By Stacy De Leon
At the end of each semester, students are asked to complete the IDEA Surveys to give feedback to professors on their perception of the course.
BenU uses a system called IDEA, which allows students to submit their feedback online. According to their website, the IDEA center is a non-profit organization whose mission is to serve colleges and universities committed to improve learning, teaching and leadership performance.
Just a few years ago, students were asked to fill them out during class time, but to make it easier for students, they are sent email reminders to complete the survey.
“I think there were a couple of different reasons [to have students complete the survey online instead of in class]. It makes it easier and online seems to be better and gives more detailed responses,” commented Andrew Wig associate professor and IDEA on Campus director.
Completing surveys online may be more accessible, but that doesn’t guarantee that students complete them.
“They are helpful to the faculty, but since this evaluation process went online, it is sometimes difficult to have the students actually complete the IDEA questionnaires,” said Art Collection Curator and Fine Arts Instructor Teresa Parker.
“The percentages of overall responses have lowered. I felt there was nearly 100% compliance when handouts were given out in class,” Parker added.
Students receive an email towards the end of the semester with a link to evaluate the course and the responses are sent directly to the IDEA Center. Students should remember that they would only be able to access the URL link once.
“I think it’s an opportunity to get feedback about a class. Sometimes I’m doing something in a class and its working on my end, but I want to know if it’s working for the students,” said Wig. “It’s a good way to get data points and information to improve my class and teaching.”
While some may consider the surveys effective some students disagree.
“I always fill them out, but I feel like they don’t really help because they ask really specific questions that don’t pertain to every field of study,” shared junior Jordan Cart.
“There are questions on the survey that only pertain in the class, but in the beginning of the course, the instructor has essential goals and important goals for the class. Some teach group interaction and group work and there are questions on the survey that relate to those classes,” explained Wig. “There are other survey questions that relate to working with number like in calculus class.”
“But all the questions are the same and the answers are analyzed based on the instructors goals,” added Wig.
Although the IDEA Surveys are a way for students to give their feedback, they also only serve as one piece of information to evaluate the course of a professor.
“They are one piece of information in a big picture. It’s a data point. I don’t think consistently bad surveys alone will get anyone into trouble,” shared Wig. “Consistently good surveys wouldn’t get someone a teaching award either. It’s an indication of a students perception of the classroom.”