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MUSG weighs possibility of replacing current online course evaluation form

A+new+form+for+students+to+give+feedback+on+professors+was+introduced+to+MUSG+at+the+weekly+meeting+Nov.+13.+The+University+Committee+of+Teaching+has+been+considering+implementing+IDEA%2C+a+student+rating+of+instruction+system%2C+since+spring+2016.+
A new form for students to give feedback on professors was introduced to MUSG at the weekly meeting Nov. 13. The University Committee of Teaching has been considering implementing IDEA, a student rating of instruction system, since spring 2016.

A new form for students to give feedback on professors was introduced to MUSG at the weekly meeting Nov. 13. The University Committee of Teaching has been considering implementing IDEA, a student rating of instruction system, since spring 2016.

Photo by Jordan David

Photo by Jordan David

A new form for students to give feedback on professors was introduced to MUSG at the weekly meeting Nov. 13. The University Committee of Teaching has been considering implementing IDEA, a student rating of instruction system, since spring 2016.

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A new form for students to give feedback on professors was introduced to MUSG at the weekly meeting Nov. 13.

The University Committee of Teaching has been considering implementing IDEA, a student rating of instruction system, since spring 2016. Cynthia Ellwood, a clinical associate professor in the College of Education, spoke to the MUSG senate about the proposed survey.

The current system in place is the Marquette Online Course Evaluation System, and has raised concerns since its implementation in fall 2008.

MOCES has been under review along with other course evaluation surveys, including nine of the most commonly used systems at various institutions, according to a brief sent out by the University Committee on Teaching,

This new course evaluation system could be included in a dialogue involving the tenure process. Because of this, Ellwood said, “Faculty members get pretty anxious about this assessment.”

If implemented, these new surveys could impact professors’ professional standings. The survey will not directly lead to any actions regarding teacher tenure but will be taken into account when making a final decision.

The University Committee on Teaching is gathering input and reactions about the proposed system. They will report their findings to the University Academic Senate, whose job is to make recommendations by spring 2018. If all goes well, IDEA would replace MOCES by 2019-’20.

Ellwood said she is excited about the prospect of the new plan. She said the committee seeks “university wide input into this decision.”

The questions on the IDEA survey would be more focused, leading to a detailed evaluation of the professors’ teaching abilities, according to the brief. Its sole focus is learning aligned to the purpose of the overall course.

“IDEA asks students to report how much progress they felt they made toward specific learning objectives,” according to the brief. Depending on the subject matter, faculty members may identify different learning objectives for their students.

The survey also allows students to provide personalized feedback, according to the brief. The survey has an optional “instant feedback” feature, which would allow students to offer feedback as frequently as on a weekly basis.

Instructors have access to resources including videos and illustrations that center around certain education goals. Ellwood called these resources a “wealth of information.”

Although IDEA is the most widely used and researched program in the United States, Ellwood does acknowledge some downsides. She said the new survey would contain 36 questions and one open response question. This is different from MOCES, which contains 15 multiple choice questions and two open responses.

Some members of the MUSG senate were uncomfortable with the removal of one of the open response sections. Allie Bitz, the executive vice president of MUSG, said that she feels that the open response sections are often where students can elaborate on their concerns.

“Taking away an open response may be detrimental,” Bitz said.

As for the added questions, MUSG President Ben Dombrowski said he feels the added length will provide more needed data.

“I don’t think most people would mind a slightly longer survey,” Dombrowski said. “This survey is great because it’s so rich in data … The way I see it is the more questions the more data.”

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