Course Evaluations (Student Information)

Stony Brook University highly values student feedback and is committed to maintaining the quality education it provides through the course evaluation process. By offering information and feedback to instructors, Stony Brook students directly contribute to the improvement of courses and teaching practices at the University.

Previous Course Evaluations Now Available.

Ever wish you had access to what your fellow students have said about courses here at Stony Brook?  Something like "Rate My Professor" but just for Stony Brook, with a lot more data and accuracy? You do now!

View course evaluation data from previous semesters by logging into Classie with your SBU NetID and password. All the numeric data plus the open text comments are available to you once you login. Your input is invaluable, so please remember to complete your course evaluations as soon as they become available.

Your Feedback is Anonymous.

Stony Brook University purposefully contracts with an outside company to collect and analyze course evaluations. This ensures that no student-identifiable data is available to the University and/or instructors. In addition, evaluation reports are not made available until after the final grades for a course have been submitted, so you can feel extra secure that your grades will not be affected.

Providing Constructive Feedback

Student feedback is an integral part of the teaching and learning process here at Stony Brook. The information you provide to your instructors is what helps them make improvements to their teaching methods and overall course design. Therefore, it is important that your feedback is as constructive and helpful as possible. 

 

Your comments are used by...

  • The instructor(s) to assess their course and make possible improvements.
  • Students to help them decide which courses to take.
  • Program administrators to make specific course and/or programmatic improvements.

 

Remember, your course evaluations are...

  • Completely anonymous, both the numerical results and written comments. Your responses are not linked to your SBU ID and/or your name.
  • Not provided to instructors until AFTER the final grades for the course have been submitted.

 

Open-Ended Questions from the Evaluations

End of Semester

What, if anything, did you find most valuable about this course?

In what ways, if any, could this course be improved?

What suggestions would you offer for improving the organization of the course menu, tools, resources, and overall navigation?

Mid-Semester

What has been most helpful for your learning in this class so far?

What has caused you the most difficulty in this class so far?

 

Feedback should:

 

Be specific.

When commenting on the course or the instructor, be sure to provide detailed examples.

Focus on observable behaviors of the instructor or particular aspects of the course.

Describe the situation you are commenting about for the feedback. For example, "We couldn't follow in class," leaves the reader wondering what the instructor did to allow for this. A more helpful comment,
"It was great that the PowerPoint presentations were online; that way, you can follow in class and not have to worry about frantically taking down notes and worry about not getting everything."

Be respectful.

Derogatory remarks or criticisms based on identity (e.g., race, color, age, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, sex, marital status, disability, or status as a U.S. veteran) are not appropriate.

Avoid personalization or emotional comments; instead, describe actual incidents.

For example, commenting that, "The professor is sarcastic at times during lectures, which makes learning difficult and confusing" is more helpful than commenting that the instructor is a "sarcastic loudmouth."

Describe how the instructor’s behavior or elements of the course affect you.

Describing how a situation makes you feel offers the reader a different perspective. For example, "I found the final exam fair, but long. I knew all the material but struggled to finish the exam on time. I felt very stressed by the time pressure and may not have performed my best." This feedback allows the instructor to understand the situation better instead of saying, "The exam was unfair."

Offer alternative solutions or suggestions to critiques of the instructor or the course.

For example, "The course could be recorded which would help with studying, I could easily just go back and listen to that part of the class." is very helpful to the instructor when planning the course design for the following year.

Provide both positive and negative comments about the instructor or the course that are formative.

Constructive comments offer specific reasons for judgment. These are very helpful as they inform the instructor of what you suggest to be kept or changed. While comments regarding what needs to change may come more readily, it is just as helpful to remind the instructor about what went well.

Include course Teaching Assistants (TAs).

If your course had Teaching Assistants, you might provide feedback to them. Please take the time to offer constructive comments about strengths and areas for improvement. Feedback early in their teaching careers will be instrumental in helping them become great educators.

