Background Information about Online Course Evaluations
Appalachian's adoption of online course evaluations was initiated by a recommendation by reviewers from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). In 2013, during our SACSCOC review, the on-site review committee recommended creating a standardized institution-wide process consistent with existing institutional policy for faculty evaluation (See Section 3.7.2 (Faculty evaluation) of the Report of the Reaffirmation Committee). The committee noted that: "The evaluation forms and evidence did not consistently indicate compliance and enforcement of these policies. The format for faculty evaluations are not standardized in either form or content and do not always relate specific assignments, productivity, teaching evaluations and service activities to the final evaluation. Additionally, information was not always provided for the basis of evaluations. It is especially important for pre-tenure faculty to have an annual evaluation providing a critical assessment of their performance and progress toward earning tenure." As part of the University's response to this recommendation, Appalachian began to explore products for course evaluations and work on developing common questions to be used for course evaluations.
Adoption of CoursEval
CoursEval was selected by the Academic and Research Services Portfolio committee. This committee, working with deans, chairs, and faculty, examined a variety of tools for course evaluations and piloted two separate products. In January 2017, the campus purchased CoursEval as the recognized tool for online course evaluations on campus. CoursEval at Appalachian was initially administered by staff in the Center for Academic Excellence. CoursEval administration responsibilities were transferred to Institutional Research, Assessment and Planning (IRAP) in February 2018.
Frequently Asked Questions by Faculty about Online Course Evaluations
How can I improve the response rate for my course evaluations?
Here are a few strategies to improve your response rate:
- Tell students that you value their opinions and how course evaluations are used. Provide specific examples of improvements you have made to a course based on student feedback.
- Provide time in class for students to complete the online evaluation. Giving time in class reinforces the notion that course evaluations are important. Students bring devices to class and can use them to take the survey.
- Remind students their responses are anonymous.
- Halfway through with less than 75% response rate? Email your students, tell them how important it is for the credibility of the results that every student participate.
- Add the Online Course Evaluation block or URL link to the course AsULearn site.
Can I track the response rate for my course evaluations?
Yes, we encourage faculty to monitor their response rates for course evaluations. While the CoursEval window is open, faculty can log into their account to see the number of students who have completed their evaluations for each course. However, you will not be able to identify individual students who have or have not completed their evaluations.
Who can see the results of course evaluations?
As with paper evaluations, individual instructors, department chairs, and deans are given access to reports on course evaluations after grades are posted. In addition, there are a few program administrators in IRAP who have access to results in CoursEval. Beyond these few individuals, IRAP will only release course evaluation results if they have written permission from the department chair (typically for a department's administrative assistant).
How do I get my course included in online course evaluations?
Please contact your department chair. IRAP works with department chairs to coordinate the courses being evaluated each semester.
What do I do if I am incorrectly listed as the instructor for a course in CoursEval?
The instructor of record is pulled from Banner each semester. The data in CoursEval is only as good as the data in Banner. Many departments use "place holders" for the instructor prior to the beginning of the semester and never go back to update the information in Banner. If you are incorrectly listed as the instructor of record in CoursEval, please contact Vivian Thompson in IRAP (email@example.com or X7283) so we can make the appropriate update.
Is CoursEval an option for 8-week courses?
Yes, CoursEval is available for both 8-week and 15-week courses, as well as 5-week summer courses. Again, if your department does not require all courses to be evaluated every term, please coordinate your request to participate in online course evaluations with your department chair.
Are you aware that there are biases in student ratings?
Yes, we are aware of numerous research studies and articles indicating that there is gender and ethnicity biases present in teaching evaluations. Faculty, chairs and deans should also be made aware of these biases so they can take them into account in faculty evaluations. Our advice is to advocate for best practices in regards to faculty evaluations. Student evaluations of teaching are one source of information used to evaluate teaching and should be used in addition to other measures such as peer obervation and instructors' self-reflection.
