Online Student Ratings of Instruction

By D. Lynn Sorenson; Trav D. Johnson | Go to book overview

10
Online Evaluations of Teaching: An
Examination of Current Practice and
Considerations for the Future

As the World Wide Web becomes an integral part of
higher education, universities must determine the
viability of using the Internet for their student
evaluation systems. This chapter highlights important
online-student-rating issues raised in this volume and
in other research.

Christina Ballantyne

Over the past fifty years, the world has seen huge changes in the use of technology. In many ways, higher education has been in the forefront of these changes. The development of the Internet over the past ten years, in particular, has resulted in new challenges for education. As universities and colleges move toward flexible modes of study, students have access to education whenever and wherever they choose.

Student evaluations of teaching have also experienced this technological shift. The move to online student surveys is currently an issue for many institutions. At Murdoch University in Perth, Western Australia, online evaluations of teaching have been used in targeted areas for four years. This chapter examines the Murdoch experience and reviews the experiences of other universities discussed in this volume.

Looking toward the future, Murdoch University, like many other institutions in the current global education marketplace, is moving toward a flexible learning environment where students select how and when they study. This introduces new challenges for the evaluation of teaching and courses. When there is no requirement for students to come to classes, the “captive audience” is lost. Is setting up an online evaluation system the way forward? If so, how do universities ensure that students respond? On the other hand, if the learning environment is to be truly flexible, evaluations also need to be flexible. Students, therefore, should have the opportunity to respond in class or online, a situation that may introduce new problems (for example, multiple response modes increase the possibility of duplicate

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