Creating Custom Course Evaluations

Many instructors want more feedback on their teaching than the end of semester evaluations provide.  CTL has several options for instructors interested in creating alternative forms as well as several banks of questions that instructors might use.

The CFI system allows instructors to create a customizable and confidential online form.  Instructors can use the CFI form anytime during the semester between the end of the add period through the second to last week of class.

Click here to start a CFI.

Or read more about creating a CFI here.

Instructors may want to create their own forms using paper forms (that students can fill out during class) or other online survey tools. Instructors hoping to use these questions should:

  1. Select questions according to the focus of your class or your concerns about your teaching.
  2. Use only a few questions (6 or fewer).  
  3. Try to balance general questions with more specific questions about your course.
  4. Change words or to combine questions or to drop out parts of questions to more accurately reflect your course and interest.

 

Penn's Question Bank hard copy 

Overall

  • Evaluate the quality of your own work in this course.   What have you done well?  What could you do to improve your learning?
  • What has the instructor done that has helped you learn?  What specific advice would you have for this professor about things he or she could do to help you learn better?
  • Has this been a valuable course for you to take?  Why or why not?
  • Does the instructor teach in a manner such that students like you can succeed?  What do they do (or not do) that you feel sends that message?

Organization

  • How is the course organized?  Is there anything about the organization of the course that helps or hinders your learning?
  • What does the instructor do to help you better understand the organization of the course? How does the he or she make connections between different class periods, assignments and readings?  
  • How does the instructor help you understand what are the most important points within class?  Could they do anything differently?

 

Interest and Enthusiasm

  • What have you found most interesting about the course so far?  
  • How has the professor shown his or her interest in the subject?
  • Are you as interested in the course as you were at the start of the semester?  Why or why not?

 

Readings and Course Materials

  • Which of the readings and/or assigned materials have been most useful and least useful to your learning?  What changes would you make in the reading materials?  
  • How has the professor’s use of audio-visual materials (films, PowerPoint presentations and so on) helped you understand the subject of this course? What changes might help you learn better?
  • Do course handouts help you understand the course material?  Why or why not?

 

Accessibility

  • Do you find the professor accessible?  Why or why not?
  • How comfortable do you feel asking questions in class?  How comfortable do you feel asking outside of class?  What has the professor done to encourage or discourage questions?

 

Assignments and Grading

  • Have assignments in this course allowed you to demonstrate what you have learned?  How?
  • Which course assignments have helped you understand the topic or stimulated you to be more interested in the topic?  Which assignments have been least interesting?
  • What has the instructor done to communicate their grading standards?  Do you feel you understand those standards?  Why or why not?
  • Do you feel grades have been assigned fairly?  Why or why not?
  • Has the feedback the instructor provided on assignments been helpful?  Do you have a clear sense of your strengths in this class?  Do you have a sense of what steps you need to take to improve?  

 

Challenge

  • Have you found this course challenging?  Why or why not?
  • Do you feel the instructor’s standards for this level of course are appropriate and realistic?   If the course has been challenging, how has the instructor helped you?  What else could they do to help?
  • Have you found that this course challenged your usual ways of thinking?  In what ways?

 

Technology

  • Did the instructor’s use of technology enhance your understanding of the course?  Why or why not?
  • Do you have specific suggestions about how the instructor could have used technology more effectively?
  • Do you feel the instructor’s use of interactive technology (like Canvas discussion groups or Piazza) has helped you better understand course materials?   Explain.
  • How has the professor’s use of PowerPoint presentations helped or hindered your learning?  
  • How has the professor’s use of Canvas helped or hindered your learning?  

 

Questions for Lecture Classes

  • What does the instructor do in lecture that helps you learn?  Do they do anything that hinders your learning?
  • Do the lectures seem clear and well organized?  Can you easily follow the lecture or outline it?  What changes would you suggest the instructor make so that their main points are clearer?
  • What does the instructor do during lecture to engage students in the material the instructor is presenting?  What else could they do to make the lectures more engaging and interesting?
  • What does the instructor do to make abstract concepts clear and relevant?  What else could they do to help you understand abstract ideas?
  • Comment on the delivery of the lecture.   Are the lectures ever too fast or too slow?  Is the instructor’s voice loud enough?

 

Questions for Lab Classes

  • How has the lab enhanced your understanding of the topic?
  • What has the instructor done to help you feel prepared for lab?  What else might they do?
  • What has your instructor done during lab experiments that has helped you learn from experiments?  What else could your instructor do?

 

Questions for Classes that Focus on Problem-Solving

  • Did the problems the instructor worked in class prepare you for working other problems on your own? Why or why not?
  • Did the homework for this class prepare you to work problems on the exams?  Why or why not?

 

Questions for Discussion-Oriented Classes

  • Have you found discussion useful and engaging?  What has the professor done to encourage or discourage discussion?
  • Do class discussions help you understand the key ideas of the course?  How?
  • Were discussions open enough that everyone had a chance to speak?  
  • How do you prepare for class discussion?  What could the professor do to help you feel more prepared?
  • How open was the class to a variety of different student experiences and perspectives?  What did the instructor do or not do to facilitate this kind of open discussion?

 

Questions for Classes Using Team or Group Work

  • Has group work enhanced your understanding of this course’s material?  Why or why not?  
  • What guidance and support did the professor offer your group? Was it valuable? What else could the professor have done to help you learn from the group project?

 

These questions were developed from other question banks including:

Questions from Princeton's McGraw Center

Questions from Berkeley's Center for Teaching and Learning

Questions from the University of Michigan's Office of Examinations and Evaluations