General Questions

Q: Why are evaluations being conducted online this year?

A: In the past, evaluations were conducted using paper forms, which required a tremendous amount of work, and made it very difficult to reap benefits from the results without significant effort. Having digital, sortable, and searchable records enables SAIC to make better use of this valuable information. Through this transition SAIC is eliminating the printing of over 15,000 pages of forms and countless hours collating class packets, distributing paper forms to classes, and scanning and archiving the results.

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Q: Why are students asked to fill out evaluations?

A: Evaluations are an essential part of SAIC, and are used for various procedures, including contract and tenure reviews. These evaluations will be available to deans, department chairs, faculty, and students via the Office of Student Affairs in 36 S Wabash on the 12th floor. There is additional information about this process in the Faculty Handbook. Detailed and truthful responses are very much appreciated as we hope to deliver the very best curriculum that we possibly can.

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Q: How was the decision made to move from paper forms to online evaluations?

A: This project was initiated and overseen by the Technology Steering Committee in 2011. After comparing several products, extensive research, and preparation, EvaluationKIT was used in a pilot survey to evaluate the first semester of Sophomore Seminar in Spring 2012. This pilot survey received a 75 percent response rate and met SAIC’s expectations. The Faculty Senate unanimously approved the transition to online course evaluations on September 13, 2012.

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Q: What is EvaluationKIT?

A: EvaluationKIT is a company that SAIC has contracted with to provide a secure, online, anonymous evaluation system. This company was selected from among many vendors, and is used by several of our peer institutions. EvaluationKIT’s system sends out the announcement emails and collects the results on our behalf. All information generated by SAIC and its students belongs to SAIC, and EvaluationKIT cannot use our data for any reason other than to provide this service. We encourage you to review the features of this product.

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Q: Where do the online evaluations come from? How do students receive them?

A: Unique access URLs are automatically sent to each student from the EvaluationKIT system on SAICs behalf. These URLs provide direct access to each student’s surveys. They will be sent from the address evals_admin@saic.edu

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Q: What happens if I do not receive an email?

A: Please check that this email did not get forwarded to a spam folder. Search your SAIC Gmail account for evals_admin@saic.edu. If you cannot find it, please email your seven-digit student ID number to evals_admin@saic.edu, and we can issue a new email.

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Q: How does EvaluationKIT know that a student has not completed their course evaluations? Why do I keep getting emails?

A: EvaluationKIT tracks who has completed a survey. Most students receive multiple surveys (one for each evaluated course that they are enrolled in). If the entire list is not completed, it will continue to send reminders every three days until a student evaluates all of their courses.

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Q: What should I do if I am a student and I accidentally deleted the announcement email and therefore do not have the URLs to my surveys.

A: Email evals_admin@saic.edu with the subject line: “Course evaluation link” and include your student ID in the body of the email.

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Q: I'm a student and want to change or edit the evaluation I just submitted. Can I cancel or make changes to it?

A: No. It is not possible to edit survey results once they have been submitted. Your responses are anonymous and as such they cannot be altered in any way.

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Q: Do course evaluation answers affect a student's grade?

A: No. A student's course evaluation answers cannot affect his or her grade. Course evaluation feedback is not distributed to faculty or department heads until all grades are entered into PeopleSoft and are locked.

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Q: I am a teacher or department head. How do I check course evaluation results?

A: The steps for instructors to check course evaluation results are here. The steps for department heads to check course evaluation results are here.

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Evaluation Procedures 

Q: What are the dates of this semester's online evaluations?

A: The fall 2014 online evaluations are scheduled to be sent on November 19, and will conclude on December 31, 2014.

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Q: Why is the deadline not extendable?

A: Evaluation results can have an effect on faculty schedules for the following semester, so it is important to send out results to faculty and department heads as soon as possible.

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Q: How long does it take to complete the survey?

A: It should take 5–15 minutes to complete the survey, per course.

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Q: What are the evaluation questions SAIC course evaluations? How are they determined?

A: The evaluation questions in the online evaluations correspond to the questions on paper-based evaluations. The questions were last updated in the Fall 2014 semester, and all revisions to the questions or formats are made with the full consensus of the SAIC Faculty Senate, the Curriculum Committee, and the Faculty Contract and Tenure Review Board (FCTRB). The course evaluations have been revised as of Fall 2014 to include both short-answer quantitative and more reflective qualitative feedback. The same sections of the form still exist: feedback about the course, feedback about the faculty, and feedback about student performance. The rationale for the revisions was to improve the quality of the information collected and the quantity of information; by shortening the survey we expect higher student response rates. (According to our Faculty Handbook, the FCTRB is tasked with the final approval of revisions to the course evaluations since they are a key component of our evaluation and promotion process.)

