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Students evaluate teachers on the Internet
Updated: 2004-02-25 09:38

Several Shanghai university professors have been punished this semester after being poorly evaluated by their students via an online teaching evaluation system.

Three teachers at Donghua University were disqualified from being promoted, while another three at Shanghai International Studies University were asked to teach other subjects.

Online evaluation systems are becoming more popular at Shanghai schools.

Students at Donghua use the university's Website to grade their professors' teaching skills and overall knowledge of the subjects they teach. The system is not unlike that used for students, with an A mark being the best and a D representing failure.

SISU professors are graded anonymously online on the quality of their lectures and overall teaching methods and attitude.

The evaluation system is taken seriously by educators. Regardless of a teacher's rank or experience, a poor evaluation will almost certainly result in a serious reprimand by university leaders and possibly a request to step down.

Donghua will immediately dismiss teachers who score a "D," university officials said.

"The online evaluation system includes the opinions of a large number of students, and therefore reflects an accurate picture of things," said Diao Huiyao, an administrative official at SISU.

Previously, most teaching evaluations were handled by asking students to fill out a paper questionnaire.

But traditional evaluation methods were so time consuming that it no longer made sense to continue.

Some students had a tendency to score teachers carelessly on paper questionnaires, Donghua officials said.

With the online system, evaluation results are posted on the Internet for an entire semester so that new students can use them as a reference.

"With a rough idea about the teacher's teaching ability, I will no longer be blind before selecting a course," said Li Xingren, a freshman at Donghua.

While the evaluation system may be dreaded by many teachers, it does not seem to have left a bad taste with all educators.

"So long as we can get our job done properly, students will reward us a fair result. We won't be fussy on that," said Yao Fumin, a teacher at SISU.

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