Online Evaluations

The Center for Online and Distance Learning manages the online evaluation process for departments.  We answer evaluation-related questions from faculty and provide technical support for students.

The end-of-the-semester Student Evaluation of Teaching is considered by many departments and Schools in the processes for merit salary, promotion and tenure, and sabbatical leave decisions.  The mid-course evaluation is an excellent method for measuring the success of course design and teaching practice.  Contact us at 785-864-1000 or codl@ku.edu for more information and to discuss creating an evaluation for your class.

Current users of online evaluations for in-person, online, and hybrid courses include:

  • School of Architecture & Design
  • School of Business
  • School of Education
  • School of Engineering
  • School of Journalism
  • School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures
  • School of Music
  • School of Pharmacy
  • School of Public Affairs and Administration
  • Department of Anthropology
  • Department of Biology
  • Department of Chemistry
  • Departments of Geography, Geology, Environmental Studies, and Atmospheric Science
  • Department of Sociology

An image of what the evaluation looks like in Explorance Blue

Benefits of online evaluations include:

  • Easy access for students via computer, tablet, and mobile devices
  • Easy evaluation process for instructors and department admins  – no paper forms to handle or collect 
  • Faster report processing and distribution

The online evaluation tool is called eXplorance Blue (or “Blue” for short).  Blue allows students to clearly see who and what they are evaluating and also provides faculty a live view of response rates while the evaluations are open.

Process

If a department/school decides to use Blue for their evaluations, students and instructors will have three ways to access it: 

  • Blackboard portal
  • Blue dashboard
  • Email link

Blackboard portal – available for all courses, even those without a Blackboard presence

  • Students and instructors will see a link to Blue when they log into Blackboard
  • The link will be found in the block called, “My Course Evaluations,” which usually appears in the bottom right corner of the Blackboard home page

Blue dashboard – available for all courses

  • Students and instructors can access Blue via the web address, https://ku.bluera.com/ku, using their KU Online ID and password
  • Instructors will see a list of their evaluations along with evaluation open and close dates
  • Instructors will also see a live view of response rates
  • Students will see a list of the evaluations they need to complete along with their due dates

Email link – available for all courses

  • Messages alert students and instructors when evaluations become available
  • Instructor emails will contain links to the Blue dashboard (described above) 
  • Student emails will contain links to the evaluation forms as well as the Blue dashboard
  • Students will receive two additional reminder emails
  • Reminder emails are only sent to students who have not yet submitted their feedback

Online Evaluation Form – customized to use evaluation questions selected by department/school

  • Automatically saves responses as students move through the questions
  • Responses are retained if students exit the form and return later
  • Once the survey period closes, students will be unable to access their forms
  • All responses that have been captured by the time the survey period closes will be reflected on the final report
  • Reports will be sent to the department after the semester ends

­Response Rate Management

  • Response rates vary based on instructor involvement with evaluation process
  • Allowing time in class for students to complete evaluations on personal devices helps maintain high response rates
  • Instructors should remind students more than once during the survey period
  • Monitoring online response rates using Blue dashboard helps instructors to know when to remind students
  • Explain how student feedback will be used to improve the course experience for future students
  • Add a statement about the evaluation process in the course syllabus so students know what to expect at the end of the semester
  • Department offices can hang flyers or use social media to invite and remind students to participate in the evaluation process
  • Assign a student ambassador (or group of ambassadors) to motivate and remind students to complete their evaluations
  • Consider awarding extra credit based on student participation, either based on response rate for the class as a whole or individual submissions (CODL can provide list of students)

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