Committee might alter student opinion forms


Alexandra Radovic

Professors report that few students fill out end-of-semester opinion forms.

Daniel Salomon, Multimedia Producer

Although AACC professors have reported that few in their classes submit student opinion forms, they said the feedback can improve their classes next semester.

Student opinion forms are electronic surveys the college sends to students at the end of each semester to solicit their impressions of their classes and teachers.

Before the forms went online in 2010, approximately 77 percent of students filled them out on paper, Campus Current reported in 2008.

Professors used to hand out paper copies of the student opinion forms, which students could fill out during class time. Now, students must access them through MyAACC on their own time.

Some professors said this was a positive change, while others said they preferred the paper method.

“When the college moved from paper forms to digital online opinion forms, that was a really important move and done far too late, in my opinion,” Visual Arts Department Chair Matt Moore said. “It was sort of like we were in the Stone Age with those paper forms.”

But Lynda Fitzgerald, director of the AACC Dance Company, said more students filled the forms out when they were on paper.

“You would literally give them the evaluation form and leave the room and [the students] would come get you when they were done, and so you knew they were done,” she said.

Fitzgerald said students now won’t make the effort to fill them out online.

“When they’re online, it’s so easy to forget about it because when they come during that time of year the students are so overwhelmed with everything else,” Fitzgerald said. “It’s not important to them. …  They’re studying or doing whatever assignments they need to do and that’s one more thing they would have to add to their list.”

Fitzgerald added that the few reviews professors do receive tend to be either very positive or very negative.

“I only fill them out when I feel very strongly towards a professor, whether it be negative or positive,” second-year psychology student Garrett Hutchinson said. “Sometimes I feel like it doesn’t really matter … unless I feel like the professor should be evaluated either for a question of employment or a question of promotion.”

But some students said they still take the time to fill the forms out for all of their professors.

“I think it’s good feedback for a professor,” second-year nutrition student Kelley McDonough said. “They put in that time and they put in that energy to teach a really good course.”

McDonough added, “That’s why I do it, I guess, more so for hope that [professors] who do a really good job will see it and continue to do those things and those who aren’t as great will hopefully be able to [change].”

Kathleen Krueger, co-chair of a faculty committee that is considering changes to student opinion forms, said she hopes to revise some of the questions so they are more course specific and to link the surveys directly to Canvas.

“Students don’t care because they think faculty don’t care,” Krueger said. “What I do is to tell students in class, ‘Here’s changes I’ve made based on comments on student opinion forms.’”

Krueger said the forms should motivate students, because they know their opinions can lead to change.