How to Write a Course Evaluation

Use course evaluations to tell instructors exactly how you feel without fear of reprisal.
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Criticism and honest feedback are valuable tools for helping people to improve on their performance. Course instructors are not exemptions to this rule. If you are interested in helping your instructors improve on their teaching abilities or simply want to tell them about how you feel, then filling out a course evaluation form is the way to do it. Although there are no consequences for writing a course evaluation incorrectly, there are definitely good and not so good methods for completing such evaluations.

Fill in the correct name for the course and the correct name for the instructor. There is no point in completing the course evaluation if you cannot get the information to the right person. If you are unsure about either piece of information, check with other people in the course or consult the curriculum.

Go through the rankings and fill them out. Don't let any single event you experienced during the course to unduly influence your decision and try to judge the course as a whole. Be honest about your rankings. If you feel that the course was only adequate in covering its intended subject matter, rank that accordingly rather than giving a higher ranking to be polite.

Comment on what you feel was good about the course and why you feel this way. Be honest, be direct and be concise. Don't spend too much time describing what aspects you considered good because it is more important that you communicate your reasons for feeling that way. Knowing their strong points will help your instructors refine their teaching methods for the future.

Comment on what aspects of the course need improvement. Be professional, be informative and try to adopt a neutral perspective. For example, if the instructor assigned homework that was designed to get you to analyze and thus better understand the material, complaining that the homework was pointless might not be an effective complaint. However, that does not mean you can't complain about there being too much homework if the homework burden for the course is indeed higher than average for courses at the same general level. Above all else, remember that being polite can help get the message across while being insulting will simply cause the person who is being insulted to clam up.

Alan Li started writing in 2008 and has seen his work published in newsletters written for the Cecil Street Community Centre in Toronto. He is a graduate of the finance program at the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Commerce and has additional accreditation from the Canadian Securities Institute.