Virginia Tech students will receive the fall 2012 Student Perceptions of Teaching forms, used to collect student feedback on courses and instruction, tomorrow. This is the first semester the new form and process will be in use university-wide.

Students will receive an email with an online questionnaire for each class in which they are enrolled on Nov. 30, 2012. They will receive a reminder every two days until they submit the questionnaire or the evaluation period closes on Dec. 13, 2012.

The teaching evaluation process has undergone extensive changes in the last five years. Before the changes, there was a lack of consistency among colleges, departments, and even individual instructors on evaluations.

In 2009, Ray Van Dyke, executive director of the Office of Assessment and Evaluation and Peter Doolittle, director of the Center for Instructional Design and Educational Research, both in the Division of Undergraduate Education, led a task force to revise the evaluation form. The new form, together with a new online process managed by Learning Technologies, was rolled out gradually over the next several years.

  • Spring 2010: Evaluations were piloted in 40 courses.
  • Fall 2010: The College of Natural Resources and Environment used new evaluations
  • Spring 2011: The College of Engineering was added.
  • Fall 2011: The College of Architecture and Urban Students, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and the College of Science were added.
  • Spring 2012: The College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences and Pamplin College of Business were added.
  • Fall 2012: The College of Veterinary Medicine was added.

Students and faculty, overall, have given the Office of Assessment and Evaluation positive feedback on the new evaluations and online format. Among students, 87 percent indicate the new form allows them to provide a better evaluation of the instructor, and the same percent prefer the online format. Among faculty, more than three-quarters indicate the new questionnaire is equally useful or more useful than the past evaluation and they prefer or do not mind the online delivery system.

“While generally we have received good reviews of the new form and system, we know there is still room for improvement,” said Ray Van Dyke, executive director of the Office of Assessment and Evaluation. “Faculty feedback is critical to us so we can determine priorities. Based on previous comments, we have implemented several changes including a shift in the open and close date of the questionnaires, allowance for deans to select an alternative evaluation for individual courses not suited to the current evaluation, and rewording of the item that asks about overall teaching effectiveness.”

Since implementation, responses rates have hovered around 70 percent each semester.

More information is available on the Student Perceptions of Teaching website.

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