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10 Ways to encourage course evaluation participation

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Mercury Course Evaluations are now open to students until December 21 (default period) or until December 7 (for units following the condensed evaluation period). Course evaluations are an important source of feedback to help you learn what is working well in your courses and how you can improve them. They are also a component of the teaching dossier, and are reviewed for the annual merit process.

Professors often express concern about response rates, and so we wanted to share some strategies that you can implement to encourage your students to complete their evaluations. Teaching and Learning Services undertakes numerous University-wide strategies, but encouragement that comes directly from professors has been very effective. Here are 10 things that you can do to encourage student participation in this important process:

  1. Talk to your students about the value you place on course evaluations. Describing concrete changes that you have made to your course in response to previous course evaluation results empowers students to provide constructive and thoughtful feedback.
  2. Let students know if you have granted permission to disseminate your numerical course evaluation results. Students are more likely to complete the evaluations if they know that they and future students will have access to the results at a later date, provided that enough students respond. Instructions to grant or deny permission are available here.
  3. Add a slide to your PowerPoint slideshows during the evaluation period to remind students about course evaluations being open. A sample slide is available here.
  4. Add the Course Evaluations widget to your myCourses homepage. It includes important facts about course evaluations and provides a direct link to complete them. Instructions to add this widget are available here.
Course Evaluations Widget
  1. Add a link to Course Evaluations to your Navigation Bar in myCourses. This provides an easy access point for students. Instructions to do this are available here.
myCourses NavBar
  1. Monitor response rates and post weekly updates during the evaluation period in the News tool on myCourses.
  • If you have granted permission to disseminate your results, let students know how many responses are needed for the numerical results to be made available to students.
  • If you have multiple sections of a course, encourage friendly competition among the sections for the highest response rate!

See a video example of one instructor’s experience.

  1. If you use social media in your class, consider posting a tweet or Facebook message to encourage students to complete their course evaluations. Click here to learn more about social media usage in the classroom.
  1. Include the evaluation period dates in future course syllabi. In the meantime, consider adding the evaluation period dates to your course calendar in myCourses. Instructions are available here.
  2. Consider doing a mid-course evaluation in future classes. Options include an anonymous survey or discussion in myCourses, a one-minute paper, and a student-led discussion. More information is available here. Students are more likely to complete the end-of-course evaluation when they see changes made to the course following the mid-course evaluation.
  3. Ask students to bring their laptops, smartphones, or tablets to class and allow time to complete the evaluations during class. It is most effective to do this at the beginning of the class, or during conferences, tutorials, or labs. If you have a small class, you could also try to book a computer lab. Note that you and any Teaching Assistants must leave the room during this process.

Have you used another effective strategy to promote course evaluations? Let us know! Send an email to mercury.info@mcgill.ca.

Your course evaluation results will be available as soon as your grades have been submitted and approved. We have developed resources to help you interpret your course evaluation results, including tables for numerical results and a comment analysis worksheet.

Thank you for your collaboration in this important process! If you have any questions, please contact us at mercury.info@mcgill.ca.

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