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FAS Seeks to Pilot New Course Evaluation System This Spring

University Hall
University Hall.
Starting next semester, some students might find themselves rating their courses on a different evaluation platform set to replace the “Q Guide,” the Faculty of Arts and Sciences’ current course evaluation system.

Last year, an FAS committee chose a new course evaluation platform provider, “Blue,” which the College’s Office of Undergraduate Education intends to eventually replace the “Q Guide.” Currently, the Q Guide allows students to evaluate their courses and instructors through a series of multiple choice questions and open-ended responses.

Elisabeth L. Laskin, assistant dean of undergraduate education, is seeking faculty members in the Arts and Humanities and Social Sciences divisions who will agree to pilot the Blue platform in spring 2019.

“These scores will not be immediately accessible by students in following years,” Laskin wrote in an email, citing the potential change in response rate and the lack of data for benchmarking.

In addition to the push by the Undergraduate Education office to convince professors to pilot the system, the Undergraduate Council is soliciting student input on the course evaluation system redesign. The Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning is hosting focus group sessions for undergraduates to provide feedback on the redesign of the Q Guide.

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Some UC representatives involved in the redesign feedback process are encouraging student participation because they said they believe undergraduate perspectives will play an important role in revising the old system.

“Providing input into matters that affect us and our education is extremely important, and I hope to be able to provide that as well as to hear from fellow students and administrators.” Jungyeon Park ’20, an Undergraduate Council representative, wrote in an emailed statement.

According to Park, undergraduate interest in providing feedback on the Q Guide was greater than initial expectations, which led the UC to add focus group sessions.

“There were initially three planned, but they were filled very quickly,” wrote Park. “We added an additional two focus groups so that more students can partake in them.”

Jenny Y. Gan ’22, another UC representative involved in the redesign, said the Q Guide changes come at a time when other undergraduate academic changes may be afoot. FAS has also recently explored the elimination of “Shopping Week,” a Harvard tradition that allows College students to walk in and out of class for a week before ultimately enrolling in courses.

“Since the future of Shopping Week is in jeopardy, this Q Guide renewal is critical,” Gan said. “People are going to rely on it more if we no longer have Shopping Week to test out classes.”

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