How can I evaluate my courses?
In week 5, you can provide indicative feedback on each course through IS Academia. You will be asked a single question, inquiring about how the teaching has been up to this point in the semester on a scale of 1 to 4, and you have the option to add a comment.
At the end of the semester, you can give your opinion through in-depth feedback directly on Moodle. Several questions will be posed, each associated with a score, and you’ll have the opportunity to provide comments at the end.
What is the purpose of course evaluations?
In short, it’s to improve the courses.
Indicative feedback gathers concrete data to address issues in courses as quickly as possible. The goal is not to find immediate solutions to all problems but rather to identify the courses that need attention during the semester and make specific improvements, often related to the course’s organization but not limited to that: they could also involve the way the course is taught, the format of exercises, and more. Class representatives discuss the results of indicative feedback with the professors and their section in the Teaching Committee. Courses with more than 30% negative feedback receive special attention: each of these courses is discussed in the Committee with the aim of identifying the sources of problems and finding solutions. Note that every professor is required to discuss the results of indicative feedback with their class (Article 5.4 of LEX 2.5.1). If this is not done, do not hesitate to ask for it!
In-depth feedback provides a detailed view of every aspect of a course: the difficulty of the content, the suitability of exercises for exams, the relevance of the course, etc., each have their own question. These feedbacks are aimed at improving teaching in the long term. Once again, class representatives discuss these with professors and their section in the Teaching Committee.
This course evaluation system is not always found elsewhere, so it should be taken advantage of, as it is only through this and the work of class representatives that teaching at EPFL maintains a certain level of quality.
Why is a high participation rate in course evaluations so important?
Because it gives weight to these evaluations. When a course is rated very negatively in indicative feedback but has very low participation, it opens the door for the relevant section to claim that only students who didn’t like the course filled out the indicative feedback and that others didn’t see any particular problems. This also generally undermines the accuracy of course evaluations.
Assigning a score to each course takes 30 seconds, but it makes a huge difference!
How can I ensure that my feedback is taken into account?
Indeed, you can leave a comment for each course, both in indicative feedback and in-depth feedback, in addition to the scores.
Constructive feedback and specific improvement suggestions are always appreciated by professors. Also, when a course is good, don’t hesitate to specify what makes it a good course: this gives the instructor an indication of what should not be changed in the course, according to you.