Department Admin

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Before Deployment
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During Deployment
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After Deployment
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Role: Department Administrator (DA)

As a Department Administrator in Course Evaluations & Surveys, your role will be vital for managing course evaluations to be deployed properly and accurately. You will act as a liaison to communicate information between instructors and the CES Administrators, and will create and attach department-specific surveys for your course evaluations. During course evaluation deployment, you will be able to monitor response rates and encourage instructors to increase response rates. After deployment, you will have the tools to build and share reports and (optionally) send result feedback to instructors and other administrators.

How can I access Course Evaluations & Surveys?

There are a couple ways to access your CES Dashboard.

  • If you have a Canvas presence (i.e., have access to at least one Canvas course), please access your dashboard in your course on the left side navigation menu with the Admin Course Evaluations link.
  • If you do not have a presence in Canvas, you can access your CES dashboard by logging into: (This is a SSO [single sign on] site--you'll need your MyUNL credentials)

Before Deployment

Training Videos

We have prepared 6 training videos that should cover most aspects of the work you will do as a course evaluation department administrator. They can be found here:
Department Admin Training Videos

The current set of videos were produced and released early Fall 2023. Our plan is to update them every summer and release them every fall, as we endeavor to enhance our operations and tools for efficiency and ease of use.

Most everything else below is a more detailed text version of what is shown in the videos.

Work with the MySurveys Administrators

A sizable portion of your work will be working with MySurveys administrators. The work is year-round, with lulls during times of low activity.

The main tools you will be using for contact with the MySurveys team are Microsoft Teams (a collaboration platform), Microsoft Planner (a project management task-based software), Microsoft Excel (spreadsheet software), and Microsoft OneNote (a notebook information storage software).

  • Teams is used for Chat (to ask or answer questions and verify details), Files (to house the mini and full-term course lists and TA lists you’ll use to verify deployments), and an Activity Feed (that lets you know when chat messages and task notifications arrive).
  • Planner is used for tasks—to quality check the work of our office importing courses and instructors, and to verify or change your department's Guidelines for Evaluation each semester. Task notifications arrive by e-mail and in Teams.
  • Excel is used for the mini and full-term courses lists, and TA lists, that you may use to quality check which courses and instructors you want evaluated for the term, along with other course details.
  • OneNote is used for important information storage, such as your department Guidelines for Evaluation, recommendations for deployment lengths of mini and summer courses, and how to determine if an issue is administration or support.

Guidelines for Evaluation

In Fall Semester 2022 we changed operational workflow with department administrators by introducing the Guidelines for Evaluation. These are guidelines, or criteria if you will, that your department uses to determine which courses to evaluate, or not to evaluate. Our thinking was that if we could have this information in advance, much of the process of course evaluation prep would run more smoothly and efficiently. These Guidelines can be found in a OneNote file in the Files area of your Teams department channel.

Workflow Breakdown

Here is the general semester by semester workflow:


Weeks 1-4

  • We send you a Microsoft Planner Task to update your department Guidelines for Evaluation (if needed). We set this task deadline at the end of Week 4.
  • We send you a Microsoft Planner Task asking you to fill out your TAs to be Evaluated Excel spreadsheet. You will find this spreadsheet in the Files area of Teams (current semester folder). We set this task deadline at the end of Week 10.
  • We import mini-course data into the CES system based on your Guidelines for Evaluation. We base the deployment dates for mini courses upon our recommendations found in your department OneNote file. The dates can be changed upon your discretion during quality checking—we just ask that you keep the survey end date set as the last day of the class.
  • We send you a Microsoft Planner Task asking you to quality check our mini course data importing and set up. We set this task deadline for 2 weeks from the date we send you the task. You will check course data in the Manage Courses area of the CES admin site. To assist with your checking, we will load an MCL (mini course list) into the Files area of your channel. This list is our best interpretation of which courses you want evaluated based on your guidelines.
  • Please let us know what we need to repair (if anything) through the Task comment area OR through your Teams channel Posts (chat) area.

