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Happy Teaching: June 2019

Updated: Jun 9, 2019

Welcome to Happy Teaching, a subscription-based newsletter from Effective & Efficient Teaching. This month, we're discussing the dread of end of the semester course evaluation.

Yesterday a subject line in my inbox caught me off guard: “Course evaluation reports are now available.”

I am a Full Professor without a review anywhere in the near future. I shouldn’t have blinked an eye, right?

No. Just like many other faculty, course evaluations frequently fill me with dread, annoyance, anger, and confusion. And this is all BEFORE I even read them!

I am sharing my “ick” feelings about course evaluations to let you know that:

  1. You are not alone, many other faculty experience strong negative emotions about their course evaluations

  2. You are normal—it is rational and sane to feel dread since course evaluations often (incorrectly) carry a LOT of weight in our retention, tenure, and promotion reviews

  3. You have no reason to be ashamed of your course evaluation scores and comments as they often have less to do with student learning than student reactions to all manner of other things (e.g. gender, race, personality, deep learning, expected grade, etc.)

Thankfully my dread about course evaluations disappears almost immediately after it arrives because I know both how to understand and address my course evaluation scores and comments.*

To help reduce some of your course evaluation dread, this newsletter shares a couple resources to provide some context about the use of course evaluations on college campuses. It also contains a few ways to potentially think about your course evaluations and perhaps address them.

*If you want to learn to erase course evaluation dread to feel empowered---click here.



As you review these resources, some make explicit reference to the potential interplay between social statuses (e.g. gender, race), course difficulty, pedagogy.


Upcoming Events

Happy Teaching: June Live Q&A

Wednesday, June 19, 2019 11am - 12pm ET

A members only live presentation and Q&A taking your questions on course evaluations. Please fill out this form to RSVP.

Erase Course Evaluation Dread

Mondays, July 1 - July 22, 2019 11am - 12:30pm ET

A four week online program to kick the fear of course evaluations. Participants will have weekly calls and assignments to provide a better understanding of their evals, strategies to address them, and allow participants to gain confidence and feel empowered for their teaching reviews. Click here for more information and to sign up.

Teaching in No Time 2.0

Tuesdays, July 9 - July 30, 2019 3pm - 4:30pm ET

A four week online program offered to NCFDD members on the basics of planning and executing a stress-free course. At the end of this course, participants will have weekly course topics, lesson plans for the first two weeks, course assignments, and grading strategies in place. This Multi-Week Course is ideal for new or experienced teachers at research or teaching universities who want to reduce the anxiety and/or time associated with teaching. For more information and to sign up, visit NCFDD.

Stay tuned for upcoming workshops and webinars on course prep and classroom incivilities!

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