End of semester rituals are upon us

Vanessa Passo, Staff Writer

College students, not only limiting the folks of Elgin Community College, are among the time when their emails are infiltrated with messages asking for their time to complete course evaluations *Que heavy sigh*.

One of two scenarios are at play as the warm-weathered-summer-itch falls upon students:

Eyes are rolled, brief responses are lazily given, annoyances and personal dislike towards a professor may arise…

“Unless the TA or professor is really good or really bad, it doesn’t matter much and students don’t care. Also, some students give hard ratings because they don’t like the instructor as a person. Overall, they aren’t that helpful,” said previous ECC student Alyssa Saunders, now second-year student at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee.


Students are happily willing to state their opinions about the course and the professor as a way to benefit their professor, whether feelings of favor or dislike are present…

“I love course evaluations! It gives me the chance to voice how the teacher taught/how the course was ran while remaining anonymous. I always fill them out whether the professor was good or bad because I feel that they deserve to know how they’re doing as well,” said University of Kentucky third- year student Carly Stallings.

I bet you’re wondering if these things are even mandatory…

“Student evaluations are a requirement, as indicated within the contract between the faculty association and ECC’s Board of Trustees. The questionnaire is a part of the faculty member’s annual Self-Assessment and Triennial Evaluation process,” said Interim Vice President of Teaching, Learning, and Student Development Peggy Heinrich and President of the ECC Faculty Association Luis Martinez.

You heard it straight from a legit source here, folks, that yes, yes they are.

And professors are more than okay with this!

After all, they’re the major component here in this mix. Professors enjoy the response their students actually take the time to produce and were on very similar pages in response to my questioning of the topic.

Full-time Professor of Psychology Keith Lewis made no hesitation to answer my question regarding his opinion about course evaluations. “Oh, I love ‘em!”

Professor of Communication Studies Tim Anderson has a very similar response, “I personally think that they’re valuable!”

“…I enjoy reading the comments I get back from students about what they liked, what could be changed, that kind of stuff,” Anderson said. “I put value in it, I pay attention to them and look for things to change that I need to.”

Different professions of study, yet almost-identical opinions.

“I think they’re a critical part to the whole process, with regards to classes and learning,” Lewis said. “It gives me feedback from the students as to what’s working and what’s not.”

Wow…your opinions actually matter and are taken into consideration by the professor who you think is out to get you due to a difficult test or the fact that you need to publicly-speak even though you signed up for the class, barely make it on-time and scribble incoherent notes due to your sleep deprivation?? Who would have thought??


In terms of the switch to a technology-based evaluation opposed to a handwritten, in-class approach, more students may be prone to ignore or delete these emails at the simple swipe of a finger.

Therefore, it is reasonable to think a technological take on these evaluations would hinder the beneficial responses professors may receive, right? *Que imaginary nod of professors* Lewis & Anderson can reconfirm this to be true.

“Well, yes…I do see that as being a hindrance,” Lewis said. “What happens is that we don’t get as many responses. I think unfortunately with having this ‘open door’ of…ya know, they send you an email that reminds you to go do this- but it’s like, “okay well I’ll do it later and if I get involved with other things I forget about the fact that’s what I wanted to do or intended to do.” So, I don’t get much feedback ultimately from [those] people.”

Some students spill their unrelated-to-teaching-hatred for professors during this period of time of evaluating, but have no fear, ruthless students, your unknown identity is actually appreciated!

“I think certainly it’s a great way for anonymity because that way then there’s no way of knowing who’s done what. I think we had some pretty good anonymity with regards to the in-class time as well because grades were already handed in and stuff like that,” Lewis said. “So, even though I did eventually get them back and say okay I can see this person’s handwriting or recognize this from a particular person, it didn’t make any difference.”

See? Go ahead and wipe that droplet of sweat off your forehead. Your personal opinion of your professor has little to no affect on your grade! Sorry, brown-nosers.

But c’mon, guys, these evaluations really aren’t just for s—- & giggles.

“I think when students take it seriously, then there are worthwhile things that come out of it,” Anderson said. “I’ve noticed, personally, and I can’t speak for everyone else, but I’ve noticed personally that kind of changed a little bit since things have gone from paper over to online…I’ve noticed it kind of changes a little bit…the context you get back is a little different. But still, when students take it seriously and they take it for the right reasons and are trying to do it with the right frame of mind, then the information you get back can be really helpful.”

Does this surprise you college students who actually care about the quality of teaching from your professors? Probably not.

Maybe it does, but you’re probably one of those who don’t even notice the infiltration of those evaluation emails because Summer is too close to care.

With that being said, do your professors a favor and fill out your evaluations. To you, they may be time-consuming, but hey, your professor deals with you strolling into class late holding an iced coffee beverage which is the reason why you’re tardy (for which, I sincerely apologize).