Course Evaluations and Student Evaluations, and the Types of Questions to Consider when Planning Your Course or Student Questionnaire

Course evaluations and student evaluations are a good way to gain valuable information about the quality and quantity of information students are receiving from your course or program.  These surveys can help you to evaluate professors, curriculum, and other factors, that can ensure your students are receiving the desired results from their enrollment.  Many learning centers use student evaluations to improve and expand programs and to be certain their staff is appropriately skilled in providing the quality course materials that students expect.

There are many ways to approach the course evaluation.  The type of questions you ask will have a direct effect on the information you receive.

The Two Types of Questions in a Course Evaluation:

1)      Open Questions – An open box is provided for the answer

Example Open Question:  If you were to recommend this course to others, what would be the main reason for your recommendation?”__________________________________________________

2)      Closed Questions – A set of predefined answers with check boxes are provided

Example Closed Question:  “Would you recommend this course to others”

                                                                Yes______

                                                                No______

Closed Question Hybrid – Closed questions with multiple choice answers

Example Closed Hybrid Question:  “If you answered yes, you would recommend this course to others, please check all that apply.”

____I would recommend this course to others because the professor is knowledgeable on the subject matter.

____I would recommend this course to others because the course materials were well selected

____I would recommend this course to others because of the location and/or time of the class.

 When selecting your open vs. closed questions, it is important to determine if you are looking for qualitative (words and opinions) or quantitative data (numbers).   Open questions will give you qualitative, whereas, a closed question is generally quantitative.  Understanding the types of questions will help you to create the course evaluation or student evaluation that best suits your informational needs.

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