Online evaluations unnecessary

By Editorial Board

Toward the end of the year, many students find it annoying to fill out online course evaluations for their classes.  Many students see the evaluations as more of a nuisance than a way to successfully change course curricula through their much-needed insight.

Some students don’t think their class reviews will matter, so they forgo the evaluations and ignore the online evaluation notifications. Others just don’t care.

For the past two weeks, The Chronicle has reported on the importance of these evaluations and how Columbia relies on student responses to revamp courses. However, few students respond and departments are left with a minute evaluation sample that represents a small number of students.

Some departments, such as the Journalism Department, require written evaluations along with asking students to complete the optional online version. The written reviews are passed out and completed during class, which only takes 10-15 minutes.

To ensure each department has a clear understanding of students’ responses, it is crucial to get a large sample of reactions. These reviews are taken seriously and have the potential to change course material, correct any professor misconduct and give praise to an exceptional class.

Because evaluations are important to Columbia’s department chairs, who review the responses, the process needs to be hassle-free in order for students to participate. Class time should be used to complete evaluations and each department should prepare written questions instead of relying on an online survey.

Online questions are not as thorough or comprehensive as written inquiries. Some students may also feel less anonymous when completing the survey on Oasis.

Written evaluations are more effective, but they are more costly. However, if Columbia truly values students’ responses, the money to print the paper for the surveys is worth spending.

To receive a more accurate student reading, written evaluations should be completed during the middle of the semester. This would ensure that students who have complaints about a particular class may see changes made to correct the problem before the course ends because of their insight.

Some professors may not want to spend several minutes to complete the evaluations in class, but in order to keep courses current and students satisfied, surveys must be submitted to express any grievances or praises when necessary.