Faculty council approves new course evaluation service

Beyond the prior grades professors have given, students will be able to find out how involved the instructor is and how much time a class might take using an online database.

“The fact of the matter is students use this information,” said Dennis Groth, interim vice provost for undergraduate education.

This online course evaluation was approved at a Bloomington Faculty Council meeting.
Both the database and questionnaire are part of IU’s Online Course Questionnaire Policy, which was approved in 2012.

“I think that the real benefit to students of these questions, which we’re asking, is to really assess how much time a student is going to spend in a given class so that they can better accommodate other classes in their schedule,” IU Student Association president Jose Mitjavila said.

IU will provide only aggregate data and distribution, excluding students’ general comments, Groth said.

“We just want to see answers to the qualitative questions,” Mitjavila said.   

The issue was raised that this database might not be useful to students who have to take a required course that only offers one option in time and professor.

“From a student perspective, even in a vacuum with no other options, there would still be utility in the availability of this information in the sense that it would help students manage expectations for their semester,” said Chris Coffman, Graduate and Professional Student Organization president.

IU’s Open Access policy was also discussed at the meeting. The Library Committee of the Bloomington Faculty Council researched open access to make a recommendation to the BFC as to whether IU should adopt an active open access policy.

The committee did not recommend an active policy, said Jason Jackson, Library Committee chair.

IU currently has a passive policy in which professors can publish their articles open access if they prefer.

“Our concern, instead, was open access that’s achieved through the deposit of scholarly articles and manuscripts into a repository, such as IU Scholar Works,” Jackson said.

Amendments to the common calendar were also proposed and put to a vote.

Every motion was passed unanimously.

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