Traditional course evaluations suspended for the semester


Photo credit: Jeremy Stanton

Briana Ryan, News Editor

As a result of the campus closure due to COVID-19, Marywood University will suspend the use of traditional student evaluations for Spring 2020 courses.

According to Provost Dr. Susan Turell, one reason for the suspension was the differences in online teaching experience among faculty.

“We know that with the change coming so abruptly mid semester it’s difficult for everyone involved,” said Turell. “The faculty have done a really great job of trying to convert to a more virtual learning experience but most of them have never taught in a virtual way before.”

Faculty Senate President Kate O’Connor said another reason the issue was brought up to the administration is because of the range of circumstances that students now find themselves in.

“Part of the reason we brought this up to administration was because even students in classes that were slated to be taught online may now be in a totally different predicament,” said O’Connor.

According to O’Connor, a task force looked at what other universities were doing and took in to account research done by the rank and tenure committee when making the decision. After this move, the task force recommended that the university suspend the feedback for teaching evaluations.

O’Connor said that despite this suspension she recognizes the value for faculty to have their course evaluated by students.

“Every time personally as a faculty member I get feedback, I’m able to better design and adjust my delivery the next time I teach that class,” said O’Connor.

According to O’Connor one of the ways faculty members could include an evaluation component in their courses is through an evaluation tool available on Moodle.

Turell said the university is also asking students to complete the Academic Continuity Survey.

“We want students’ voices to be heard but we also weren’t sure about how much weight to put on that for this semester because there were so many other variables,” said Turell.

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Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that students could complete the Online Learning Self-Assessment form to provide feedback on their online learning experience. The mechanism for students to provide such feedback is the Academic Continuity Survey, not the Online Learning Self-Assessment form.