All of this change has made you uncomfortable. Perhaps you’re frantically recording lectures or learning Slack. Maybe you’re in the process of creating formerly in-person quizzes and exams in Canvas, Blackboard, or another learning management system. I’ll also bet that your instructional designers are working overtime. You don’t want your course to be a poor substitute for the original, but you’re trying to build the plane while it’s in the air.
With online courses, the fleas come with the dog.
I wish you all of the luck in the world, but let me tell you how this probably ends: Regardless of all of your hard work, your student evaluations are going to suffer. But don’t take my word for it just yet.
In a 2014 study, Suzanne Young and Heather E. Duncan demonstrated that students routinely grade professors lower in online courses compared to their in-person equivalents. I suspect that this is just a limitation of online courses—even those that professors meticulously plan out.
That’s fine in theory, but what do student evaluations look like in practice under normal conditions?
I have seen this phenomenon play out first hand. From my interactive Tableau dataviz of student evaluations, consider the following:
Click here to see the whole thing on Tableau Public.
Is this dip fair?
Probably not, under any circumstances—much less exigent ones.
Simon Says: Prepare yourself.
Don’t be surprised when you observe lower numbers in a few months.