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Guest Post: Custom Teaching Evaluations at Temple University

December 17, 2013

Howard WeissOur Guest Post today comes from Prof. Howard Weiss. Howard has developed both POM for Windows and Excel OM, which we provide free with our OM texts.

At Temple U., as at most colleges, we have long distributed course evaluations to students at the end of the semester. These evaluations include general questions about the quality of the instructor, the value of the course, the workload in the course and include opportunities for students to provide general comments. There are two glaring difficulties with these evaluations. Possibly due to Temple’s size, the results are not presented back to the faculty members until after the start of the spring semester. This makes it difficult to make adjustments in time for the spring semester based on fall results. More recently, a new difficulty has arisen. The university evaluations are performed on the web, and the response rate has dropped greatly.

For some time now, I have been giving my students my own evaluation, with questions that are much more specific than those on the university forms. I ask them about the course requirements and the weights that they think should be assigned to each requirement. I ask about the use of Excel in the classroom. I allow my students to use either POM for Windows, Excel OM, or both for homework and exams, and I ask them if I should continue to do so or require only one of the 2 packages. I ask about the value of preparing their presentations for my class, the value of actually presenting and the value of listening to classmates’ presentations.

Of course, I also ask about the use of MyOMLab in the class. Once again this fall, the students have overwhelmingly endorsed MyOMLab.  100% of students who responded to my survey agreed that MyOMLab should continue to be used for homework and quizzes. And 84%  wrote that I should continue to use MyOMLab for the exams. These results are very consistent with surveys from previous years.

I like having my own survey with specific feedback and receiving the feedback in time to prepare for the next semester. Do you agree?

3 Comments leave one →
  1. December 18, 2013 9:58 pm

    Howard, thank you for the feedback. Glad to hear the students really like MyOMLab. My personal feelings about student evaluations are a bit more negative. Colleges I taught at gave much too high credence to the end-of-semester ratings when it was time for promotion and tenure. I think the best way to rate an instructor is to have a few colleagues visit classes on a regular basis and provide feedback and advice.

  2. Lynn A. Fish, Ph.D. permalink
    February 28, 2014 2:38 pm

    Similar to Dr. Weiss, I also give end of the semester surveys that are my own (on top of the school online survey). Since they are not the generic ones conducted by the University, the questions I include help me to modify and improve my courses. Over several semesters, over 50% of the graduate and undergraduate students are happy with myOMlab. Many students note issues with the program, such as the required number of decimals. However, most indicated that they were able to overcome the ‘minor’ problems.

    • February 28, 2014 2:51 pm

      Lynn, Jay and I are happy to hear that your students are happy with MyOMLab. We truly think it is the pedagogical tool that will drive learning and assessment in the coming decade. Keep us posted!

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