Course evaluation report approved by UW senate

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The University of Waterloo senate approved the Course Evaluation Report and Recommendations during the Sept. 18 senate meeting.

The report was brought from Course Evaluation Project Team (CEPT) to give recommendations on how course evaluations should be conducted on campus to best maximize effectiveness and efficiency.

CEPT was started in 2014 to address problems associated with course evaluations and give direction on the manners in which to best shape the process.

Currently, each faculty has a different course evaluation process and methods of collecting data.

These course evaluations tools were developed in the ‘80s and do not reflect current approaches to assess learning experiences.

According to Feds VP Education Andrew Clubine, CEPT “spent the last three and a half years looking at how course evaluations are done on this campus, how [it’s] done on other campuses, and asking how [CEPT] can improve how [they] currently do course evaluations.”

“What the committee has come up with is a set of recommendations that standardizes everything — that gives a certain set of questions that are standard to courses, a certain set of questions that are standard to the faculty, and [to] the class,” Clubine said.

“This makes the course evaluations easier to fill out on the students’ side, but also easier to collect data and compare across the university.”

With the endorsement of the Course Evaluations Report, the senate will move forward with changing the course evaluation process.

“With senate’s approval, phase two of this project goes underway, and that’s really implementation,” said Clubine.

“You may have seen [the] Evaluate system start to get used on campus, and that will slowly become the cornerstone of how course evals are done.”

The process will begin as soon as each faculty selects a student to champion a group responsible for implementation of the updated evaluation mechanisms.

The group will deal with questions and concerns of the student body as the changes take place.

“This report getting endorsed by students is really a big milestone,” said Clubine.

“[They] have been asking for this and Feds have been pushing for this for a long time and it’s really encouraging to see support from across the university in recognizing that quality teaching is important here.”

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