Conduct Your Course Evaluation
Carefully consider when to implement your course evaluation by targeting the specific feedback you’re interested in receiving. There are at least four times you could evaluate your course.
Before the course begins, conduct a pre-assessment to gauge students’ abilities or depth of knowledge. This can give you great insight into topics your students have already mastered or which might need some additional support.
When should you use a pre-semester evaluation?
Example: You’re teaching a course in a new online degree program and want to determine student expectations.
Sample Pre-course Survey—Sending a Survey to Students:
How many online courses have you taken in the past 5 years?
- I have never taken an online course
- 1 online course
- 2–4 online courses
- 5+ online courses
How many hours per week do you plan to spend on this course, on average?
- Less than 1 hour
- 1–3 hours
- 4–6 hours
- 7–9 hours
- 10+ hours
What are the preferred ways for your instructor to communicate with you? (Select all that apply.)
- Discussion board
- Video conference (e.g., Skype or Google Hangout)
- Phone call
- Text message (SMS)
Conduct mid-semester evaluations to gauge how your class is responding to the course. At the halfway point, it can be difficult to make significant changes to the course, but you can get ideas on what to modify for future semesters.
When should you use a mid-semester evaluation?
Example: Over half of your students perform low (Cs and Ds) on a test.
Sample Mid-semester Survey—Sending a Survey to Students:
Please answer the following questions with Yes or No.
- Are the video lectures helpful to you?
- Do you want to continue having weekly ungraded quizzes?
- Have you used the textbook’s website for supplemental learning activities?
End-of-course evaluations could be developed by the University or your department, or they could be evaluations you create independently to evaluate course content and functionality.
When should you use a post-semester evaluation?
Example: Conduct a survey to learn if students could easily navigate the course website.
Sample Post-semester Survey—Sending a Survey to Students:
How would you rate this course overall?
Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements on your overall course experience (Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Agree, Strongly Agree):
- I would recommend this course to other students.
- I was actively engaged in learning the course material.
- I can describe ways to apply the knowledge learned in this course.
Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements on the course website (Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Agree, Strongly Agree):
- It was easy to locate what I was looking for in this course (assignments, discussion, lectures, etc.).
- I had no problems using the course website (hyperlinks opened, videos played, etc.).
- I knew where to find technical help if I need it.
Use an emergency evaluation when there is a problem interfering with students’ learning. Usually, this is when students can’t access an item such as a reading or test, or a tool stops working. If it isn’t an emergency, save those changes for after the semester.
When should you use an emergency evaluation?
Example: Your assignment tool is no longer functional.
Sample Emergency Evaluation—Sending an Email to the Class:
It’s been brought to my attention that the Google Docs set up for your group assignment are not working correctly. For example, when you try to open your document you will see an error message stating that you do not have permission to edit the content. By 12:00pm tomorrow I will have updated Google Docs shared with you with the correct permissions enabled. Because of this error, the assignment deadline will be extended by 24 hours. The new deadline is 12:00pm on Friday.
—Thanks, Dr. Harding