Student evaluations of teaching play a fundamental role in improving course content, format, and delivery (teaching) at UIC. The Office for Faculty Affairs offers all Colleges and Departments the opportunity to participate in an online course evaluation system provided via the Office for Faculty Affairs. If your department has opted to use this service, they are in charge of requesting online evaluations for any sections in their department. Please see the list of the Student Evaluation of Teaching Program participating departments and colleges and their points of contacts (POC).
Instructor FAQs Heading link
How does the system work?
Students receive an email invitation with the following title in the subject line:“Online Course Evaluation for [Semester, Year] [Course Subject Code, Course Number] with Instructor [Instructor Las Name].” The body of the email will reiterate the course subject code, course number, course name, instructor name, and semester. It will contain a link and a unique student password for the online evaluation for that course. Also, students can access the course evaluations from their Blackboard home page. Students will complete the evaluation online. Reports will go out to instructors via email following the posting of final grades for the course. Your Departmental Point of Contact will also receive a complete report that includes the reports for all participating faculty members.
Who is deciding on the content of the evaluation questionnaires?
Each department has the option to select its own version of the form. We typically limit each Department such that faculty must agree on a single version of the questionnaire, but each Department also has the option to add a second TA questionnaire evaluation to be used for course sections that are TA-led (CRN driven). With sufficient lead time, we are willing to make other accommodations for unique circumstances within Departments that cannot be accommodated by our current approach.
The version your department selects may be among the options on the Faculty Affairs website, or your department may choose items from UIUC’s ICES Library of items to create a customized teaching evaluation form. Additionally, if your department already has course evaluation questions, those can be used as well. (See Appendix A of the Handbook for UIC Student Evaluation of Teaching Program for examples of the general instructor and TA questionnaires.)
- If your department does not yet have a teaching evaluation or your department want to change the one you have, please see: http://cte.illinois.edu/teacheval/ices/pdf/ICES_Catalog.pdf.
- Your Department’s TA Evaluation can also be customized using the ICES library items referenced
- If you have any questions regarding the version your department has selected, please contact your Departmental Point of Contact (POC) or the Office for Faculty
- Common across the forms is the initial set of (6) six recommended core
*Recommended for use across Colleges by the UIC Student Government, a Committee on Diversity, and members of the Senate Academic Services Committee.
Six Core Questions
1. Rate the instructor’s overall teaching effectiveness. Poor 1-2-3-4-5 Excellent N/A 2. Rate the overall quality of the course. Poor 1-2-3-4-5 Excellent N/A 3. How well did the course assignments/quizzes/examinations reflect the content of the course? Not at All 1-2-3-4-5 To a Great Extent N/A 4. Was the instructor’s use of technology (e.g., email, Blackboard, PowerPoint, other electronic and/or web-based methods) effective? Not at All 1-2-3-4-5 To a Great Extent N/A 5. (Departments may choose from these two questions on cultural/human diversity)
a. The instructor demonstrated an understanding of issues related to cultural/ human diversity.
b. The instructor was sensitive to the cultural/human diversity, diverse worldviews, and disabilities of the students.
No Agreement 1-2-3-4-5 Strong Agreement N/A 6. How would you rate the physical environment in which you take this class especially the classroom facilities, including your ability to see, hear, concentrate, and participate? Poor 1-2-3-4-5 Excellent N/A
How do students access their course evaluations?
Students can access the course evaluations in two different ways:
- Students receive an email invitation sent to their UIC email address inviting them to complete the evaluation for a course. The email will contain a link and a unique student password for each course evaluation. The invitation is sent to the student’s UIC email account by UICTEACHINGEVAL@uic.edu , with an email subject line: “Online Course Evaluation for [Semester, Year] [Course Subject Code, Course Number] with Instructor [Instructor Las Name].”
- Students can also access the course evaluations from their Blackboard home page. Students should follow the Instruction for Students to Access the Course Evaluations from Blackboard. The student course evaluation dashboard will display a list of the student’ open course evaluation surveys. Each survey opens in a new browser window. After the student completes a survey, the window displays which evaluations the student has completed and which are pending, so the student can complete all his/hers evaluations at once.
Why not allow students to utilize other avenues for accessing the course evaluation system, such as personal email accounts? Text messaging? Or via bluestem login to a central website?
UIC email is used as the primary tag to identify participating students during our data extraction. It is the most reliable method for reaching our students, since every UIC student is provided with a UIC email address. There is no way to tailor the system so students may select a preferred method of delivery. Please see the following for a more detailed explanation.
Non-UIC Email Accounts – Our course evaluation server is automated and derives its data from a central repository, there is no possibility to tailor the system so that certain students may choose a non-UIC email address. If students wish to use their non-UIC email address, it must be linked to their UIC email address according to the guidelines set forth by UIC Technology Solutions: https://answers.uillinois.edu/uic/83430 . If these guidelines are not followed, it is likely that the course evaluation invitation email would go into their SPAM or JUNK folder of the non-UIC account.
Text Messaging – Not all students provide campus with their personal cell phone numbers nor are they required to do so. For this reason, cell phone numbers are not part of our data extraction and we do not send the invitations via text.
Bluestem Login to a Central Website – Confidentiality of the system is maintained via email delivery of a link and unique password so each student may access the course evaluation system anonymously. If we allowed students to access a central website with their UIC Bluestem login ID and password, we would be able to identify the students and we would no longer comply with confidentiality requirements.
