Thinking about doing your course evaluation?
It happens twice a year: students get the emails from professors and posts on Avenue to Learn asking for everyone to fill out the course evaluations. It's important, according to the profs, because it helps the instructor learn how to improve the course. But have you ever wondered about where results of these evaluations go?
The “Policy on the Public Release of Students’ Ratings of Teaching Effectiveness” governs what is and is not released. Under this policy that was developed in 1997 and revised in 2013, the only answer that could go public is “how would you rate your professor overall?” And we say "could go public" because ultimately, professors have to opt-in for its release.
According to the document, "the purpose of the policy is to provide students with information that may help them to choose their courses." However, a minority of professors appear to release this information. For example, there are four course reviews for McMaster's Communications program since 2012.
Course evaluations can provide meaningful feedback for professors, but apparently, it is not important enough to share with the students who take the time to fill out the forms.