FAQs on student course evaluations

  • ... for instructors

    What’s the point of evaluating my courses?
    What exactly is asked in the questionnaire?
    How long does it take to complete the survey?
    When should the evaluation take place?
    What happens with the data?
    How and when can I view the results?
    What are the results supposed to tell me?
    What do I do with the results?

    What’s the point of evaluating my courses?
    Course evaluations offer you the chance to gain representative feedback on the quality of your course from the point of view of your students. Evaluations can help you recognise your teaching strengths and weaknesses and collect helpful suggestions for conducting the course in the future.

    What exactly is asked in the questionnaire?
    The questionnaire asks students to evaluate various thematic areas. Due to the specific structure of the questionnaire, in that it consists of a core questionnaire and optional supplementary modules depending on which faculty or academic facility uses them, the content of the actual questionnaire can vary. The core questionnaire which must comprise the basis of all student course evaluations, consist of the following thematic areas:

    Core questionnaire

    • Gender and course of study
    • Instructor and teaching methods
    • Course preparation and post-preparation
    • Workload assessment
    • Overall assessment
    • Suggestion/praise/criticism

    Optional supplementary modules

    • Basic texts
    • Vocation-oriented excursion
    • Discussion
    • Feedback from instructor(s)
    • Feedback from students
    • Group work
    • Term papers
    • Homework
    • Materials
    • Moderation
    • Framework conditions
    • Oral presentations
    • Excessive workloads
    • Student statistics

    As the central coordination office for student course evaluations, Dept. 5.3 is happy to develop customised supplementary modules based on your specific needs and the insights you are interested in obtaining.

    How long does it take to complete the survey?
    The amount of time required to complete the evaluation depends on the number of supplementary modules included with the core questionnaire. In most cases, students can complete the survey within five to ten minutes. Another five minutes should be planned for handing out and collecting the forms.

    When should the evaluation take place?
    We recommend distributing the questionnaire to your students at the end of a lesson and have them collected again by an independent party shortly thereafter. In this way, the evaluation will capture the students’ concrete impression of the course in real time and a high response rate can be guaranteed. Never ask your students to fill out the questionnaire later at home as this usually has a negative impact on the response rate.

    What happens with the data?
    The data from all the returned paper questionnaires are automatically processed by the EvaSys system and stored as anonymised datasets in a database. The section administrators in the respective faculties and academic facilities are granted access to the data related to their area of responsibility and then share the results with the instructors in the form of an evaluation report.

    How and when can I view the results?
    After the questionnaires have been analysed, you will receive an individual, written report of the results as a PDF file.

    What are the results supposed to tell me?
    If you are unsure how to interpret the results of your course evaluation, don’t hesitate to contact the responsible person in your faculty or academic facility. Generally speaking, course evaluations provide you with the subjective assessment of your students. From these, you can gain insight into how participants feel about certain aspects of your course. The Centre for Teaching in Higher Education (ZHL), in particular the head of the ZHL, Prof. Dr Regina Jucks, and the support staff, can assist you with personally handling and interpreting the results.

    What do I do with the results?
    Are you interested in changing aspects of your course and would like some help? The Centre for Teaching in Higher Education (ZHL) offers consultation and advanced teaching qualification seminars. If you have any questions, please contact the head of the ZHL and her team.
    You should present and discuss the results of the evaluation in sections with your students. In this way, you demonstrate that the evaluations aren’t merely an obligatory exercise but are taken seriously by the instructors – both praise and critique alike. Use the discussion to gather other useful suggestions. You should plan to spend around 20 to 30 minutes discussing the results of the evaluation.

  • ... for students

    Why should I participate in the course evaluation?
    The course evaluation offers you the chance to provide your instructor with nuanced feedback about the quality of their course and to emphasise what you especially liked or disliked. In this way, you can help improve the quality of teaching at the University of Münster. The evaluation is not about pointing out all the weaknesses of the course to your instructor, but rather giving especially motivated and competent instructors positive, constructive feedback.

    Which courses should I evaluate?
    All the courses you regularly attended! Every instructor deserves fair feedback about the work they performed. Do not only evaluate the courses you didn’t like just so you can “pay back” your instructor with a bad review. It’s also important to evaluate the courses which you thought were especially good. And even the ones that made neither a particularly negative or positive impression on you still deserve to be evaluated.

    Is it really all anonymous?
    All the data is collected and stored in anonymous form. In other words, it is impossible to conclude your identity from your responses.
    In all the questionnaires, you are asked to provide social-demographic information concerning your gender, course of study and current semester. This data is forwarded to your instructors only in aggregated form. It is also accessible to the members of the evaluation team but is only used for group-level statistical analyses. In very specific constellations, it is possible to identify the participants of the evaluation using this data. If you are concerned that your identity could be determined (by the members of the evaluation team) due to the small number of participants in your course or its specific composition, then you need not answer these questions. You can also evaluate your courses without providing the social-demographic information about yourself.
    Most of our questionnaires contain free text fields. The responses from these fields are shared with the instructors separately from those questions with prescribed responses. If you provide a free-text response, please note your identity could be concluded from the content of your answer, or in case of paper forms, the style of your handwriting.