YCC calls for online course critique

At the last Yale College Council meeting of the year, representatives passed a resolution saying that Yale should create a comprehensive online course critique, and approved a letter to University Dining Services Director David Davidson detailing the results of the recent YCC dining hall survey.

Andrew Allison ’04, who wrote the letter to Davidson, said the YCC was not ready to pass a resolution about dining halls because it did not have all of the information necessary to make a recommendation. Allison said he and other YCC representatives will continue to work with Davidson and his office to address such issues as adding more Flex dollar locations and creating a meal plan during the first week of school, “Camp Yale.”

“The survey results are a good jumping-off point for talking to the dining services directors,” Allison said.

The survey found that 50 percent of students would favor a Camp Yale meal plan as long as the cost was comparable to that of an average week on the meal plan. Students named Gourmet Heaven as their top choice for a new Flex location. A majority of students said they were willing to sacrifice variety in the dining halls to ensure that their food comes from socially and environmentally responsible sources.

Andrew Klaber ’04 wrote the resolution about the Teacher-Course Critique. He said the Yale Daily News Course Critique is inadequate because it does not cover every class and every professor, so he wanted to come up with a more comprehensive system.

The resolution calls for the Yale Teaching and Learning Committee and Information Technology Services to create a program that would allow students to fill out critiques of their courses and professors online and then retrieve statistics and comments about other courses and professors to aid them in selecting their classes. Only students who fill out critiques each semester would be able to see other critiques.

YCC Treasurer Yael Zeira ’03 said the impetus for this resolution was that other colleges, such as Harvard, the University of Pennsylvania, and Princeton provide more comprehensive evaluations.

The resolution passed by a vote of 21-1-1.

YCC Rep. Matthew Robinson ’03 said he thought the resolution was good overall, but said he voted against it because it did not adequately address the issue of how to get a large percentage of students to fill out the critique.

“It’s only effective if a large number of students participate in each class,” Robinson said. “I don’t think the resolution was crafted with that in mind.”

Rep. Howard H. Han ’05 said he was concerned that such a system would destroy the Yale Daily News course critique and that it is valuable to have a student-run review system. He abstained from voting on the resolution.

Though Robinson said Yale Daily News Course Critique Editor Jennifer Walk ’04 was supportive of the new plan and agreed to assist with it, News Publisher Rebecca Kaplan ’03 said she thinks it is important that the organization that publishes the course critique be objective.

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