPOSAL FROM THE EDUCATIONAL POLICY COMMITTEE TO MAKE CHANGES TO THE EXTENDED FORM COURSE EVALUATION

On March 31, 2014, and on behalf of the Educational Policy Committee, Professor Mary Rose (committee chair, sociology) submitted the following proposal recommending modifications to the Extended Form Course Evaluation.

The Faculty Council will discuss the report at its meeting on April 14, 2014.
neikirk signature
Dean Neikirk, Secretary
General Faculty and Faculty Council



Posted on the Faculty Council website on April 10, 2014. 


PROPOSAL FROM THE EDUCATIONAL POLICY COMMITTEE TO MAKE CHANGES TO THE EXTENDED FORM COURSE EVALUATION

Background and Rationale
UT Austin must revise its current course evaluation forms in order to come into compliance with a UT System mandate that requires five specific questions to appear on each of the course evaluation forms used at UT Austin. The Educational Policy Committee (EPC) has made recommendations for changes to the basic Form, which is the default form (and therefore, according to the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL), is the most commonly used form). Even if used less frequently, the expanded form must be edited to conform to the System mandate.

The expanded form will have as the first five items those mandated by UT System. In addition, consistent with past practice, the expanded form will contain all the same items as the basic form. These two strictures mean that fully nine questions in the first section of the expanded form are fixed (the second section of the form, which asks for overall instructor and course ratings and which gets basic background information from students, will also be identical to that approved for the basic form). Consistent with the approach we took to the basic form, EPC has a preference for retaining items from the old form, where possible, to preserve continuity; but we also looked for redundancies and aimed to improve clarity/simplicity across the form.

With these guidelines in mind, a sub-committee of the EPC (composed of Mary Rose of sociology and Cesar Delgado and Noah De Lissovoy, both of curriculum and instruction) reviewed the existing expanded form to develop a recommended form for EPC to consider. Professor Delgado did basic research on best practices in course evaluation measurement to identify domains of ratings that forms should ideally cover, and the group discussed possible additional items.

The background research suggested that the expanded form already covered a good range of topics that are typically identified as important to rate. One approach, for example, is called the “Student Evaluation of Educational Quality (SEEQ)1” and suggests that students rate instructors/courses on the following dimensions: Learning, Enthusiasm, Organization, Group Interaction (e.g., class participation), Breadth of Coverage, Examinations, and Assignments. The existing expanded form was strong in all these areas, save Group Interaction, and arguably, enthusiasm (UT Austin currently asks if the instructor seems “genuinely interested” in teaching the course). The sub-committee proposed just three new items to better tap into the general issues of enthusiasm and group interaction. We also reorganized the order of items on the form so that like items were closer in proximity to one another.

Items we propose to delete from the existing expanded form (see Appendix) fall into the following categories: (1) those we recommended deleting from the basic form because they seemed vague/awkwardly worded (“The instructor showed interest in the progress of students”; “At this point in time, I feel that this course will be (or has already been) of value to me”); (2) those that are now largely redundant with System mandates (“Course objectives and assignments were clearly stated”; “The instructor was generally accessible to students outside of class”; “The instructor seemed well-prepared for class”) and (3) items the sub-committee felt were better written/covered by items written for the proposed basic Form (both “The instructor has tried to make the course educationally valuable to me” and “The instructor has increased my knowledge and competence in the subject of the course” seem better handled by asking if the student feels he/she learned a great deal in the class).

The proposed form was circulated among EPC members to solicit comments and suggestions. After comments and a no-protest vote, the final proposed version is as presented below.


1If interested: http://www.usask.ca/vpteaching/seeq/index.php

Mock Up of Proposed New Extended Form

Note: Numbers 1-5 are UT System mandated questions; #6, 7, 13, and 18 are the same as those approved for the basic Form; items #10, 12, 14, 15, 16, and 17 were on the previous form (see Appendix for exact content of previous form); questions in yellow are new.

 
Strongly Disagree
Disagree
Neutral
Agree
Strongly Agree
  1. The instructor clearly defined and explained the course objectives and expectations.
1
2
3
4
5
  1. The instructor was prepared for each instructional activity.
1
2
3
4
5
  1. The instructor communicated information effectively.
1
2
3
4
5
  1. The instructor encouraged me to take an active role in my own learning.
1
2
3
4
5
  1. The instructor was available to students either electronically or in person.
1
2
3
4
5
  1. The course was well organized.
1
2
3
4
5
  1. The instructor made me feel free to ask questions, disagree, and express my ideas
1
2
3
4
5
  1. The instructor encouraged class participation.
1
2
3
4
5
  1. The instructor’s presentations and contributions in class engaged me.
1
2
3
4
5
  1. The instructor showed a thorough knowledge of the course material.
1
2
3
4
5
  1. The instructor’s explanations were clear.
1
2
3
4
5
  1. The instructor seemed genuinely interested in teaching the course.
1
2
3
4
5
  1. The course materials (e.g., text and supplemental materials) were helpful to me.
1
2
3
4
5
  1. The instructor gave adequate instructions concerning assignments.
1
2
3
4
5
  1. The tests/assignments were usually graded and returned promptly.
1
2
3
4
5
  1. In my opinion, the assignments, presentations, projects or papers required in this course were worthwhile learning experiences.
1
2
3
4
5
  1. My performance in this course has been evaluated fairly.
1
2
3
4
5
  1. Overall, I learned a great deal from this course.
1
2
3
4
5

(Second section will conform to that approved for the basic form)


Appendix: Existing Expanded Form Course Evaluation

 

Strongly Disagree
Disagree
Neutral
Agree
Strongly Agree
  1. The course was well organized
         
  1. The instructor communicated information effectively.
         
  1. The instructor showed interest in the progress of students.
         
  1. The tests/assignments were usually graded and returned promptly.
         
  1. The instructor made me feel free to ask questions, disagree, and express my ideas
         
  1. Course objectives and assignments were clearly stated.
         
  1. The instructor seemed well prepared for class.
         
  1. The instructor showed a thorough knowledge of the course material.
         
  1. The instructor seemed genuinely interested in teaching the course.
         
  1. The instructor was generally accessible to students outside of class.
         
  1. My performance in this course has been evaluated fairly.
         
  1. The instructor gave adequate instructions concerning assignments.
         
  1. The instructor tried to make the course material educationally valuable to me.
         
  1. The instructor increased my knowledge and competence in the subject of this course.
         
  1. The instructor inspired me to think more about the content of the course than what was required.
         
  1. In my opinion, the assignments, presentations, projects or papers required in the course were worthwhile learning experiences.
         
  1. At this point in time, I feel that this course will be (or has already been) of value to me.