A drought of information

The SGA just passed a resolution to make end-of-semester course evaluations available to all students. If the administration does not take action, the SGA is planning to boycott course evaluations this semester. The Cynic believes that providing students with this information will be truly beneficial. As it currently stands, students are forced to rely on a 200-word blurb written about a course and RateMyProfessors.com. Having course evaluations made available to the student body would encourage students to take these questionnaires even more seriously. At the end of the semester, some students fill out the rating bubbles and maybe write one word answers to the free response sections. The faster you fill out your evaluation, the earlier you can get out of class.   If peers were going to be reading those one word answers, there would be more pressure to put thought into the evaluation and provide valuable feedback for the incoming class. It would incentivize the process — peer pressure should not be underestimated, nor should a student’s desire to help their classmates. A much larger pool of students would provide information, thus offering a more well-rounded collection of opinions. Instead of only finding outliers — in the form of extremely polarized opinions found on RateMyProfessors.com — the moderate opinions could be found too. Making evaluations completely public would also put pressure on teachers to make their classes as interesting as possible. Professors shouldn’t be coerced into making their classes easy. But professors should value whether or not their classes are enjoyable and take student criticisms seriously. A difficult class that is well-taught, interesting and relevant to one’s education will, in theory, get a good evaluation. Even without making these documents public, there will always be a student who gives a terrible review to professors, but that is an exception, not the rule. Finally, this could lead to less transferring between classes at the beginning of each semester since students would know exactly what they were signing up for. This resolution can provide students with important information that is currently missing from students’ course selection process. The administration should fill in that missing information.