YU Course Evaluations Publishing and Online Administration Reasons to Publish • Provides more information to students. This information is valuable to students, producing “educated consumers” who can more knowledgably choose courses. • This knowledge will alleviate many of the “first-day” anxieties associated with walking into a classroom and meeting a professor who is not what the student expected or wanted. • Declassifying course evaluations will recognize excellent teaching. • There is some evidence to suggest that the publication of evaluations will cause students to take the process more seriously and increasing response rates, enhancing the value of the entire system. Objections to Publication and Responses Student evaluations create perverse incentives If students give higher evaluations to easy markers, professors have an incentive to inflate grades. Student evaluations provide poor quality information that is worse than no information at all. These are arguments against using evaluations at all. RateMyProfessor.com is certainly a more skewed forum of less substance. Publishing course evaluations would provide a more meaningful and substantive alternative.* The data collected in course reviews is of little or no use to students. Credit students. They have the ability to determine what is and what is not of value to them. Precedent for Declassification •University of Pennsylvania •Yale •Cornell •Queens College •MIT •McGill •Tufts •Duke •Northwestern •Columbia •Barnard •Stanford •Harvard •Carnegie Mellon •University of Chicago •Boston College •Brandeis University •Brown Proposal We propose to post future numerical data from course evaluations online. The site will only be accessible to Yeshiva University Students. Because we recognize the myriad issues involved in posting the students’ comments, we propose a compromise. Only numerical data will be posted, but a message board will be allowed underneath. The message board will be moderated by the SAAC or any other body the faculty suggests. Screenshot Legal Considerations Toby Stone, of YU’s Legal Department OK’d the publication of numerical data. (Was unsure regarding the message board.) Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act provides that "[n]o provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider." 47 U.S.C. § 230(c)(1). Courts have upheld this ruling across the board, protecting blog owners/editors from content submitted by third parties, even if the site owner edits that information How would this work? Currently, the data from every evaluation winds up in an Excel spreadsheet. Practical Implementation A computer programmer, even a student, could easily turn this spreadsheet into graphs that look like these: These would be searchable by both course and instructor. Online Evaluations Reasons to try it: Less expensive: will cut down on the time it takes to distribute, collect, store, and process the pencil and paper forms. Greener: reduces wasteful use of pencils and paper supporting YU’s environmental sustainability initiatives. Customization: Allows for the easy customization of evaluations by departments or even individual faculty members. User Friendly: Encourages students to type more substantive answers in the comments section. More efficient: Instructors no longer need to take class time to ask students to complete evaluation forms and instructors access reports about their evaluations more quickly. Objections and Responses Moving evaluations online results in lower rates of student participation. This is a valid concern. There are however a number of ways to combat this trend: Allowing earlier access to grades for those who complete evaluations. (University of Miami, Yale) Can reserve time during class for course evaluations. Student Responses are less accurate and/or meaningful. This was shown, in a study done by the IDEA center, to be factually false. Decreases Student Anonymity There are a number of ways around this. Proposal To start we would suggest a pilot program: Offer paper and online evaluations simultaneously, perhaps only among a few faculty or specific departments. Appoint a committee of faculty, administration, and students to oversee the management of this pilot program. They would be responsible for outlining a program, what we would want from an online system: Ease of use, Integration w/Banner, automatic update of courses, customization, student anonymity, security After a semester, the committee should reconvene and make recommendations regarding the future use of an online system. Implementation There are a number of companies that we looked at that are capable of implementing a program like the one we are looking for. Scantron •We already have a contract with them, so would cost no extra. CoursEval •Significantly cheaper than the competition. •Seems to offer similar if not identical •We could use both services. paper and electronic •Priced at about systems simultaneously. $6000/year for this campus •We are comfortable •Offers a free pilot with the system program already. Survey Dig FormStack OnlineCourseEvaluati on A program could also be implemented by our own ITS… or even by a student. Student Options Students want to implement these changes. If they cannot be done through the school, we plan to do what students at many other institutions have done: create our own review website.