Someone should point out at this point that its not the Union's job to deliver a working LEQ system - it's college's job. As I understand it, the Union was asked to publicly support SOLE - effectively putting a seal of approval on it and saying 'students have looked at it and pronounced it okay'. Well, it's not okay (or at least, we're not sure whether its okay); so the Union isn't going to be publicly supporting it.
It was said last year, and it will doubtless be said many times by people other than myself that this is a perfect case for either a group or individual project for a DoC student.
I dismiss the 'trust' issue as being at worst a factor which can be carefully considered and controlled, and at best a trivial justification for maintaining a poorly functioning existing system to the expense and detriment of the student body.
If college or the Union genuinely believe that any third or fourth year student would risk their continued education at IC, simply to find out what people think about lecturers, then I'd really like to know what psychotropic substances they're dishing out in the SCR in Sherfield. (Before anyone asks what the union hacks are smoking in failing to address this massive issue, we all know what's in the Union chilli).
Just try it. Throw the idea at a third / fourth year project supervisor in DoC. I can -guarentee- that you'll get a better system from a student who knows the project makes up a large part of their degree that year, than from an external contractor whose only goal is to chuck something out of the door and cash the cheque before College ask why the hell half the features are missing and the other half are insecure.
"This is a serious matter because academics' careers could be at risk here if you put their assessments in the hands of the students they teach and examine."
Isn't that rather the point, to allow students to assess their teaching staff? :)
Seriously though, I still disagree with your assertion that there is too much scope for abuse, either through malice or incompetance.
Simply put, security through obscurity (as we have at present with LEQ/SOLE, with no review access of the security mechanisms in place) is worthless. One of the fundamental design assumptions made when designing secure systems is that your code will be read by someone, somewhere, at some point. The only way to ensure security is to deal with that from the very start, and design the system with the knowledge that anything you write will be publically accessible.
Given the draconian threats which were made to DoC students last year after exposing holes of a Texan nature in the system, (threats since withdrawn, natch) it's pretty obvious that LEQ/SOLE wasn't designed properly, and was not subject to code review.
College, just do it properly, for a change. It's essential to have an open system, with code access for anyone who's interested. Take advantage of the masses of free talent you have sitting around bored between lectures on campus, and a better system will result.
Worked fine in Physics for donkeys years and it worked. It was organised by the department, analysed and processed by the year reps and dep-rep, and the final results publicaly displayed in the UG common room, delivered to the teaching committee and if necessary acted upon. The orrigional results were freely available to check, the forms were handed round in lectures and so there was often a good uptake for core lecture courses, and of course, it was secure.
I don't understand why the same thing can not be imposed centraly but dealt with departmentaly and forget this useless electronic stuff that, flaws or no flaws, nobody can actually be bothered to use.
Although I'm as up for an electronic system in any form as anyone can be, in this case I must agree with the paper based system.
I agree that it's less efficient cos the results have to be compiled, but a lot of it can be done with OMR, leaving only the comments to be hand-typed into forms. If the year reps and dep rep were to help out I'm sure the comments could be quickly compiled.
The beauty of the paper system is that it was handed out to you at the start of a lecture and then you could hand it in whenever you wanted over the next week or so (as I remember it anyway). So while you should be listening to the guy taking the lecture you could fill the form out instead. Anonymity was assured by not having a name field on the form, as anyone in the lecture theatre was assumed to be a student on that course.
Now we have to bother logging into the site when we're usually on the computer to do something much mnore useful instead ... erm like writing in here.