My iPhone lights up to alert me of a new email.
“My group member must have finally emailed me back.”
“The test surely must have gotten postponed.”
As I frantically open my email for any helpful antidote from the stress of an expectedly chaotic day in Hell Week, I see the subject line that means too little to me at the time to even care.
“Reminder: GT Course Instructor Opinion Survey (CIOS).”
Believe me, I would love to take the survey. Doing it half-heartedly since I don’t have the time or motivation, however, won’t do my professors justice.
A few days later during Dead Week, I get the same email.
I subconsciously ask a few questions. Busy schedule? Check. Time to care? Nope. Ignore? Without a moment’s hesitation.
Now enter Finals Week. I have four finals: two on Monday, one on Wednesday and one on Friday. Not to mention the final exams I have to proctor and grade starting Thursday.
Essentially, my calendar has little to no time for anything but hitting those books, notes and problem sets until Saturday.
And so, with my grades and mental sanity on my mind, I continue to ignore the CIOS (and for that matter, TAOS) emails.
But now it’s Saturday evening, and I’ve finally finished all my requirements for the semester. I haven’t slept in so long that, when I do instantly fall asleep, my dreams consist of sleeping.
“Believe me, I would love to take the survey. Doing it half-heartedly since I don’t have the time…however, won’t do my professors justice.”
On Sunday, I take the whole day off to make up for all those times that I wanted to catch up on my TV shows or play FIFA 14 or go to the gym, but couldn’t. In my deliriously happy state, I ignore all incoming mail from my beloved university, including the one from, you guessed it, CETL, calling for the last round of students to take the survey as it was the survey’s last day for responses.
When Tuesday rolls around and I had rolled around in enough of my unproductivity, I decide to finally sit down and write a cohesive feedback for my professors this semester, highlighting specific critique that the survey core questions cannot suitably target from a five-point scale.
But of course, the survey is closed by then.
The case I have put forth isn’t entirely applicable to everyone on campus. Some people may be more motivated to finish the CIOS surveys after their final exams within the deadline. Some people’s final exams may end earlier. Others may not be as inclined as myself to put detailed comments in and simply answer the questions instead. And a large number of students may be further inclined to complete them to get a few extra credit points.
Regardless, I personally would like the CIOS survey deadline to be extended, if not open until the beginning of the next semester. Some people may argue this limits the time professors have to improve on their performance from preceding semester by shortening the time after receiving survey results.
“Regardless, I personally would like the CIOS survey deadline to be extended…”
However, professors, who see the survey answers five days after grades are due could instead receive a realtime analysis of results as more surveys start pouring in—something that shouldn’t be hard to accomplish if it isn’t being done already. Furthermore, email alerts for additional responses could facilitate more time-efficient checking of the surveys from their end.
What this may also accomplish is a more deliberate feedback, which could be beneficial to the professor. If students feel less rushed to fill out a survey, they will most likely take more time and devote more energy than they would have before.
If even one more student in a 20-person class takes a survey, that’s a five percent increase in survey participation. After all, isn’t that what the purpose of this survey is?