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Online course evaluation end-of-semester pilot launches Dec. 4

12/01/2011

Miami University's end-of-semester pilot of a new online course evaluation platform opens Sunday, Dec. 4, for students and closes Sunday, Dec. 18. The pilot includes nearly 900 classes representing all academic divisions, with the goal to move all classes to online evaluations by fall of 2012.

Miami’s ad hoc committee on teaching and course evaluations selected CollegeNet’s platform, “What do You Think” (WDYT), and has been testing it in preparation for universitywide implementation. Mike Curme, chair of the committee and associate dean of Miami’s Farmer School of Business, said the committee was pleased with the results of an earlier test this fall that included 36 sprint courses.

The early test garnered 67 percent completed evaluations, with completion rates varying across divisions. Farmer School of Business (82 percent), Engineering and Applied Science (80 percent) and the College of Arts and Science (73 percent) had high returns.

“For the first time through, with limited communication and no incentives, these numbers are commendable,” said Curme. “Moving toward this end-of-semester test, we are generating more communication and some incentives to encourage participation from faculty and students.”

The ad hoc committee emphasizes the importance of faculty in the process. Their research of other online course evaluation programs shows that student response rates are most sensitive to faculty encouragement and an explanation regarding the value and importance of course evaluations.

Faculty who are part of the pilot received detailed instructions. In addition, Miami’s IT services will be available to answer student and faculty questions.

Students also are receiving information from a student communication campaign developed by Miami’s PR Visions, a student-run public relations agency, as well as emails from the ad hoc committee. The students also produced a video featuring the Miami hockey team and President David Hodge to help spread the word.

Students who complete all of their online course evaluations will be entered into a drawing to win one of three available five-seat blocks in a deluxe suite for the Miami-Western Michigan hockey game on Friday, Jan. 20.

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