Improving Response Rates: What’s in it for Instructors?

Written by Chanel Sutherland, Explorance.

As the course leader, response rates in course evaluations are in the hands of the instructor. Students are more likely to complete evaluations forms when they know that their instructor takes them seriously and cares about their feedback. However, many faculty members have concerns about course evaluations and how the results can affect their tenure and promotion. This unknown can cause them to favor low response rates and less effort may be made to encourage student participation. Below are a few tips that higher education institutions (HEIs) can implement to affect a change in instructor attitude of course evaluations.

  • Help instructors gather in-term feedback:

    It is worthwhile for HEIs to encourage their instructors to collect feedback on a daily basis throughout the term. A formative feedback tool like Bluepulse offers instructors ongoing opportunities to identify trends or areas in their course that need improvement. This will reduce student dissatisfaction and can lead to higher end-of-term evaluation results. The risk of a bad evaluation score is managed by eliminating the unknown and instructors will be more motivated to help increase student participation.

  • Allow personalized questions on instructor evaluations:

    By creating personalized questions for their course evaluations, instructors can get meaningful feedback on their specific teaching goals. This individualized feedback can help them develop a reflective teaching method that they can use to improve. HEIs can use this data to offer additional professional development support (training, seminars, and mentorships) to faculty members who require it so that they can meet their teaching targets.

  • Link course evaluation results to development cycle:

    Aligning course evaluations to the development cycle can be mutually beneficial for both the instructors and the institution. This puts the instructor in the driver seat of their profession and their future, giving them incentive to drive engagement on course evaluations. It also enables them to track their progress over time and provides the data they need to support applications for promotions and tenures.

  • Increase response rates for more complete data:

    Low response rates on course evaluations can compromise the accuracy of the data that HEIs use to guide institutional decision-making. For instructors, this could mean lost opportunities for advancement or professional development. Therefore, it is in their best interest to entice their students to participate in the course evaluation process. The more interaction they have with their students about course evaluations, the higher the response rates which will yield significant and high quality data.

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