Information for Faculty

What do I need to do? important

Couple of things:

  • Before the evaluations start, check the List of Courses to make sure your courses are on this list
  • When the evaluation is going on, you should use class time to emphasize the importance of the survey
  • Check the response rate and remind students if the response rate is low. The instructions to check the response rate are mentioned below.

General Information

Why are the course evaluations being done online?

Evaluations are being done online to reduce costs and to make results available to the faculty sooner.

What are the advantages of online vs paper based evaluations?

Conducting course evaluations online simplifies the process and offers advantages to everyone involved

Benefits for Faculty:

  • Faster turn-around time
    Traditional surveys take a couple of months to process. Evaluation results are eventually sent back to faculty. Online evaluations can make the results available in as early as four weeks. For evaluations conducted in Fall 09, the results will be available in mid-January.
  • Evaluations for Summer courses
    Traditionally, the paper based evaluation has not been for summer courses, but with the online system, it will be available for all summer courses
  • Automatic email notifications
    The software sends email notifications to students who have not finished their evaluations, encouraging them to participate in the process.
  • All students can participate
    With paper-based evaluations, only students in class on evaluation day could participate.
  • Archives
    You can log in any time to view reports from past courses.

Benefits for Chairs/Deans/Administrators:

  • Online access
    All reports are available online and can be accessed anywhere, anytime.
  • Archives
    You can access all of the courses that have ever been evaluated in this system.

Last but not least:

  • It's Eco-Friendly
    Moving to online evaluations will save tons of paper every year. This is one small effort in VCU’s larger commitment to eco-friendly practices.

Can I still do paper based evaluations?

This decision is up to your department chair or dean. However, your department or your school will have to pay for the associated costs. You can contact Survey and Evaluation Research Lab for more information.

Will all my courses be evaluated using this system?

Almost all the courses will be evaluated using the online system. There are some exceptions - for example, courses with less than five students do not have an evaluation. Courses which are classified as Independent Study, Research, Master's Thesis, Dissertation, Private Lessons, Recitals etc do not have evaluations either. The best way to verify this is to check on the List of Courses which courses have online evaluation available this semester.

Course Evaluation Questionnaire

What questionnaire will be used for my courses?

Who decides which set of questions will be used for course evaluation?

We use the questionnaire provided to us by your school or department. It is the same questionnaire that have been used for paper based evaluations in the past.

I need to add some course related questions to the form. Can I add more questions?

Sorry, at this time you cannot add your own questions to the form.

Completing the Evaluations

How do the students complete the course evaluations?

Students log in Blue website and go to the Student section to complete the course evaluation.

When do the students complete the course evaluations?

For Fall and Spring courses, the evaluations are available last two weeks of classes. For Summer courses, the evaluations are available for last 7 days of class. If you are teaching a short course, the start and end date of evaluation will be adjusted accordingly. You can check the exact start and end date in List of Courses

How do the students know when to do the course evaluations?

We send students an email when the evaluations start. After that, students who have not completed the evaluations get regular reminders.

How do I know when the evaluations are available?

We send faculty an email few days before the evaluations start to let you know in advance.

Can students see their grades before they complete evaluations?

Evaluations are open before the final exam week. In most cases students would have completed the evaluations before they take their final exam or get their final grade.

If you are concerned about the grades affecting your course evaluations, please post the grades after evaluations for the course are closed.

Response Rate

How do I know how many students have completed course evaluations? important

Visit the Blue website to see number of students who have completed the evaluations.

What can I do to improve response rate? important

  • The most important thing you can do is have a discussion with your students regarding the value of the survey and how it is used to evaluate all faculty. Students do not believe there is any importance attached to their opinion. We need them to understand this is a responsibility that has serious consequences.
  • If students in your class bring laptops to class, you can give them some time at the end of class to complete the evaluations on their computers.
  • You can provide students with incentives for completing the course evaluations. Since the evaluations are considered confidential, we do not reveal the names of students who have completed the evaluations. Instead you can give incentives based on the overall response rate of the class. Be creative, some faculty use extra points based on achieving a certain level, others come up with amusing awards. Some faculty have more than one class compete and the winner gets a pizza. That may be extreme but it does work. Again, use an incentive that you are comfortable with.

Can I give extra credit or some other incentive to students who complete the evaluations?

Course evaluations are anonymous. The course evaluation software has been designed to conceal the identity of the students from their instructor. Students may not be comfortable revealing that they have completed the evaluations. Instead, you can use some of the tips mentioned above to improve the response rate.

