Editorial: Students should take course evaluations seriously

Most of the student body has seen them before.

Those dreaded sheets passed out periodically by professors for department evaluation are looked upon as the low point of any given class.

Some students bemoan the sheets, calling them a waste of time and irrelevant to how the university functions.

Some don’t even say a word and breeze through the evaluations with arbitrary “strongly agrees” regardless of how they honestly viewed a course.

In both cases, the evaluations are regarded as the bane of student existence, supposedly hindering students’ thought and learning processes and an annoying interruption to valuable class time.

But are they really that bad?

Professors devote nine months out of the year to bettering students’ lives in the future, but that training doesn’t come without some effort from the students.

In a given semester, a student will face numerous exams and quizzes, midterm exams and papers, term papers, projects, speeches, presentations and a plethora of assignments to keep students busy.

On top of that, departments ask for the students’ opinions of courses and the assigned instructors to each course.

It’s not that difficult for a student to express his/her opinions of a course, especially since that student is guaranteed anonymity unless the student chooses otherwise.

By that logic, the student should not feel hindered to express whatever emotions and thoughts were imparted by the course. Still, students may just breeze through evaluations just to get out of class, marking every “strongly agree” bubble without conscious thought.

They may argue that the evaluations really play little, if any, part in how the department operates, but they couldn’t be more wrong.

Departments and colleges look at these reviews as the voice of the students and are therefore compelled to take each evaluation seriously.

If a student says something is wrong with a course or some manner of education was impeded by the instructor’s methods of teaching, the department can then pinpoint exactly what isn’t working and can proceed to fix the problem.

That way, future students will not have to deal with the problems previous students had encountered but failed to report through department evaluations.

If students have a problem with the course at the time evaluations are handed out, those problems should be reported for the department to fix.

Even though students may feel impeded by one sheet of paper, the five minutes it takes to fill it out is greatly beneficial to the student body now and in the future.

The editorial is the majority opinion of The DEN editorial board. Reach the opinions editor at: [email protected].