What should I tell my students about the online course evaluation system?

The most important way to ensure a good response rate and receive thoughtful feedback from students is to communicate the importance of course evaluations to the success of our academic programs. Faculty can stress the various ways of accessing evaluations (the Portal, E-mail link, personal computers, computer labs and Mobile Devices). Please encourage your students to complete their online evaluations before the deadline.

Humboldt morning photo


Students have more time to complete thoughtful responses and provide meaningful comments.

What are the benefits to transitioning to an online course evaluation system?

    • Faculty no longer need to take class time to allow students an opportunity to complete their evaluations.
    • Faculty receive summary reports, including legible student comments, much more quickly. Reports can be distributed within a few days of grades being submitted

Why are evaluations happening so early/so late? My department does their evaluations during the week before/after finals/spring break/Thanksgiving break.

As part of garnering better response rates, the university has to hold all evaluations at the same time. Because new lecturers have to be evaluated prior to assigning the following semester’s classes, and student evaluations are one part of the evaluation process, we have to hold evaluations early enough to allow IUPCs to review student evaluations. The IUPCs must have submitted an instructor’s overall evaluation (which includes student evaluations and narrative from classroom observations) before departments can submit assignment of work spreadsheets and before departments can generate Lecturer Transaction Forms (LTFs). This time line—the last two weeks prior to finals—is hopefully early enough to meet these deadlines for departments with a dozen lecturers. For them, these evaluations are occurring late!

Best Practices for Best Response Rates

      • Inform students about the importance of their evaluations (see sample text below)
      • Tell students the week prior to evaluations that they will be getting an email the following week.
      • Remind students daily during evaluation weeks (the last two weeks before finals) since they will get reminders every three days until they fill out the evaluations
      • Ask your department chair or another faculty member to visit and reinforce how important evaluations are
      • Hold evaluations during class time. You cannot be present during the evaluation and should coordinate with another faculty member to attend. (It doesn’t have to be a faculty member from your department. Try asking the instructor before or after you to show up early/stay late.)
      • Schedule a computer lab through your department coordinator
      • Have students fill out evaluations with their smart phones/lap tops/tablets in class. Again, you cannot be present during the evaluation and should coordinate with another faculty member to attend.
        • Tell students to bring their smart phones and lap tops and tablets to class on a certain day. If students have filled out their evaluations prior to the class, tell them they may leave early. (Give your students enough warning so that students without a laptop or smart phone have an excuse to leave.)
      • Post a reminder on your courses’ Canvas sites
      • Give extra credit. Remember, evaluations are anonymous, so if you would like to give extra credit for students who take the evaluation you will either have to rely on the honor system, or award the whole class extra credit based on the response rate. For example, if you get a 50% response rate, everyone gets 5 points, if you get a 70% response rate they get 7 points, etc. If you are interested in this, please contact your college office for more information.
      • Send an e-mail reminder to your class.

E-mail Text for Instructors

Please change to suit your audience.
Class evaluations are very important for improving teaching, as well as the retention/rehiring and tenure process. Making this process work requires you filling out the evaluations online. We’ve moved from a paper process to a greener online evaluation process. You should have received an e-mail with an invitation from “CEbS” to evaluate this course on XX (the Monday two weeks prior to final exams).

Talk about the process for your class here:

    • “Please take time to fill out your evaluation this evening.”
    • “I will dedicate XX minutes of class time on (date) for you to fill out evaluations in class. Please bring your smart phone or laptop. If you will have filled out your evaluation by that time, you will be allowed to leave early.”
    • “I have reserved a computer lab on (date); we will meet in (building & room number) during class.”