Weeks 5-12

  • We import full-term course data into the CES system based on your Guidelines for Evaluation.
  • When we have completed importing, we’ll send you another Planner task asking you to quality check our work. The deadline for that task will be 3 weeks after the date it’s sent. Please thoroughly look over your courses in the Manage Courses area of the CES site. To assist with your checking, we will load an FTCL (full-term course list) into the Files area of your channel. This list is our best interpretation of which courses you want evaluated based on your guidelines.
  • When you are done, let us know if all is OK or, if changes need to be made, make them in the comments area of the task, or your Teams channel Posts (chat) area, and we will correct any remaining items.
  • Although mostly an instructor-led endeavor, sometimes DAs will work with the CES administrators in deploying midterm evaluations. When this happens, it occurs within this time window, but separate from the standard semester workflow.

Weeks 13 & 14

  • In these two weeks, we will be making final corrections to course data, correcting e-mail addresses if needed, and setting up student enrollment “refreshes” (to catch withdrawals and other unique enrollment situations).

Weeks 15 & 16

  • This is deployment time for full term courses. The deployment lasts 14 days, ending the last day of classes (usually the Saturday before finals week).

Post semester

  • About 15 days after the semester is over (11 days during the summer), you will have access to instructor's reports, and the tools available to create aggregate or other types of reports, if desired.

Note: The summer session workflow is somewhat similar to the above, and will be divided into segements depending on when sessions end. We will post the summer workflow schedule in the Shared Channel each year in mid-May.


Develop and Manage a Communication System with Department Instructors

Communicate with the instructors in your department to check on course details needed for proper, accurate course evaluation deployment. You will be checking with instructors about what courses will be evaluated, who will be evaluated, and any unique accommodation some course evaluations might need. This information is necessary when conducting quality control over course and user data.

You may use whichever type of communication system works efficiently for you and your instructors. The data you get from them will help you verify the course data and get it to the CES administrators by a pre-determined deadline.

Managing Course Data - Highlights

Courses should have at least one student and one instructor assigned. Per your department guidelines, courses such as Independent Study, Doctoral courses with a single or a few students, research courses, etc. may not require an evaluation from the professors.

Student & Instructor Enrollment, even well into the semester, can change. Although CES has a user refresh procedure, Department Admin’s should work with instructors to check that the enrollments in their courses are accurate.

TA Evaluations: Another important detail: Is the TA being evaluated as 1) a TA in a lecture course, or 2) as an instructor in, say, a recitation or lab section? In the first case, we do not have a standard set of questions, so TA questions would have to be provided for our office to create and attach. In the second case, the CAS college has a standard set of questions for TA's in this situation. Other colleges could use the use main campus survey for the TA's, or provide other questions.

Mini-Course Deployment Dates need to be reviewed to accurately reflect the start and end dates for when the evaluation should be deployed. All mini course evaluation deployments must end the last day of classes in the course, as designated in MyRed.

Add Department Questions

In addition to the core survey questions that all students will answer, department questions can be added to the survey. Using the Survey Builder, you can create questions specific to your department as "targeted" surveys.

Note: Custom questions can only be added before a course evaluation has been deployed. Once an evaluation has deployed, questions can no longer be added, removed, or revised.

The Help Center in CES, found by clicking on the question mark icon (?) in the upper right corner, has many tutorials and articles to help with this process.

How do I add questions?

Video Tutorial:

Help Article:

Video Tutorials & Help Articles Combined:


Modify Deployment Window (Start/End) Dates

Starting out, all full-term courses have a deployment window set for 14 days (usually starting on a Saturday, and ending on the Saturday just before Final Exam week). Should any courses need a shorter deployment window, select the courses tab, search for the course, and then click edit to make the appropriate adjustment.

Monitor Instructors’ Custom Questions

As the Department Admin, it is possible for you to monitor instructors adding their own custom questions for their course(s). Using the Custom Question Monitor widget on your homepage, you will be able to see the number of instructors that have added custom questions out of all the instructors in your department. By clicking view all, you can see which instructors have added them with course information, you can view the custom questions themselves, and have other options to view and edit.

