Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Class Evals

Thanks to a post by AWB, I remembered to check my own class evaluations today -- our university, which is striving to go paperless, to the extent that they don't even issue us paystubs anymore, just post our pay data online, has stopped issuing evaluations as well. We don't administer evaluations to our students, and we're not given copies of them, either. It's all done via the net: students log in to evaluate professors; professors log in to see what students have said.

Very nice, and its saves trees, except I keep forgetting mine are there. When I checked today I had a 3 semester backlog. (They're on a secret R-drive. Don't ask me what this means. I am a rat in a maze when it comes to negotiating these computers. I click the right magic place on the screen, I get my cheese, that's all I know.)

Anyway, here at our working class university, a great deal depends on these evaluations, so this paperless method has many worried -- it looks like it would cause selection problems, for instance: only students who were really angry with a given professor, or really happy with a given professor, are going to go to the trouble of finding a lab, logging into the university's system, fighting through the password system, etc, and filling out an evaluation, all of this on their own time, during the last few weeks of the semester, when time is already at a premium -- and you want to compare this to the previous system, when we had them captive in the classroom, using class time to complete evaluations: the entire class, doing evaluations at once. The switch seemed a problem, particularly, as I said, since up to 70% our performance review depends on our teaching ability at this particular university.

Anyway: mine were mainly fine. I did have one class with a few students who seemed to think I spent too much time talking about sex too much (What? Me?) and picking on Christianity (I honestly can't remember doing this -- I'm thinking this must refer to my lecture Yeats, which dealt with "The Second Coming" and "Leda and the Swan," where, among other things, I pointed out that Yeats was making a parallel between Zeus as a Swan raping Leda and God as a Dove having sex with Mary, but you know, I didn't say it, Yeats did, so, and anyway it was germane to the lecture, jeez, what babies) and assigning too much reading (what? in a literature class? Say it isn't so!).

But on the whole, they're fine, I reckon.

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