Be specific if you are looking for comments on your

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clarity, knowledge of the instructor, etc. be specific. If you are looking for comments on your teaching, make sure they are not evaluating you on the content of the course. Often the two get conflated in students’ minds. One way to get around this may be to have two different evaluations, one for the course content and the other for teaching styles. Another option may be to state clearly at the top of the evaluation what specifically you are looking for. Leave plenty of space for student comments. Inevitably, students often want to finish the evaluations as fast as possible to study or get out in the sun and play, hence the rapid circling of ‘1’ for rating every single category. It is in our nature to feel that we need to fill space if there is a large gap. If you leave a large amount of open area and ask the students to comment, they will write something. Remember, numbers don’t mean much – comments are helpful. Have a mid-term assessment. Getting feedback at the end of the semester allows you to improve your teaching the next semester. However, wouldn’t you have loved to have known what students were thinking while you were taking the course? Plan to have a mid-term evaluation some time during the course after students have gotten to know how you teach. This can be done, for example, after the add-drop period. Again emphasize that you are using the evaluations to improve on your teaching and help students learn so that the students will write helpful, constructive comments. A full evaluation form may not be necessary at this point.
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