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Evaluation

How do you know it's winter at Columbia? Your inbox floods with messages reminding you to evaluate courses.

This year, they've started a competitive contest between the three classes to see who fills out the most course evaluations. They've revised the website we use to leave comments. And they've set up an automated spambot to send me endless reminder emails. The frequency of these emails currently surpasses even that of offers to enlarge my manhood, sell me a fake Rolex, or provide me with investment opportunities in the funds of African dictators.

Look, I used to do consulting work. You don't have to sell me on the idea of evaluations: 360 degree evaluations, bottom-up evaluations, project autopsies, I'm all for them. But one key thing about these evaluations? Unless they're going to be followed-up later, they should happen when the project is over.

My classes are not finished. In what kind of rational universe should I be evaluating them yet? And my last property class ends just five hours before the course evaluation deadline, which means if I really want to be serious about this, I have a very narrow window. In reality, we should evaluate courses after the exams, so that we can give future students answers to their most important question: how well does what you learn match up with what you're tested on. But for that we rely on word of mouth, not course evaluations.

In the meantime, I wonder if I can set up an autoreply to spam the course evaluation spammer?

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Comments

Tony, I set microsoft outlook to automatically delete emails from "courseevaluations." It works marvelously. :)
I didn't bother. They've shown up so often that SpamBayes now considers them spam. Still annoying.
Tony ok, i signed up for a site meter but I have no freaking clue on how to add it to my blog site .. a litle help or advice would be appreciated.
Erm... you're on Blogspot, so I don't know directly, but ask next time you run into me.
I'm boycotting just on general principle. I refused to be swayed by the possibility of a pizza party. There's free pizza almost every day as it is. I hate pizza by now. And I have to wonder if filling out course evaluations that no one [with any authority to make changes] even reads is really the most important thing I can possibly do as a law student at Columbia. Somehow I feel like there are other reminders that would be way, way more useful...
Sitemeter gave instructions when you signed up, else I never would have managed it. Check the email account that you gave them for your password and HTML. Add the HTML into your template code. Alternatively, you could go the invasive route and have them do it automatically. I have to admit, the emails were effective in getting me to do the evaluations, though because I was in a hurry, they ended up being rather cursory (though still accurate). Torts was summed up as "VINCENT BLASI IS A ROCKSTAR." True, but perhaps not as useful to future students as a more detailed response.
I remember a system at business school where during the last session of a course evaluation forms would be handed to participants. Some lecturers then refused to dismiss the class till the things had been filled in. Problem solved.
At the University of Arizona it works like this: sometime near the end of a term/module of a class, the prof and any TA's leave the room after anonymous evaluation forms are passed out, and a random volunteer turns them all in at a drop off box. You can leave early, as soon as your eval form is done.

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