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Posted: 10/11/2009 4:28:13 AM EST
My CSI squad just finished putting on a two week, 80 hour training course on basic crime scene investigation. We had seven officers from my agency, and five more from three other agencies, and the class culiminated in two graded mock crime scenes and a written test.

At the start of the second week, I passed out course evaluation forms and encouraged the students to get an early start and fill them out while memories were still fresh. This class had a huge number of moving parts, and I wanted to know if they thought anything was messed up or poorly done. Also, the curriculum is about 90% set in stone year to year, but I like to leave a little flexibility to accomodate emerging trends or specifically relevant topics. As an example for that last idea, my jurisdiction only has one very minor river, but if we were to draw several students from a neighboring county that has a major lake and gets a dozen water fatalities a year, I'd make sure to build in an extra block on drowning investigations.

This class is also a nice break from the basic academy atmosphere. The atmosphere is casual, classroom banter is encouraged, and the average student is an experienced cop with 5-10 years on, so I would hope they would be free with feedback.

What did we get on the evals?

F*&^ing near nothing. A bunch of "good class" and "fine" and "nothing to add".

Folks, if you're going to donate two weeks of your life to a school, take at least two more minutes and write something coherent. This class may very well be totally and utterly f'ed up from an end-user standpoint, but how in the hell am I ever going to find out if nobody tells me?
Link Posted: 10/11/2009 7:02:39 AM EST
Having given and received literally hundreds of course evals over the course of my career, I can attribute this to one large factor (for the most part). Nearly every one I get is on the last day of the class, and I get it as I'm ready to walk out the door. At that point, especially after a week or two week long class, I just want to go home. It sounds like you handed it out earlier than that. Not sure there's much you can do about it if you continue to follow that model.

Perhaps begin building in a ten minute 'debrief' after each block of instruction. Experienced cops, casual atmospheres and encouraging classroom banter should make for an open and honest debrief. Just make sure it takes on a less formal tone; no forms, just you or someone else taking notes.

Just a thought...
Link Posted: 10/11/2009 8:42:31 AM EST
Link Posted: 10/11/2009 10:10:39 AM EST
Originally Posted By Tango7:

I'd try sending out a questionnaire with a SASE enclosed and tell them that you're really looking for opinions and ways to improve the course for next time. Obviously they already have their piece of paper, so it's not changing P/F. Ask them what sticks in their minds, good and bad.

It's worth the $4 IMO... I doubt any other classes would go to the trouble, and it shows you're serious.

That last idea is brilliant, and I am going to do just that first thing next day in the office. Might even stall a few days more to let the material sink in. The class is admittedly an ass-kicker, hell I barely passed it. Hadn't thought about it, thanks Tango.
Link Posted: 10/11/2009 3:55:40 PM EST
Link Posted: 10/29/2009 9:36:36 AM EST
Update - took Tango's idea and wrote up a lengthier evaluation, waited a week, then sent it to the new graduates and their bosses. Got them all back, with some excellent suggestions.

Link Posted: 10/29/2009 9:46:24 AM EST
Link Posted: 10/29/2009 9:55:01 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/29/2009 9:56:14 AM EST by wildearp]
If you fucked up, they would have let you know.

Was there testing, did they pass? If some failed, there would be complaints, I bet. Were the forms anonymous, or part of something traceable? Maybe they were worried about DNA and fingerprints on the form.....

If you supplied donuts, there would be zero complaints, so knock that off.
Link Posted: 10/29/2009 10:19:12 AM EST
Fed them the last two days during the test cycles. Dunkin' Donuts for breakfast, Subway for lunch, and Olive Garden for dinner.

One failure, but he was from my agency.
Link Posted: 10/29/2009 11:27:08 AM EST
Link Posted: 11/1/2009 7:52:50 PM EST
I'll plead guilty to filling out class evals the same way. The problem is the evals are handed out at the very end like an after-thought, I'm ready to go, got a flight to catch, etc. Try Thursdays after lunch. Also, talk to the students on breaks for their feedback. They may not say you suck but if there's info that should be incorporated they might tell you that.
Link Posted: 11/2/2009 3:21:39 PM EST
Link Posted: 11/2/2009 3:51:53 PM EST
Well maybe its legitimatly a good course.

Its tough for guys that are new to something to give feedback on it.

If you had some seasoned CSI guys in the class it would be easy for them to give you pointers.

But when your new to something its tough to give feedback because you have nothing to compare it too.
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