Thoughts on Improving Response Rates for Course Evaluation Delivered Online

penspencilsandpadthumnail photo by paul iwancioAt my college we’ve been working toward moving student course evaluations online.  This would save a lot of trees and make the collection of this important feedback more efficient. One of the big stumbling blocks has been the low response rate from students when we’ve tried this delivery method.  I’ve looked at the literature and we’re not alone in facing this problem.  So, when we surveyed our students recently I asked them if they would fill out course evaluations online and if no, then why not?  The answers surprised me.  Most of the students who said they wouldn’t fill them out cited forgetfulness and laziness.  What this made me realize is that the problem isn’t with our delivery method (online), but rather whether it was delivered synchronously or asynchronously.  The solution may be in having students fill out their course evaluations during the last class meeting (as is traditionally done at campus) but have the students bring laptops or other mobile devices; or have students use a computer lab.  We’ll work on this in our Spring pilot and see what results we get.

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