You have the most important role of all--completing the course evaluations! Rating and comment questions completed by you and other students in your course have a substantive impact on such areas as course instruction, curriculum design, teaching improvement and instructor performance reviews. The time and effort you take to give thoughtful, careful feedback can also make a significant difference in your relationships with other students, diversity and inclusion, and an overall positive campus environment.
Please read on in this section for instructions on how and when to take the course evaluations, and the importance of doing do.
When will I take my course evaluations?
Near the end of each semester, course evaluations will be deployed in a survey "window," with starting and ending dates and times. These windows occur before final exams (up to the last day of classes), and are mostly standard length but can occasionally vary per course--the length of each is displayed in your "Dashboard". In addition to the window, some instructors may ask you to bring your devices to class on a certain day to complete the evaluations together with your classmates. Some instructors may also elect to give you a midterm course evaluation around the time of midterm exams or projects.
Mini course and Summer Session course evaluations deploy near the end of classes, ending on the last day of class posted in MyRed.
How will I take my course evaluations?
You have three choices on how to complete the evaluations: in your Canvas course, through a link specified for you only in an e-mail, or with with the Canvas Mobile App. Directions on how to use each of these methods are located in the "During Deployment" section below.
I'm really busy at the middle and end of the semester. Will I get reminders to take the evaluations? If so, how?
In addition to your instructor's in class or on-line reminders about course evaluations, a series of automated reminders, in the form of e-mails and Canvas "pop up" notifications, will prompt you to complete them. These can occur both before and during the survey window--be watching for them.
Contact your instructor if you need any help accessing your course evaluations.
Once the surveys are available for input, you will see a "pop up" notice in Canvas when you login, reminding you to complete the surveys. You can click the Do It Later button to access Canvas without completing the survey. If you do, you won’t see that Canvas notice again for a few days. If you start the survey and decide you want to finish it later, you will see buttons to Exit (without saving input) or to Save & Come Back Later. Clicking either button will allow you to access Canvas without completing the surveys at that time. NOTE: Any partial survey entries saved but not submitted by the survey end date and time will not be recorded.
E-mail Link Instructions
When you receive the e-mail that offers you a way to "take the survey now", click on the "here" link. You'll be immediately be brought to your dashboard page on the UNL CES site. Click on the link at the top of the course listing to take the evaluation for that course. If you start the survey and decide you want to finish it later, you will see buttons to Exit (without saving input) or to Save & Come Back Later. NOTE: Any partial survey entries saved but not submitted by the survey end date and time will not be recorded.
Canvas Mobile App Instructions
In the survey announcement e-mail you'll receive on the the survey start date, you'll have links for the Android and iPhone CES dashboard.
Why can’t I submit my evaluation?
Any questions with a red asterisk (*) on the left side are required and must be answered in order to submit your evaluation.
Pro Tips for Writing Helpful Feedback
There are many ways to give effective feedback. We recommend referring to the tips we have collected below for giving feedback during the course evaluation.
What makes good feedback? Remember these things:
- Avoid “emotionally-charged” words and vague statements.
- Stick to the facts. Leave out inferences, assumptions, and personal biases.
- Describe specific situations and how they affected your learning.
- Elaborate on your compliment or critique.
|“Emotionally-Charged” Words||This is language that includes feelings and emotions of the writer or evokes an emotional response from the reader.||N/A|
|Vague Statements||Short sentences with little to no elaboration.||“She/He/They were great!” “She/he/they were bad at teaching.”|
|Biases & Prejudice||References to race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, ability, or any other protected status.||N/A|
|Inferences and Assumptions||Guessing information based on personal opinion, not supported by fact.||“I don’t think [the professor] is very confident.”|
|Poor Feedback||What’s Wrong with the Feedback and How Can It Be Written Better?||Pro Feedback|
|She gives really challenging tests.||Vague feedback, it would be helpful for the instructor to know how her tests were challenging and what could help students when taking her tests.||Her tests were really hard for me. I wasn’t always sure how to study because it wasn’t clear what was going to be on the test. It would also have helped me to know how she gives her tests and the types of questions are on them.|
|I loved how they taught their class!||Vague and lacking elaboration. Choose a specific situation or method your instructor used and how it helped your learning.||The videos in class were great examples to understand how the concepts appear in the real world. I learned a lot from the kinds of videos my instructor chose.|
|He is mean to the students and I don’t like how he lectures.||Emotionally-charged feedback and vague. Explain how the instructor could have made the classroom a safer place to learn and what he/she did in his/her lectures that was difficult to learn from.||The instructor interrupted students during discussions and eventually students didn’t want to share in class. This made some of his/her lectures uncomfortable to sit through. He/She only presented information in lectures on the white board and it would have been helpful to see the notes on a PowerPoint.|
Another way to think about giving feedback is to use the STAR method. The acronym S.T.A.R. is a helpful way to remember the parts of good feedback.
