ePortfolio Course Evaluation Best Practices for Faculty
Student Perception of Instruction (SPI) Course Evaluations are sent every semester to each undergraduate lecture course at the University through the ePortfolio system. Results are then posted to the University's HB2504 website after the semester has concluded.
If your department has elected to send course evaluations online, they will also be sent through the ePortfolio system. Departments may choose to have the system send students an email with a link to the evaluation. Even without this email, students will be able to access their online course evaluations by logging into ePortfolio.
The online course evaluations are an electronic version of the paper evaluation forms that your department was already using, with question types such as multiple choice, Likert scale, or short answer. Student responses are always anonymous. The start and end dates for departmental online course evaluations are determined by your department. A course evaluation may not be completed after the due date has passed.
Faculty will be able to generate reports in ePortfolio with their course evaluation results after grades have been posted to student transcripts for the current semester. Administrators are also provided with a copy of the report for their department.
Strategies for Success
Student evaluations are important for a number of reasons including annual review, tenure track applications, and department level evaluations. In order to encourage students to complete course evaluations, we have compiled some strategies for success that have been used by various departments to accomplish their goals in a timely manner.
Remind Your Students
Many students are overwhelmed, stretched thin, and not aware of the importance of these evaluations. Remind them that you and your department chair take student feedback seriously, that it helps you improve your teaching and the class itself, and that the next students in the class will benefit from it, just as the current students benefited from feedback provided by previous students.
Here are some methods you can use to remind your students:
- Send an email through BobcatMail
- Your department admin requests the start and end dates, and you can find a list of those dates there.
- Send a push notification through Announcements in TRACS
- Students must have the TRACS app and opt into notifications to receive push notifications, but they will still receive emails from announcements if they don't have the app.
Give Class Time
Give class time each semester for students to complete evaluations in class, allowing students to do them on their phone or computer in the classroom. This might take some class time but reserving time near the beginning of class or the end, depending on the size of the class, is a good idea to show students that you are invested in them completing the evaluations successfully.
Use Computer Labs
Some faculty have had success taking their classes to their departmental computer labs to arrange for their students to complete evaluations at a time when they are sitting in front of a machine with no other task other than to complete their evaluations. This might involve reserving the computer lab from your department or asking the department to reserve a few computer stations that will be open just for students to use to complete evaluations. Work with your department to utilize these resources in a way that is appropriate for the department's needs.
Include Evaluations in Your Syllabus
Making evaluations equally as important as any other classwork in your syllabus makes evaluations part of the class rather than seeming like extra work that students must complete. It will also help to frame it for you, too, and make it part of your internal expectations to make time for the evaluations during your class.