Course evaluations were adopted by Ewha in 1994 to take advantage of student opinions to improve the quality of classes and to further the competitiveness of the academics program. However, some Ewha students are still unfamiliar with its detail. One question many students have is whether anonymity is guaranteed, and another question some ask is how professors actually use their evaluations.
Park Cha-yeon (Pharmacy, 1) said, “I make it a rule to do course evaluations, since students who do them can receive their grades faster than students who do not. However, sometimes, the comments that I write are somewhat limited—out of fear that my name might be disclosed. Additionally, do the professors actually take pains to read all those hundreds of evaluation comments?”
Chung Ye-sun, a staff at the Registration Office, said, “The course evaluation system completely guarantees anonymity. Although the evaluation process takes place through the students’ ID numbers on the Ewha Portal Information System, this is only for the convenience of the students in choosing to evaluate the classes that they have taken. The contents of the evaluation are separated from the students’ personal data, before they are recorded or computed.”
Whether the course evaluation system actually has any influence is also a question. Chung answered. “The course evaluation system plays a big role in rewarding full time professors and part time instructors every semester. In the case of poor lecture evaluation results, part time lecturers cannot teach in the following semester. Professors are also highly influenced by the course evaluation system since the evaluations are included in their teaching achievement results,” said Chung.
The results of the course evaluations are also sent to the college president and college deans. The results can be a direct stimulus for the professors too.
Professor Kim Ae-ryung (Philosophy) who teaches the course, The World and Symbolic Meaning, Understanding of Artistic Expression, said, “I really take the opinions of students from the evaluations into serious consideration because, in cases like my classes where hundreds of students are present, the lack of communication often becomes a serious problem.” Kim recalls that, when students questioned whether the textbooks and assignments she used for class were necessary, it made her realize that she had to fully explain the meaning and significance of her assignments when giving them out.Kim added that professors also are disappointed when students don’t take the evaluations seriously. Kim said, “The most perplexing comment I read was from a student who said that classes like mine should be abolished. Professors all make their best attempts to reflect student evaluations in their classes, so I think students must also take the responsibility to give sincere opinions, rather than personal feelings, when they do the course evaluations at the end of every semester.”