Online class evaluations given test run; debut still uncertain

The Academic Standards Subcommittee continues their effort to design and implement an online system for conducting student course evaluations at Northern Kentucky University.

The Learning System Advisory Committee and the Subcommittee of Professional Concerns are investigating different software to purchase or the option to develop software here at the university.

Pilot studies are being completed by a small group of volunteer faculty members. The first one started last summer, and a more broad study should take place during 2002-2003.

Michele Roszmann-Millican, faculty member of the college of education, said most of the faculty members that have volunteered are from the science department.

The faculty/course evaluation forms will consist of three sections and approximately six questions. The first section would cover questions about the university, the second section, specific departments and the third section would focus on the particular course.

Roszmann-Millican said some faculty members do have concerns with the online system. Some of these concerns include when professors would see the evaluations, and if the online form would be recorded the same way as the current method, or would it have a different database.

The evaluations will remain anonymous. The professors will not know who completed the form and also they will not see them until final grades are turned in. Students would have to identify themselves in a unique way.

Ray McNeil, chair of professional concerns subcommittee, said the reason for not having students identify themselves is “to get a true sampling.”

If the online evaluations do become university-wide, the current in-class evaluations would be eliminated, McNeil said. He also noted they are still early in the process.

Evaluations would still take place a week or two before the end of the semester. Being able to complete the forms online presents a greater opportunity for students to participate in evaluations.

“I’m looking forward to it,” Roszmann-Millican said.