Course surveys are getting a “1” on student’s lists

surveyIs there a way to make surveys more productive and helpful?

With only a few short weeks remaining in the spring 2016 semester, students at Minnesota State University, Mankato are feeling the pressures of finals. What’s ironic is that between the workload of the end of the term and gulps of scalding coffee, students are expected to complete course surveys.

For those who are unfamiliar with these (which I am guessing is few to none), course surveys are a simple form that students complete, letting professors and administration know how the students thought the course went. Some basic categories are comments on the professor, grading procedure, use of class time, and other topic relating to the efficiency of class.

Course surveys are given to students in one of two ways: print or online. This choice provides flexibility for professors when distributing the survey.

Despite the logical need for end of course surveys, its effectiveness is something that should be called into question.

We have all pretty much been in a class that has given a hard-copy survey. You know, the ones that are brought into the class with a manila envelope. Personally, I always found it humorous when the professor would leave the room just for students to fill out their forms, and even more humorous that one selected student had to bring the top-secret envelope up to the department office.

While there are those that determinedly fill out the entire comment section, most of us give a blasé answer, never being to extreme on either end of the spectrum. Three this, three that…maybe a four or a two here or there…

This type of attitude is not good for the departments that are seeking to improve. Students (myself included) fall victim to this survey trap.

I guess the only real solution to getting better surveys is having better survey takers. We must all try to do out best while completing surveys.

It is a sad fact that students put surveys on the back burner, but it’s hard to blame them. With our brains basically shutting down at this point of the year, it’s easy to blow them off. I think that if students somehow saw the impact and results form their surveys, maybe they may be more inclined to fill them out more carefully.

Overall, surveys have their kinks, and I doubt there has ever been a time when they have been perfect. But regardless of your stance on surveys or the amount of time you spend on them, please do complete them. Your comments could help make courses better for students in the future.

Good luck on finals and surveys!

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