We’re all under a lot of stress lately. For example, my paper on Hayek was eaten by the interwebs, which means I have to rewrite a complex essay on very little sleep. Therefore, I decided to let off a bit of steam by replying to Tim’s post. (Sorry for procrastinating, Professor Gaskins, Professor Pollack, and Professor Hickey! I’ll get right back to doing all those essays and things due yesterday.) It got a bit too long for a comment, so here it is:

So, when it comes to course evaluations, I really don’t mind. Course evaluations are a meaningful social service. That said, if people are forced to fill them out, the chances of bad data significantly increases and the value of the whole enterprise goes to the crapper. And yet, relying on a purely voluntary system results in a 25% response rate, also not pretty. Therefore, we seem to have arrived at a situation where I get many emails (which costs me nothing) as well as the possibility of prizes (which possibly nets me an ipod). All in the purpose of more helpful student evaluations.

Tim, I’m thankful that the Provost’s Office is taking charge of this initiative. Course evaluations materially improve my life, and the fact is that MaryPat Lohse is:
a. Not an exhausted student cramming for a final
b. Offering me delicious yet vague hints of free ipod. 
c. Doing me favor. 

We’re all under stress, and thus likelier to get upset at “The Administration”, and goodness knows there’s been a lot to be upset about, especially lately. (much more on that later!) Honestly, I almost think they plan to unveil the controversial stuff for breaks and finals. Yet, I think in this case we should be happy that “the adults” are taking care of this for us.

Remember – 1/2000 chance of free ipod > 100% chance of no ipod.


One thought on “Stress”

  1. That said, postponing evaluations until *after* people are all stressed with finals is both good for students (less stress), good for teachers (the students evaluating them are in better moods), and good for everyone (more honest evaluations).

    Good politics, good policy. Seems pretty obvious to me.

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