Dalhousie takes course evaluations public - Macleans.ca

Dalhousie takes course evaluations public

Student survey results will be available in time for the fall


Dalhousie University students won’t need to use Ratemyprofessors.com next year to pick classes, with professor and course evaluations being made public.

While student leaders are hailing the decision as necessary for improving the quality of education, making sure professors aren’t badmouthed online is a hurdle the school says it can overcome. Allan Shaver, vice-president of academics at Dalhousie told the CBC he doesn’t foresee any issues. “I get to see all the course evaluations, and the professors of this university have nothing to fear,” he said.

At most universities, students are required to fill out questionnaires after completing a class, asking them to rank items like the appropriateness of the workload, and the professor’s availability for out-of-class consultation.

Students typically rely on word-of-mouth from peers as to which classes they want to enroll in. When Ratemyprofessor.com went online, students could look to user-generated comments for insight into a class, but comments on the site appear mostly unmoderated and tend to deviate from academics.

At Saint Mary’s University the student’s association pulled their online rating system because of “uneven participation and unfiltered comments,” the CBC reported.

While rules for the system at Dalhousie are still being finalized, online commenting won’t be allowed and professors can opt to keep their results private.

Dalhousie’s evaluations will be made public for the 2010-2011 school year.


Dalhousie takes course evaluations public

  1. This would be a great idea, if only course evaluations actually provided useful or accurate data. A far better idea would be to get rid of course evaluations all together.

  2. I agree, ABarlow. They’re a joke where students often vent their frustrations after failing to turn up all term and getting the grade they deserve.

  3. I think the evaluations are a brilliant idea, but done wrong.
    Instead of questions where students can vent (like a general ‘comments’ section), questions should be detailed and specific, with no 50/50 choice (an even number of options, as opposed to an odd number).
    While somewhat discriminatory, I think evaluations would be more reliable if they were available to certain students only. While you will lose the diversity of answers, it would help eliminating the ‘ranting of bullshitters.’

  4. “They’re a joke where students often vent their frustrations after failing to turn up all term and getting the grade they deserve.”

    Exactly, and I can speak to this from personal experience. Nothing like having a student beg for a late add into my online course, hardly to a thing throughout the term, barely pass, and then criticize the quality of the class and my work as an instructor.

    Evaluations should only be submitted by students who show up most of the time and/or submit a certain amount of work.