Who is required to do course evaluations and how often?
According to the Faculty Handbook:
4.3 Evaluation of Faculty
Administrative Memorandum Number 338 regarding “Tenure and Teaching in the University of North Carolina” requires that Appalachian establish “review procedures for the evaluation of faculty performance to ensure (1) that student evaluations and formal methods of peer review are included in teaching evaluation procedures, (2) that student evaluations are conducted at regular intervals (at least one semester each year) and on an ongoing basis, (3) that peer review of faculty includes direct observation of the classroom teaching of new and non-tenured faculty and of graduate assistants, and (4) that appropriate and timely feedback from evaluations of performance is provided to those persons being reviewed.
6.10 Class Evaluations
Appalachian State University’s policy concerning student evaluation of classes and instruction requires as a minimum that such evaluations be carried out in every class during each fall semester. The timetable specified in the University policy is designed to ensure that fresh evaluation results will be available for consideration during the annual spring conferences between faculty and departmental chairs. It should be noted, however, that any college, school, or department wishing to require student evaluations during other academic terms as well is free to do so, and they may be administered voluntarily by individual faculty during such terms also.
How does CoursEval work if there are dual instructors for a course?
If there is more than one instructor for a course, each instructor will receive unique reports in CoursEval. The core questions and any that a department may add are separated into questions about the course and questions about the instructor. Students enrolled in a course with co-instructors will receive two sets of instructor-based questions, one for each instructor. The instructors will only see the results of the course-based questions and the results for their own instructor-based questions. Instructors will NOT see the evaluation information about the other instructor. This will automatically happen for courses with co-teachers listed in Banner.
If results are only released for courses with a minumum of three completed responses, what can be done about low enrolled courses (such as independent studies)?
To get around the minimum number of responses requirement for low enrolled courses, a department can ask IRAP to merge sections of a course.
Can we ask different questions for different types of courses such as lab versus lecture, internships, etc.?
Yes, departments can add additional questions for different course types. For a list of course type definitions, see the course term file definitions on the Registrar's website. Prior to launching CoursEval each term, IRAP will provide departments with a list of courses and course types for the semester. Departments should notify IRAP of any changes they would like to make based on course type before the posted deadline.
What kind of report will I receive from CoursEval?
A sample report is available here. As you will see, the standard report will show your mean results for your course for each core question, along with comparison data for courses in your department and all courses at Appalachian participating in CoursEval for that semester. There is also the option to build customized reports using CoursEval's survey intelligence reporting. Upon request, IRAP will also work with departments to build customized reports.
How do I see my current course evaluation results?
If you are an instructor who recently taught a course, you will see the My Reports page when you log into CoursEval.
The survey and course information are listed on the left of the list, survey status in the middle, and response rates on the right. Simply click on "View Report" to see the results for a particular course. The drop down box to the far right of each course gives you the option to "Export to PDF", "View All Reports" and "View Survey Form."
If you are an administrator, you can use the Admin tab options in the upper left-hand corner to switch to reports for your department or college.
How do I see results for previous semesters?
Once you login, click on one of the following images:
This will take you to the "Home" page. By default, faculty will see the current semester course reports listed on this page.
To view all of your evaluations, go to the tab labeled "Reports". Under this tab, choose the "Individual Reports" or "Evaluation Reports" option. Either report will suffice, you may just prefer one style over the other.
Select the options that you wish to view. To see all reports, you should select the following:
Year: Show All (or select a specific year)
Period: Show All (or select a specific semester)
Focus: Show All
Status: Show All
Survey: Show All
Department: Show All
Search: (you can leave this blank to see everything)
You will have 2 "Individual Reports" and 1 "Evaluation Report" for each course.
In order to see the "Individual Reports" click on either the graph or pdf image in the far right column.
In order to see the "Evaluation Reports" click on the corresponding box(es) in the far right "Include" column and then choose either "View", "PDF", or "Print".