Where can I find the Evaluation Timeline:
Full Term/16-week courses:
The students will receive an initial invitation to partake in the online evaluation for each participating course in which he/she is currently enrolled. The student emails will begin to deploy at midnight on the first working day two weeks before instruction ends.
During the two-week evaluation period, reminder emails are sent to students every two days. These reminders cease once the student has completed his/her evaluation for their course. A week into the course evaluation period, instructors for courses with response rates below 99%, will receive an email informing them of the response rate. The system will allow students to complete the evaluations until 11:55 pm on the last day before finals week begins. Reports will be sent to participating faculty and to departmental points of contact within two weeks after the deadline, after faculty grades are due.
First and Second Half/ 8 week Courses:
The students will receive an initial invitation to partake in the online evaluation for each participating course in which he/she is currently enrolled. The student emails will begin to deploy at midnight one week before instruction ends for the 8 week courses. This will typically occur the Wednesday during week 7 and close the following Wednesday during week 8. Please check the updated evaluation timeline for exact dates.
During the one-week evaluation period, reminder emails are sent to students daily. These reminders cease once the student has completed his/her evaluation for their course. The Monday before the course evaluation period ends, instructors for courses with response rates below 99%, will receive an email informing them of the response rate. The system will allow students to complete the evaluations until 11:55 pm on the last day before finals week begins. Reports will be sent to participating faculty and to departmental points of contact within two weeks after the deadline, after faculty grades are due.
How can I increase the response rate?
Strategies for Increasing Response Rates on Student Evaluations of Teaching
- Schedule time in class for students to complete the evaluations, and let your students know when the evaluation session will happen. The day you plan to administer the course evaluations, remind students to open their UIC email account and locate the messages entitled “Online Course Evaluation for [Semester, Year] [Course Subject Code, Course Number] with Instructor [Instructor Last Name] and complete the course evaluations at that time. Additionally, students can access the course evaluation dashboard in Blackboard and fill out the surveys through Blackboard. Blackboard instructions for instructors and students to access the course evaluation dashboard
- Tell your students that you value their feedback, and that you use student feedback to make improvements to your courses. Please share examples of how you have changed your courses as a result of student feedback because active demonstration to students that their feedback is valued and acted upon matters.
- Help students understand how to give constructive criticism and describe the kind of feedback you find most useful. Explain that giving specific feedback with examples can be more beneficial than general statements. Please read “Providing Helpful Feedback to Your Instructors” from the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching at the University of Michigan which gives examples of specific, constructive feedback. This effort will also convince students that their feedback will be used.
- Tell your students that you are interested in both positive and negative feedback on the course. What aspects of the course and/or instruction helped them learn? What aspects might be changed to help future students learn more effectively? What part of the course was most engaging? What suggestion(s) can the student make that would enhance the student learning experience in this class?
- Assure students of the anonymity of their responses and that you will not be able to see their evaluations until after final grades have been submitted. It is a concern for students who do not realize the fact that the evaluations are anonymous.
- Explain to students that you are the key recipient of their feedback, but that department heads/chairs and university administrators may read the student evaluations. Feedback from student evaluations of teaching is used in faculty evaluations and in curriculum planning.
Why is it better to include time in class for student evaluations?
By setting aside 20 minutes during class for students to complete course evaluations, just like the custom when evaluations were done with pencil and paper, instructors are not only increasing the overall student response rates, but they are also increasing the likelihood that students have time to think through their responses. As a result, students will have the opportunity to produce less rushed, more thoughtful feedback. The instructor can leave the room to help ensure that students feel free to provide authentic responses.
Inform students when you plan to administer your course evaluations in class. Remind them to bring a handheld device to class, such as a laptop, tablet or smartphone with internet access. The day you plan to administer the course evaluations, remind students to open their UIC email account and locate the email message entitled “Online Course Evaluation for [Semester, Year] [Course Subject Code, Course Number] with Instructor [Instructor Last Name]” and complete the course evaluation at that time. Alternatively, students can also access the course evaluations from their Blackboard home page. Please advise the students to follow the Instruction for Students to Access the Course Evaluations from Blackboard.
When do I receive my course evaluation report?
Following the final grade submission deadline, the Office for Faculty Affairs begins to send reports to instructors via the automated online system to their UIC email address.
If an instructor has taught a cross-listed course or a course with lower than 5 students, and the results of these surveys need to be combined, then the combined report(s) will be sent to the instructor’s UIC email address by their Departmental Point of Contact.
How are evaluations for teaching assistants handled?
The method to evaluate teaching assistants (TA’s) is decided by each department.
- Departments may elect to use a separate TA questionnaire evaluation for each TA led section (CRN driven). This is the preferred method.
- Some departments may choose to evaluate a teaching assistant on the instructor evaluation form in a separate section just for TA’s.
Tips for Making Sense of Student Evaluation Feedback
Please read the Center for Teaching at Vanderbilt University tips for making sense of student evaluation feedback: https://cft.vanderbilt.edu/guides-sub-pages/student-evaluations/#talking
I have misplaced my past course evaluation reports. How do I obtain a copy of my misplaced course evaluation reports?
To obtain past course evaluation reports, please contact your Departmental Point of Contact (POC) for course evaluations and they can provide an electronic copy of your course evaluation report (s).
Resources: Heading link
- Blackboard Instructions for Instructors and Students to Access Course Evaluation Dashboard
- Fall 2023 Evaluation Timeline and Due Dates
- Strategies for Increasing Response Rates
- Handbook for UIC Student Evaluation of Teaching Program
- Teaching Evaluation Policy
- SETP Participating Departments and Points of Contact
For more information or with any questions, contact: email@example.com