Thursday, January 21, 2016

Why are we moving the paper-based course evaluations online?

The change fulfills a longtime desire of faculty, staff, and students to move paper-based end-of-semester course evaluations online for efficiency and convenience.

It is estimated to save $350,000 per year. Some savings are in technology—no longer needing to maintain outdated software used with the paper process—and in paper costs. Most will be in staff time—hours the colleges previously invested in planning, distributing, and collecting evaluations.

In addition to significantly less legwork for staff, ACE (Assessing the Classroom Environment) Online allows students to complete the evaluations at a time and place that works for them—on a mobile device in class, at home, or in a computer lab. Faculty will benefit from easy, online access to the data from their current and future course evaluations.

Where can instructors and students access ACE Online?

There are links in ICON (under Student Tools), and in the Iowa Student Information System.

What are some ways that instructors can encourage students to participate in the evaluation period?

The best way to get students to participate is to give them time in class. This is not different between paper-based or online versions. Other ways faculty may increase their response rates:

  • Let students know you don’t see the results until after final grades are submitted
  • Reiterate how important both positive and negative feedback are to you in improving the course for the next set of students
  • Show students how to access the online version
  • Add self-designed questions (qualitative) to make sure students can share other feedback besides multiple choice
  • Create a culture of feedback in your class
  • Thank the students

Who has access to the completed evaluations?

Each college is slightly different in regard to access privileges. All instructors can access their own evaluations after final grades are submitted. No one other than the instructor has rights unless a dean or associate dean requests access for others. Examples may include department chairpersons, course coordinators, and administrative support staff that are helping implement the evaluations.

For more information:

Application Portfolio Management