Course Evaluations

Course Evaluations


When I was a student, I remember wondering how much other students enjoyed (or didn't enjoy) a class I was considering taking; whether they got anything out of the class; whether it was a tough class; and so on.

When I was an instructor at Washington University in St. Louis, I ran across what I thought was a neat-o idea from the standpoint of the students (and the faculty -- at least indirectly). Each semester hundreds of booklets appeared all over campus. These little books contained the student-evaluations and selected comments for the previous semester courses.

Because I would have appreciated this sort of thing when I was a student, I decided to make something like it available to students for the classes that I teach here at RMU.

Two things differ between what I am providing to you and what I remember seeing at Washington University. First, the forms currently used by RMU are not student-comment-friendly (so I have put together my own "comments" form that I use every-so-often). Second, in order to give the evaluation scores some perspective, I have included information about the final grade-distribution for all of the classes.

When examining the average scores, keep in mind that course evaluations are sometimes not very accurate for at least three reasons:

  1. Students can use the evaluation to vent some frustration out on an undeserving professor. In this case, negative scores may be exaggerated for effect.

  2. Students may just want to get the evaluation over with and so might not put any real thought behind their responses.

  3. Occasionally students get caught up in less relevant aspects of the experience (such as the professors use of candy-happies, sense-of-humor, etc.) and so may score a course and the professor more highly than deserved.

My evaluations probably reflect all of these (and probably other factors as well) to some degree or another... Generally, though, the larger the number of people evaluating the course, the more likely these things tend to average out in the end.

Yeah, yeah... whatever, let's see those evaluations:

     General Psychology PSYC 1010Twenty sections taught. UPDATED October 2010
     Methods in Behavioral Research PSYC 3100Eight sections taught. UPDATED October 2010
     Sensation & Perception PSYC 3250Four sections taught. UPDATED September 2007
     Psychology of Learning PSYC 3400One section taught. UPDATED October 2010
     Cognitive Psychology PSYC 3450Eight sections taught. UPDATED October 2010
     Human Growth & Development PSYC 3550Two sections taught. UPDATED Jan 2003
     Social Psychology PSYC 3600Three sections taught. UPDATED Jan 2003
     Psychology of Paranormal Beliefs PSYC 3630Three sections taught. UPDATED June 2005
     Theories of Learning & Instruction EDUC 6010Thirteen sections taught. UPDATED May 2006
     Quantitative Research Methods EDML 8240Two sections taught. UPDATED August 2007
[I have taught 1,770 different students at RMU since Fall-2001]