During Deployment

Monitoring Response Rates

On the upper right of the dashboard, you can view the ;Response Rate Tracker--a live monitor of the submissions over the survey window. You can also click on the Results tab on the navigation bar at the top of the page and find the Response Rate Tracker. Then, click on a specific project name to look at the number of participants and completions. The benefit of this tool is that you can view how the surveys are submitted over time and see trends across the courses being deployed.

This following article from the CES Help Center is available:

Encouraging Survey Completion

As much as CES can do with automated reminders, in-person interactions can be very powerful in influencing participation. Many faculty keep up on this, but for those who don't, encouraging them to make announcements in class and on-line can be helpful for response rates. An announcement in person will likely mean more than a reminder on a screen. This is an optional, not required, task of department administrators.

Access and View Reports

Similar to instructors, reports can be accessed 15 days after a Spring or Fall session ends (11 days after a summer session ends). For midterm evaluations, reports are available immediately after the deployment ends. Once these reports are viewable, you can generate a detailed report with or without comments (as PDF), a short report with or without comments (as PDF), or raw data (as an Excel file).

How do I view reports?

Help Articles:

Video Tutorial & Help Article Combined:

Report Builder Function

A great feature of CES is the Report Builder. This feature can isolate data and generate specific reports at the course-, instructor-, or question-level if need be. Create custom reports specific for your department with this feature.

How do I build reports?

Help Article:

Share Reports

In addition to creating a report, you can share the reports through CES. Simply click the “Share” icon on the right hand side of a report and follow the prompt to share the report with users in CES or send it to their email.

How do I share reports?

Help Articles:

CES has extensive support resources. We request that your first refer to the Help Center video tutorials and help articles. If you need additional or specific help, call the MySurveys service at 402-472-2313 or fill out the CES Support Form to get in touch with an CES Administrator.


Where can I access CES Video Tutorials and Help Articles?

The location of these aids are found in the Help Center page of the website. The page will show you videos and tutorials that are relevant to your role. From your dashboard in the upper right hand corner, click on the small purple question mark icon (?) to access the Help Center.

Do I need to pay attention to student e-mail addresses?

According to a University policy instituted May 2019, a email is generated for every UNL student. Official university communications will be sent to that e-mail address, including notifications and reminders from CES. If you happen to notice that some other e-mail address is listed for a student, please contact us at,  or use the CES Support Web Form. The CES Admins will also be editing e-mail addresses in CES (not Canvas) as part of the pre-deployment quality control process.

Can I exclude a question on a survey from statistical analysis?

There may be questions in your survey where the department want numbers of students who answered it gathered, but no further analysis. Go into the survey, and in the Question Properties section in the edit function, there is a box with the text “Do not calculate a mean and standard deviation for this question”. If this box is enabled, this question will not appear in any analysis.

Why can’t students go on with a survey unless they finish a question?

If this occurs, then it's likely that a question was marked as required on the “Question Properties” section when editing a survey question. At the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, it is not our policy to require an answer in order to move on with the evaluation. There is only one section that should be required---the first question in the "core" set of questions that all students answer. For any others, go into the survey in question, find and click on the edit button of that question, then disable “Required” in the Question Properties section.

What if I have a course situation where multiple people with multiple roles need to be evaluated?

This is a slightly complex arrangement of settings in CES. This is possible to do--we would appreciate you contacting an CES Admin at the Digital Learning Center as soon as the information is known so the preferred survey can be created and set up before the deployment date.

What are the different ways students can take surveys?

Students can take surveys by going onto Canvas and taking the survey on their laptop, tablet, or mobile device. They can also click on a link sent to them in an e-mail, which will bring them directly into their dashboard to take the survey.

How often does CES refresh the student data?

To accommodate student enrollments and teaching assignments, we have two refreshes set---one for mini courses and summer sessions the day before the mini course or summer session survey start date, and one for full-term courses the day after the last day to withdraw from a course (usually in week 13 of spring or fall semesters). Very rare circumstances will deviate from this setting but it is possible to set up differently or do manual refreshes. If data is not refreshing and showing information you think should be there, please contact a CES administrator for help on the issue.

Why are these practices important?

With the volume of evaluations and data that we go through, having these practices in place will allow our team to process and deploy evaluation projects efficiently and accurately.