Student evaluations of faculty have become as a much a staple of the college experience as the irritating Scantron sheets that they’re distributed on. Today most students fill them out, forget about them, and proceed to rely on word of mouth for professors critiques.
But before their heyday in higher education, student evaluations actually began as an informal business venture– produced by students for students in the 1960s. During the past few years a handful of web sites harboring the same grassroots concept have popped up, such as My Professor Sucks and Rate My Professor. However, as many critics of the sites are quick to point out, anyone, whether they are enrolled in a professor’s course or not, can post comments and ratings on such sites.
The way MU students view teaching evaluations may soon be changing. Michael Devaney, an MU Faculty Council member, announced Oct. 18 that teaching evaluations are scheduled to be posted on-line for student use by Fall 2009. Between now and then research will be gathered about teaching evaluations and their effectiveness. The research will aid in making decisions such as what type of information will and will not be included in the on-line evaluations and whether or not students would need their pawprints and passwords to access the evaluations.