Introducing student evaluations

View the slides and video below to better understand the student evaluation system.

Student Evaluation Slides 2018 in PowerPoint

Student Evaluation Slides 2018 in PDF

Why complete evaluations?
University of Otago student evaluations give you the opportunity to provide confidential feedback about your learning experience. Teachers and administrators take honest and constructive feedback seriously. The more students who complete these questionnaires, the louder the student voice, and the more seriously it is taken.

  • Teachers use your feedback to monitor and improve both their courses and their teaching.
  • Heads of department use your feedback to monitor the teaching and learning across a department.
  • The wider university uses your feedback to monitor the overall quality of courses and inform decisions about promotions and job confirmation.
Providing feedback
Feedback is a vital part of any learning experience, as much for teachers as it is for students. For teachers to take feedback seriously and work on improving their teaching and courses, the criticisms must be constructive. Ensure open-ended comments:

  • are respectful (for detail, see code of student conduct and ethical behaviour policy),
  • are illustrated with examples,
  • address aspects of teaching and courses that are positive as well as those that need improvement, and
  • offer alternative solutions.

Comments about personal traits often elicit strong emotions and thus should be made with sensitivity. Focus your constructive comments on behaviours that can be improved.

While a teacher clearly has control over many of the factors that influence the quality of the teaching and the course, in many instances that influence is shared with the students and the administrators. By thinking about who is in a position to change problem areas, or maintain successful practices, it can help you frame your comments usefully. When possible, make suggestions from the student perspective as to actions that the teacher or administrators could take to help improve the situation.

Who reads the results?
The Evaluation team exists independently from the academic departments that request student evaluation services. They aggregate all responses and thereby conceal individual identities, though written comments are reported unedited. This aggregated report is then returned to relevant individuals such as lecturers and department heads. The wider university also uses student responses aggregated at department and division levels to identify and respond to common threads in student opinions.

The Evaluation team understands that the confidential service that they provide is integral to students providing honest and clear feedback. As such, this confidentiality is guaranteed within the limits of the law. A limited public safety exception to the normal duty to confidentiality will only be considered in light of a clear, serious, and imminent risk of bodily harm or death to an identifiable group or person.
How to complete an evaluation
You will receive an email for each evaluation from evaluation@otago.ac.nz. You can also visit My Questionnaires to see if you have evaluations to complete. Be aware however, that this list will only show evaluations send directly to 'otago.ac.nz' email addresses, and not ones redirected from another email (eg., Gmail).

Evaluations can have up to 30 questions and will normally only take a few minutes (think of the time that your teacher takes to provide you feedback).
Who are we?
EVALUATION Research&Development
University of Otago
65/75 Union Place West
Dunedin 9054, New Zealand

Google Maps
(03) 479 7581
evaluation@otago.ac.nz
The Evaluation team provides staff and students with advice, and support on the University’s evaluation process.

Independent from faculty staff, the Evaluation service is responsible for administering the University’s system to collect student feedback on courses and teachers. Our goal is to process and report on student feedback in a timely fashion, while maintaining student confidentially.