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Student evaluation web sites as potential sources of consumer information in the United Arab Emirates

Stephen Wilkins (International Centre for Higher Education Management, School of Management, University of Bath, Bath,UK)
Alun Epps (Business School, Middlesex University Dubai, Dubai, United Arab Emirates)

International Journal of Educational Management

ISSN: 0951-354X

Article publication date: 21 June 2011

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the attitudes of students in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) towards non‐institutionally sanctioned student evaluation web sites, and to consider how educational institutions might respond to the demands of students for specific information.

Design/methodology/approach

The study involved a self‐completed questionnaire administered to 118 undergraduate students at a single university in the UAE.

Findings

Even though there exists no UAE‐based web site that carries student evaluations of faculty/teaching, 13 per cent of the survey participants had previously visited a site that held student ratings, 85 per cent said they would consider posting on one if it existed in the country, and just over a half of the students were in favour of such web sites being established in the UAE.

Research limitations/implications

Despite limitations, such as the sample size and convenience sampling strategy, it is clear that students appreciate information about course evaluations and that educational institutions should consider how students obtain this information.

Practical implications

The advent of student evaluation web sites in the UAE could bring a set of challenges and opportunities to educational institutions, but, whether they are established or not, institutions might benefit from developing effective strategies for the dissemination of course evaluation and other student‐related data in the near future.

Originality/value

Student evaluation web sites, such as RateMyProfessors.com, are popular in the USA, Canada and the UK, but it was unknown how students in a relatively conservative country such as the UAE would react to such web sites. Educational institutions can use the findings of this study to develop suitable policies and strategies that address the issues discussed herein.

Keywords

Citation

Wilkins, S. and Epps, A. (2011), "Student evaluation web sites as potential sources of consumer information in the United Arab Emirates", International Journal of Educational Management, Vol. 25 No. 5, pp. 410-422. https://doi.org/10.1108/09513541111146341

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited