Spalding Online Course Evaluation
Beginning this March with session 4 courses, all course evaluations will be conducted online. The evaluations will be administered through a program called EvaluationKit. Students will be invited to take the course evaluation survey through email. They can use a link in the email to find their surveys. They may also access surveys through a link on the tools page of the course in Blackboard. Faculty will have access to the course evaluations results two weeks after the end of each session (courses with a non-standard schedule may vary). The results will also be available to the department chair and dean. The results will be available in PDF or Excel format. The University conducted a pilot of online course evaluation through summer and fall 2010. The pilot used the same questions as the paper evaluations given in other classes. The response rate for the pilot program was 59%. A comparison of the online results to the paper based results showed no significant change in student responses to the 15 questions.
Please note that there are many advantages to using the online course evaluation:
- The system supports the evaluation of cross-listed and team-taught courses by providing an evaluation for each instructor.
- Faculty can download the results for analysis.
- The process is disaster resistant.
- The survey is administered and stored electronically at a secure site.
Confidentiality and Integrity
Spalding Unviersity recognizes that confidentiality in the course evaluation process is a student concern. Be assured that the EvaluationKit software protects student anonymity. Paper based surveys are handwritten, so the online version better protects a student’s identity. The surveys are given prior to the students receiving their grades and results withheld from faculty until after the grading period. Survey access is organized and controlled for each student. Students view their own Student Dashboard where they can only access surveys for courses they are enrolled in. Students are only able to provide one survey submission per survey, and their responses are completely anonymous. Choose from a variety of different options to allow your students access, including; integration with your Learning Management System and Student Portal, through email, and as a standalone process.
Students may wonder why they receive an email if they don’t complete your evaluations, or why your instructor reminds the class that all the evaluations for the course have not been completed.
EvaluationKit records each instance of a completed survey for a given course/instructor, so that a student can only complete an evaluation for a particular course once. At the time the survey completion is marked in the system, the information that identifies the student submitting responses is disassociated from the data. This allows the system to recognize that students have completed the evaluation process without linking their identities, including names, schools, or majors with the actual responses.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the advantages of evaluating courses electronically?
Online course evaluation is faster and more convenient. Filling out paper forms is time consuming and uses up class time. Paper evaluations are wasteful and difficult to administer. Electronic evaluation results will be available to instructors two weeks after the end of the course, when the information is more relevant and useful. Comments are easier to write and read in an online format.
Is the system secure and anonymous?
The software used guarantees the anonymity of the students and secures the data in an electronic format that cannot be lost and is disaster proof.
Is it possible to evaluate the same course more than once?
No. The system requires a unique token that is sent to the student by email or through blackboard that prevents taking a survey twice.
Will the names or characteristics of students be available in the results?
No. Personal information is not associated with the results to protect student anonymity.
Is there an incentive for completing online course evaluations?
Giveaways or a prize for students completing evaluations is not an effective incentive for participation. Students should understand that the results of the evaluations are used by the faculty to improve the quality of the course. Examples include, changing text books, exams, assignments or class rooms for future sessions. Faculty also use feedback to improve the curriculum or teaching style. The evaluations are also used in the faculty evaluation process. Faculty are evaluated on a regular basis by the department or school and student input is an important component of the evaluation. Finally, feedback on the subject matter is used by departments in improving and updating course offerings. Research has shown that faculty sharing personal examples of how the evaluations are used is an effective tool to increase student participation.
When will the online course evaluations be administered?
Evaluations are administered in batches by the session the course is offered (see schedule below). The evaluations will be administered the final two weeks of each session. Some courses meet on a non-standard schedule and the faculty/department will notify the Information Technology of the appropriate time to administer the survey.
How will students be notified when it is time to complete the evaluations?
Students will be notified through their Spalding email that the survey is available. Regular reminders will be sent during the evaluation period for those who have not completed the survey.
Are other colleges and universities using online course evaluations?
Many colleges and universities use online evaluations for some or all of their classes. In our region, the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville conduct evaluations online. U of L is undergoing a large conversion from paper based evaluations to online evaluations. They estimate a savings of $200,000 annually. Nationally, hundreds of schools rely on online surveys for evaluation of instruction including Harvard, Columbia, and University of Michigan.