Feedback should be taken seriously by students, professors

Kernel Editorial

It seems like everything is moving online nowadays.

We balance checkbooks, pay bills, get the news and a myriad of other things in front of our computers. Pretty soon, we’ll be adding teacher evaluations to the list.

Hopefully this change will help students take those evaluations more seriously than they usually do. Depending on which side of the fence you stand, teacher evaluations are either pointless or extremely important. Let’s be honest: most students mail in the 10 or so minutes an instructor sets aside at the end of the semester to get out of class a little early.

With different colleges going to different lengths to evaluate — some use the standard university Scantron form, others provide additional questions for the course and/or professor — it’s hard to tell whether the university really even cares for the feedback students have on classes.

“I feel like once (professors) get tenured, it doesn’t matter because certain teachers have been doing the same thing for years,” Michael Morgan, a finance and accounting senior, said in a Jan. 27 Kernel article.

It’s thoughts like this which suggest that some instructors facilitating the classes do not care about evaluations.

But regardless of the current model, students should take their evaluations seriously.

Bubbling in that everything about the class was perfect or completely deplorable is useless. Take a second and give some thought to what actually occurred in class. Did the book really help you with the material? If not, save the next guy from buying the same expensive book by signaling to the professor the book wasn’t helpful.

It’s a constant dance between professor and students to communicate what is helping or hurting a particular class or student when it comes to availability, textbooks, etc. Teacher evaluations are supposed to alleviate that process, which is why all parties need to take the process more seriously.

Most professors read their evaluations. Personal attacks or haphazard comments are usually ignored, but constructive criticisms should be heard. Furthermore, students need to know their feedback is being considered. Why would a student participate in a process where their input is mute before it’s given?

Maybe the transition to online forms will encourage more students to follow that same route. Students can do them at their own pace and have total hindsight to the course.

And maybe classes will be improved because enough people took the time to correctly evaluate instead of bubbling in all “5s” to get out of class five minutes early.