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Optical Scanning Web Eval Memo

M E M O R A N D U M

DATE:                November 13, 2003

TO:                    HSU Provost’s Council

FROM:                Gretchen Newsom for

The Associated Students

SUBJECT:            Review and Commentary on Optical Scanning of Course

Evaluations and Grade Reports

On behalf of the Associated Students Council, I wish to convey that the Associated Students is supportive of the recommendations within the report on the Future of Optical Scanning of Course Evaluations and Grade Reports.  The switch to online course evaluations yields many positive aspects including, but not limited to, saving money, reducing our environmental impact by decreasing paper usage, and increasing accessibility to course evaluations.  The concept of online course evaluations does generate some negative aspects as outlined in the recommendations from the ad-hoc committee. However, after carefully considering this matter we are affirmed in our belief that grade reporting and course/instructor evaluations should be conducted online.

Associated Students strongly opposes a coercive approach in yielding a fair sample of online faculty/course evaluations.  We acknowledge that in order to convince students of the importance of RTP evaluations, an education campaign must be conducted.  We will actively support this campaign if the online faculty evaluations are combined with the Associated Students Webevals via the optional dual survey instrument.

The A.S. WebEval system is meant to aid students in the selection of classes by providing a means to see the opinions of fellow students concerning our faculty, including but not limited to teaching style, subject matter, grading, etc. This program was implemented two years ago, and has generated over 1600 anonymous evaluations.  Of the 1600 evaluations, only one was censored due to unsavory commentary.  The majority of comments are positive in nature, but in order to protect the interest of faculty members while also serving the greater needs of students, we have closed the viewing of these evaluations from beyond the immediate campus.  We feel that this is a successful forum for student commentary on our education while also providing an important tool for our academic pathway. For questions or concerns about the Associated Students Webevals program, please contact me or visit http://www.humboldt.edu/~aseval.

Furthermore, the Associated Students feels that students should not be presented with a list of outstanding on-line course evaluations as part of the registration process.  This action seems to be counter to the effort of yielding a fair and accurate evaluation.  However, we are supportive offering a reminder during the registration process of the importance of these evaluations.  We are also in strong agreement that questions within the course evaluations should have uniformity within the college, or at the very least by each department.  The scale of evaluation should be uniform throughout the entire University.

I encourage your consideration and support of the above requests and recommendations.  I would be pleased to discuss this matter with you in detail and answer any questions.  Thank you for your consideration.

cc:            President Rollin Richmond

                Provost, Rick Vrem

                Vice President of Student Affairs, Steven Butler