ST – Situation/TaskStart with a specific event, situation, or task your instructor did or you were asked to do in the class.
A – ActionExplain what your instructor did during this situation/task. Be specific and use facts
R – ResultExplain how the situation and their actions influenced your learning.
Take STAR a couple of steps further and talk about alternatives. What would have been helpful for you? You can remember this method by adding an extra “AR” on the end to make “STAR/AR.”
A – Alternative actionProvide a suggestion for what your professor could have done differently that would have been helpful for you.
R – Alternative resultExplain how this would have helped your learning.
ST – Situation/TaskUsing clicker questions at the end of a unit.
A – ActionQuestions are used to test our knowledge and open up discussion.
R – ResultMostly liked it. Helped me learn some of the concepts. By the end, instructor went through questions fast.
A – Alternative actionPosting them ahead of time would help us think and leave more time for discussion.
R – Alternative resultThinking about the questions longer and hearing the discussion in class helps me prepare for the test.
Written STAR Example
Written as a paragraph, more details can be added which really help the instructor understand how their teaching impacts your learning. Here is the example written out:
My professor used clicker questions at the end of each unit to test our knowledge and facilitate discussion about the concepts and theories in class. Overall I liked it, and it helped me figure out where my understanding of the concepts was lacking. By the last two units, we ran out of time to go into detail on the clicker questions and she went through them really fast just having us think about them on our own. During these units, I didn’t feel as confident for the test. One idea is for the instructor to post the questions on Canvas before class so we have a chance to read them and think about them. Then when we are ready to discuss, we have had some time to think. Having more time to think about the questions and hear what my other classmates have to say about the concepts helps me understand the content better.
Here is another, slightly shorter, example:
My professor has great PowerPoint slides but he spends more time in class talking about other stories that don’t seem to relate to the topic. I feel confused and overwhelmed with all of the extra information that he shares with us in class and I struggle to focus on what I need to know for the test. If he would explain how his stories relate or check in with us about what we need more help understanding, I would feel less overwhelmed.
And another example:
The TA did a great job during labs. She explained information clearly and her slides were a visual supplement. She was really respectful to all of the students and encouraged us to ask questions which made it a safe environment to learn, even though the lab was hard for me.
What are course evaluations?
Course evaluations are a safe and secure way for you to share feedback about your experience in the classes you take. Your feedback is anonymous and confidential. This means that your name is never linked to any of your responses and your feedback is only seen by a select few people.
Why are course evaluations important?
There are many good reasons to take course evaluations. Your feedback can benefit yourself, fellow students, and your instructors.
How can course evaluations help you?Course evaluations are the perfect time to reflect not only on what you’ve been learning but how you’ve been learning. When you have more insight about the way you learn and what works best for you, you can apply this knowledge to future semesters and beyond into your career.
How will course evaluations help other students?You can help your current classmates by completing your instructor’s mid-term evaluation. If your instructor wants feedback mid-semester, use the opportunity to offer suggestions that may impact you and the other students in your class that semester. Pay it forward! Your feedback on the current semester will impact future students. Feedback that you provide on your course evaluations will be generated into reports that help your instructors determine what needs to change in future semesters.
How will course evaluations help your instructor?The feedback you provide in your course evaluations is a valuable asset that your instructors will use as they improve their teaching performance and course design. In a similar way that your instructors give you feedback on your work to help you develop, your feedback on course evaluations can help your instructors improve. The more specific you can be in your evaluations, the more helpful this will be for your instructors.
For some pro tips on giving feedback, click here!
Who has access to my feedback, and when?
Feedback is made available to instructors at least 15 days after the end of the term (11 days after in summer sessions). Your evaluation feedback will not be used in determining your final grades. This allows for instructors to maintain fair and ethical grading practices and provides a safe space for you to be open and transparent in your evaluations.
College department chairpersons, associate/assistant deans, deans and some administrative staff will also have access to course evaluation results. They will use feedback to help instructors improve their teaching performance and make adjustments to programs when determining course offerings.