Course Evaluation Reports

How do I see the reports?

See printable instructions

  1. Click here and log in your VCU eID
  2. Click Dashboard link
  3. On next page, click on View Report link for the appropriate term

faculty instructions to access reports

  1. A new window will open links to course evaluation report for each course you have access to.

How do I save my report to my computer?

To save the report as an Excel document:

  1. Follow steps 1-7 above to run a report as you normally would
  2. Once you see the report, check the Excel checkbox and click on Search button (see below)
    Export to Excel
  3. If you get a security warning, click on the Yes button to accept
    Excel Security Warning
  4. Save the Excel file to your computer.

To save the report as PDF:

If you have Office 2007/Office 2010/OpenOffice:

  1. Export the report as an Excel file as mentioned above
  2. Open the file in one of the office suites and save as PDF

If you have Adobe Acrobat, PrimoPDF or any other PDF converter:

  1. Run the report as you normally would (see previous section "How do I see the reports?")
  2. Click on File > Page Setup
  3. Select Landscape mode
  4. Also select Shrink to Fit option and click OK
    Page Setup
  5. Click on File > Print
  6. Select the appropriate PDF converter from the list of printers and click OK
  7. Save the PDF

How do I print my reports (Windows)?

  1. Run the report as you normally would (see previous section "How do I see the reports?")
  2. Click on File > Page Setup
  3. Select Landscape mode
  4. Also select Shrink to Fit option and click OK
    Page Setup
  5. Click on File > Print

How do I print my reports (Mac)?

Please use Mozilla Firefox to print reports on Mac

  1. Run the report as you normally would (see previous section "How do I see the reports?")
  2. Click on File > Page Setup
  3. Select Landscape mode
    Page Setup
  4. Click on File > Print
  5. On the print dialogue box, click on the little blue button to see more options
    Print Window
  6. Under Options, check the box Ignore Scaling and Shrink To Fit Page Width
    Print Window
  7. Click on Print button to print

(for Humanities and Sciences faculty only) I need the mean and median for Course, Instructor and Student Learning questions for my annual report. Where do I get those?

This applies only to Fall 2009 course evaluations reports for College of Humanities and Sciences.

Step 1: Find the three questions

  1. "Course" question: Overall, how would you rate this course?
  2. "Instructor" question: Overall, how would you rate this instructor?
  3. "Student Learning" question: Relative to your knowledge at the beginning of this course, how would you rate the learning that you have achieved in the subject?

Step 2: Calculate the mean and median using our spreadsheet

  1. Download this Excel file
  2. Enter the numbers from the report into the spreadsheet:
    Enter numbers in spreadsheet
  3. Mean, Median and other descriptive statistics will be calculated on the spreadsheet
    Results

When can I see the reports?

Reports are made available in 2-3 weeks after the semester ends.

When I log in eServices to see my reports, I see a sign saying Reporting Disabled. What does it mean?

Reporting Disabled means you cannot see the results yet. Normally, the results are made available four weeks after the semester ends.

What is Included in The Report?

The report includes aggregate results for each question in the form. You can view them by numbers or as percentages. The reports will also include any comments for open ended questions that students have responded to.

What is Not Included in the Report?

  • Reports DO NOT include any personally identifiable information, including – who filled out the course evaluation form and what did they fill in.
  • For team-taught courses, the reports do not include the results for your co-instructor in those courses.

Who else has access to my reports?

Only your department chair and your dean can see the reports. Nobody else has access to the reports.

Can I compare my data to other faculty in my department?

The software has this capability but it is currently turned off because of technical reasons. You cannot compare your results to an individual faculty, but you can compare to the aggregates for the whole department. Currently only the department chair can see comparative data for the whole department.

Where can I get more help?

If you need help with the online course evaluations, the quickest way to contact us is via email to courseeval@vcu.edu. Please include your name, phone number, eID, and the course and section number for the evaluation you are having trouble with.

Special Cases

I am teaching a short course. When do the students evaluate this course?

The start and end date for short courses are adjusted based on Course End Date listed in eServices. You can check the evaluation start and end date in List of Courses.

I am teaching a team-taught course. Can students evaluate each instructor separately?

For team taught courses, students see course questions which are asked once and instructor questions which are asked separately for each instructor. The instructors can see only the responses to course questions their own instructor questions.

My course is cross-listed with other departments. How will this affect the evaluations for this course?

If a course is cross-listed, each section of the course is treated as separate course. The students see the evaluations just like they normally would, but the instructors will be two or more separate reports.