 

Categories of Comments

Thinking of the following categories when completing the questionnaires may help you organize your thoughts:

  • Overall (Course or Instructor)
  • Clarity & Difficulty
  • Organization & Structure
  • Teaching Strategies
  • Assignments
  • Interest or Motivation
  • Outside of Classroom Communications
  • Physical Environment

 

Less Helpful:

Vague critique or praise

More Helpful:

 Specific suggestions that could improve your learning, or explanations of why the course helped you learn.

"The professor just lectures."  

    "The professor just lectures...

... and a short break would help me pay attention for the full lecture."

... but we need more time for student questions during lectures."

... and I would learn more if I got hands-on practice."

"The readings were redundant."

    "The readings were redundant...

... I didn't understand why we read so many different articles on the same topic."

... could you offer more guidance on what we are supposed to look for in readings?"

"Discussions were awesome!"

    "Discussions were awesome...

... I loved how the professor created an environment where students were willing to share perspectives and disagree."

... It was really helpful that you kept notes on the board during our discussions."

 

Adapted From:

Center for Research on Learning and Teaching (CRLT), University of Michigan

Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT), Iowa State University

Teaching and Learning Services (TLS), McGill University

Frequently Asked Questions

Will filling out a course evaluation affect my grade?

Course evaluations have no impact on your grade whatsoever. Instructors do not get to view any of the results until after they submit final grades for their couses. Instructors have no way of associating responses to specific individuals. Completing the evaluations are voluntary, but they are a great opportunity to have an impact on the quality of education at Stony Brook University. Just like you, instructors cannot learn and improve unless they get feedback about how they are teaching.

How private are course evaluations?

Stony Brook University is concerned about the anonymity of course evaluations. That is why the University purposefully contracts with an outside company to collect and analyze course evaluations. This further ensures that no student-identifiable data is available to the University and/or instructors. In addition, evaluation reports are not made available until after the final grades for a course have been submitted.

Why should I complete an online course evaluation?

Course evaluations are one of the primary means of providing teaching feedback to instructors. Your professors are seeking feedback on your courses with the goal of making them better. We are keenly aware that if Stony Brook University isn't finding ways to improve our classes we will lose our reputation as a world-class university that cares about the education of its students. We can't do that without your feedback and comments.

Does anyone really look at and think about what we write?

YES! The majority of Stony Brook instructors value what students report on the evaluations, so the more specific and constructive your feedback, the more likely the professor will take your comments to heart. Your feedback can lead faculty to revise teaching methods, change textbooks, revise assignments, and make other changes to help you learn.

How long does an evaluation take to complete?

We have found that on average, students take about 10 minutes to complete the form for all of their courses. Your time may be less or more depending on how many comments you make, how long your comments are, and how much time you spend reflecting on your answers.

What if I need to stop before I have finished the evaluation for a course? 

Once you start an evaluation, you can return to finish it any time before the evaluation period closes. You will just need to log into the system and click on the course again. Any courses with incomplete evaluations will be listed as not complete. 

How do I log in to complete online course evaluations?

To log in to the course evaluation system, simply go to https://stonybrook.campuslabs.com/courseeval/ and use your NetID and your NetID password. Your NetID is not transmitted to the outside company, but we do send a code that lets them know who is accessing their system so the correct information is displayed to you. It is perfectly safe to provide the information requested on this site and the company guarantees not to provide identifiable student information back to Stony Brook.

Why do I have to authenticate using my NetID?

When you click the log in button, you will be asked to enter your NetID and password and will be redirected to Campus Labs. If you do not know your NetID or need to reset the password, please visit the SOLAR system and click on the link for NetID Maintenance. Your NetID is not transmitted to the outside company, but we do send a code that lets the vendor know who is accessing their system so the correct information is displayed to you. It is perfectly safe to provide the information requested on this site and the company guarantees not to provide identifiable-student information back to Stony Brook. The system uses your NetID and password to identify the courses you are enrolled in and to ensure that you have the opportunity to evaluate your courses. No personally-identifying information appears anywhere on the evaluation and no student ID numbers or names are associated with the student evaluations.

What if I need to re-do my an evaluation?

If you made a mistake on an evaluation, or evaluated the wrong instructor by mistake, you can retake your evaluation. Your evaluation is not finalized until the evaluation period is closed.

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Course Evaluation Team