By Anthony D. Ávila
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday, March 29, 2005
Next month, students will fill out course evaluations just like every semester, but this time they will get take-home red bookmarks to remind them why they are taking the surveys.
The Associated Students of the University of Arizona printed 125,000 bookmarks to be distributed with the Teacher-Course Evaluations so more students will know the results are posted online, said Emily Upstill, ASUA director of academic affairs.
When the TCE bubble sheets are administered at the end of each semester, students are encouraged to give comments and rate aspects of the class based on a rubric, according to the Office of Institutional Research and Evaluation Web site.
Students fill out evaluations to reflect their final grade, teaching style, effectiveness of readings and homework, and how much time is spent on the class outside of the set hours. Other students interested in taking the class can read the results online and base their class decisions on the experience of other students.
The results are sent and evaluated at the Office of Institutional Research and Evaluation and then processed by a programmer and statistician before being placed on the Web site, said Gloria McKinney, OIRE manager of analysis.
"(The Web site) is like having a conversation with students from all over the university who have taken the classes before," said Upstill, a public administration policy sophomore.
Because not many people seem to know about the Web site, Upstill said she and ASUA President Alistair Chapman decided to print the bookmarks.
"Students shouldn't have to dig and search for information about their classes," Upstill said. "It should be readily accessible."
Erin Osborn, an elementary education senior who said she uses the TCE Web site, said she knew about the site her freshman year but did not pay much attention to the evaluation results.
"No one I knew took the evaluations seriously because they thought they were only for teachers," Osborn said. "They figured teachers wouldn't even look at (the results or comments)."
When Osborn met a professor who kept the evaluations in his office and read students' comments, she said it helped her realize her opinion makes a difference with instructors and students.
Osborn said she thinks the red bookmarks will be helpful because students will find the answer that many of them want to know.
"After three or four times, they might get tired of seeing them, but at least the point will be ingrained in their heads," Osborn said.