Kudos for new teaching, course evaluation approach

November 05, 2013

The official verdict may not be in, but early response to a small-scale demonstration of a new approach to teaching and course evaluation this past summer is definitely upbeat.

“The format was super easy to use and the results are presented in a way that’s visually friendly and easy to understand,” says Becky Cox, assistant professor in the Faculty of Education and one of 14 Teaching and Course Evaluation (TCE) project proof-of-concept volunteers. “I feel really positive about the direction this is going.”  

Panayiotis Pappas, associate professor in SFU’s linguistics department, says the TCE project proof-of-concept system is not only easy to use, the information “really gets to the substance of what a university education is all about, and it’s actionable too.”

After only one day with the 18-page proof-of-concept evaluation report, Pappas was already planning changes that will enhance the teaching and learning experience in his courses.

Unlike the current paper-based system, with its one-size-fits-all questions, the emerging proposed online framework inspired by the University of Toronto allows different stakeholders to customize certain sections for relevancy.

Evaluations, for example, are divided into institution-level, faculty-level, department-level and instructor-level questions.

“I used iClickers for the first time in my lectures this summer,” says Pappas “and the proof-of-concept system allowed me to ask whether these devices enhanced the students' learning experience.”

Corinne-Pitre Hayes, who leads the TCE project, says that kind of feedback is exactly what she was hoping for from proof-of-concept volunteers. Her team spent months reviewing current research and best practices, as well as consulting with stakeholders including students, faculty and departmental administrators.

“The proof-of-concept this summer was the final step in the TCE project before we draft a report with recommendations, which we’d like to submit to the Senate by the end of 2013,” she says.

“The hope is that we’ll have a new system in place across the university in the not-too-distant future.”

No comments yet

SFU Views


After a seven year, comprehensive and rigorous process, SFU is the first Canadian research university to be granted accreditation by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).  

View the Report on course-based experiential education across all SFU Faculties

View the 2013-2018 Academic Plan

View the Revised Report on Learning Outcomes and Assessment