This paper presents results from a content analysis of college students' descriptions of their "best" and " worst " courses and instructors. We were interested primarily in two issues: how college students evaluate their courses , and the extent to which they emphasize various dimensions in their evaluations. We found that students evaluated their course experiences along seven interrelated dimensions: factors external to the course, level of tedium, classroom activities, classroom atmosphere, instructor's comportment, workload/assignments/grading issues, and acquisition of knowledge and skills. These dimensions were emphasized to different degrees and tended to vary in oppositional manners according to the type of course. Our results can assist college faculty who seek to become better teachers, and reassure those who have been disappointed in their endeavors that receiving poor evaluations does not always or necessarily reflect poor teaching methods.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/michael_decesare/14/