By Thresher Editorial Board 01/25/22 11:19 PM
In August 2021, the Provost announcement instructors could now choose not to show their course evaluations to students as part of the shift to remote learning. Regardless of the circumstances, the option of hiding assessments is detrimental to students seeking to understand potential difficulties in future courses.
Although the past two years of distance learning have been “very spotty,” as the provost noted, course evaluations have continually served their purpose with students. Critiquing a distance-taught course remains relevant for students who will also need to take the course virtually, and provides a more nuanced understanding of the course as a whole. Although there are many differences between in-person and online classes, it is ultimately always the same class with the same teacher. It would be helpful for students to know if their peers have ever had trouble with a professor, found the class unorganized, or the workload overwhelming, even if those negative experiences happened when the class was online.
It will always be helpful for students to know how accommodating a professor can be, whether it’s regarding COVID or other issues such as mental health, and it’s contrary to the idea of honest reviews. peer reviews if faculty can block reviews that portray them negatively.
That being said, it goes without saying that students should not use their anonymous platform to disparage faculty. Although we have already emphasized the importance of teachers welcoming students, it is equally important that students welcome their teachers. Assessments need to contextualize that instructors may also be simultaneously dealing with pandemic-related stressors while trying to replicate an in-person learning experience. Claims such as that professors often don’t answer questions or seem to teach their class with little interest should also indicate that these changes may be the result of the move to Zoom.
Course evaluations are an extremely important tool for students, and this tool must remain truthful to be useful. Professors should not be able to hide their course evaluations because of negative representations, but it also requires that students do not abuse their power when writing evaluations.
Editor’s Note: Thresher editorials are written collectively by members of the Thresher Editorial Board. Current members include Savannah Kuchar, Ben Baker-Katz, Nayeli Shad, Talha Arif, Morgan Gage, Daniel Schrager, and Brandon Chen.