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Online course evaluations bring 61 percent completion rate

01/01/2012

Miami University’s end-of-semester pilot of a new online course evaluation platform closed Sunday, Dec. 18, with 61 percent completed evaluations, a bit lower than what was expected, but still within an acceptable range, said the committee implementing the pilot.

Miami’s ad hoc committee on teaching and course evaluations selected CollegeNet’s platform, “What Do You Think” (WDYT), and performed a pilot testing 902 course sections representing all academic divisions. A total of 367 instructors participated and about 11,710 students took at least one online course evaluation.

“We expected more completions, but for this expanded pilot, the results are good. We can improve from here,” said Mike Curme, committee chair and associate dean of Miami’s Farmer School of Business.

“Our numbers actually are closer to 66 percent as some instructors in the digital program handed out paper evaluations instead. Even then, the goal of the committee is to have response rates at 100 percent. We believe that as we fully embrace the system, and have more time to offer explicit incentives, such as earlier access to grades, the response rates will go up.”

Completion rates varied across divisions, with the School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS) finishing on top with a 70.2 percent response rate. Other high completion rates included the Farmer School of Business (61 percent) and the School of Fine Arts (60 percent).

“We want to thank all the departments who participated and encourage other departments to join in a spring pilot,” Curme added.

Departments for the fall pilot included: architecture, chemistry, computer science and software engineering, economics, educational psychology, engineering, geography, kinesiology and health, decision sciences and management information systems, nursing, Spanish and Portuguese, and theatre.

Further analysis will be conducted to compare this year’s online data with last year’s response rate to paper evaluation forms. In addition, faculty and student communication campaigns will continue to prepare for fall 2012. To be included in a spring pilot, contact Curme. The goal is to move all classes to online evaluations by fall of 2012.

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