Student evaluation of courses
What is it and who provides the evaluations?
Evaluation of teaching for individual courses is one of the main instruments in educational process quality assessment. Courses are evaluated by their direct participants, students, who provide indispensable feedback to the teacher(s), the heads of their departments and also the management of the entire faculty. The management of the faculty, heads of departments and individual teachers are able, thanks to the information provided by the evaluations, to systematically improve the quality of teaching. Feedback is not only important for improvement of pedagogical activities, but also encourages open communication within the faculty and improves the quality of education.
Evaluation of courses is part of the quality management system at Palacký University. The aim is to obtain information on the quality of courses, on the compliance of their particular content with the content described in their annotations, on the educational methods used in classes, and the lecturer’s approach. All this information is of great importance as it enables continuous improvement of the quality of education. The evaluation includes all the courses which are taught.
What is evaluated?
The evaluation focuses on the course of study and is not meant to be a questionnaire on the qualities of the individual teachers, although the evaluation of the courses also demonstrates, to a considerable extent, the evaluation of those who are responsible for them.
When to evaluate?
The evaluation of the classes takes place twice in each academic year – once for the winter term and once for the summer term. The starting and ending dates are established for each term. The evaluation period usually begins at the end of the term being evaluated and ends at the beginning of the following term, or at the summer holidays.
How to evaluate?
Evaluations are completed with the new quality evaluation system which will be available as a new application in Portal UP (https://portal.upol.cz).
Before the evaluation begins, the system generates a set of questionnaires for each student based on the courses registered in IS STAG. The questionnaires can be completed within the dates when the evaluation system is available (i.e. during the evaluation period).
Students do not need to log in to be able to complete the questionnaires.
Is the anonymity of the student providing the evaluation guaranteed?
Many students in the past were concerned that they might be punished for their honesty after submitting a negative evaluation of a course, and that their anonymity was not guaranteed. The university consequently developed this new study evaluation system which is designed as anonymous. Not even the application administrator can find out how the individual students evaluated the individual courses.
The only monitored information about the student is whether they have completed the evaluation or not. This requirement is necessary so that each student can only provide one evaluation. Strict anonymity is also the reason why it is impossible to amend an already submitted questionnaire. The application is unable to trace which questionnaire is yours, which is why it cannot open it again.
How will the results be used?
After the evaluation period ends, the results will be forwarded to the guarantors of the individual courses. They can provide their opinions on the evaluation which will also be made available to students. Guarantors provide their views not only of the individual questionnaires but on the evaluation in general and the range of comments. Even at this point, the lecturer will not know which student submitted the evaluation.
Is the evaluation helpful? Is anything going to change?
The evaluation is helpful. Although the changes are not immediate and often not apparent straight away, the evaluation of the quality of the courses, as anything else that is important, requires caution. Rather than demonstrating decisions based on power, there is a need to seek out possibilities for improvement. This is the approach – improving step by step – that we all at the faculty and university strive for.
Most of the issues cannot be resolved overnight and the evaluations provided by you, the students, are not always completely unbiased. If, however, the evaluation provided is repeatedly, and significantly, negative and comes not just from an individual but has been raised by a number of students, relevant steps towards improvement are always taken. In the most serious cases, the management of the faculty and departments will even take measures such as the removal of lecturing staff.
Thank you to all of you who are helping us improve the quality of studies. Your evaluation is important and helps create a better environment at UP.