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Q: How are students supposed to fill out online evaluations if they don’t have a laptop in class?

A: The survey can be completed on any computer or smartphone with internet access and a compatible browser. When using a smartphone, we recommend using a browser and not the available EvaluationKIT app, which we have determined to be unreliable.

General access computers are available across the SAIC campus, including the GA Lab (MacLean Center, 112 South Michigan Avenue, room 901), The Columbus Kiosk Room (280 South Columbus Drive, room 111), the Sharp Student Lounge (37 South Wabash Avenue, room 247) and Neiman Center, and the Flaxman Library (6th floor of 37 South Wabash Avenue). Many departments also have department-specific computer facilities that can be used, as well.

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Q: What does the announcement email that students receive look like?

A: Here is the text of the email that is sent to students when the surveys go live:

Dear SAIC student,

Your feedback on the courses you experienced this fall is so important. Department Chairs and Deans use the course evaluation data to regularly review curriculum and instruction. In addition, these evaluations are a significant component of our faculty review process so please take time to answer the questions thoughtfully.

Our digital course evaluation form has been significantly revised. The new version of the form is considerably shorter. You will see that some questions ask for you to tick a multiple-choice option for feedback and other questions that require more reflective responses. Overall, the forms should be much faster to complete.

This email contains several different links, each of which points to an electronic survey dedicated to one of your fall 2012 classes. Do not share these links, as they are unique to your user account. Please keep your answers private. The EvaluationKit software guarantees student anonymity. Each of your instructors will be allotting 15 minutes of class time to complete the evaluations. If you prefer to submit your evaluations now, that is fine. Be sure to complete your evaluations before December 31st at 11:59 p.m.

[TableOfSurveys]

Please take this request very seriously. Please keep in mind that you can use other student evaluations to review courses that may be of interest to you in your studies via the Office of Student Affairs. Your detailed and truthful responses are very much appreciated as we hope to deliver the very best curriculum that we possibly can at SAIC. Your comments will be valuable as we plan for the upcoming academic year.

Thank you for your participation.

Sincerely,

Tiffany Holmes
Dean of Undergraduate Studies

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Q: Can I share my survey links with another user?

A: No. Please do not share your survey URLs. Each email contains URLs that are encrypted and are unique to each user.

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Q: What should I do if I believe someone else has accessed my survey URL?

A: If you suspect that someone else has filled out your online course evaluation on your behalf, please email evals_admin@saic.edu right away.

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Q: Are survey answers anonymous?

A: Yes. Answers are completely anonymous. The software allows us to produce reports of students who have not completed surveys, but does not allow us to match students with answers. Instructors, administrators, and SAIC IT support staff have no way of identifying a particular person’s answers. The results are presented to the instructor and others as a set of compiled answers with no indication of who wrote each one. Courses with two or fewer students will not be evaluated using online forms.

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Q: Can SAIC match a student’s answers to the unique URL that is sent to the student in the announcement email?

A: No. Unique URLs are generated by EvaluationKIT so that a student’s answers can be linked to the correct course that they are enrolled in and to prevent multiple submissions by a student. Any identifying information in that URL is encrypted, and no one at SAIC can see the URL that a student receives—the URLs are sent by EvaluationKIT directly to the student.

Once a student submits a survey, that URL is no longer valid.

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Q: What happens if a student does not fill out the survey?

A: Students will receive an automated reminder email every three days if they have not completed all pending surveys for the courses that they are enrolled in.

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Q: Why are some students being asked to fill out paper forms in addition to digital forms depending on the class they are in?

A: All faculty currently involved in contract and tenure review have been requested to remain with paper evaluations for the Fall 2013 course evaluation cycle. This includes team-taught courses where one of the faculty members is involved in tenure review. Special instructions have been sent directly to those instructors. If a tenure track instructor is team teaching with a non-tenure track faculty member, time should be allocated in class for students to fill out a paper evaluation for the tenure-track instructor and an online evaluation for the adjunct faculty or instructor.

Questions about paper forms should be addressed to Nia Easley (neasley@saic.edu) if they relate to contract progression and the permission to use paper. Questions about getting the actual paper course evaluations in hand should be sent to Rachel Buckmaster (rbuckmaster@saic.edu).

If your course is taught by an instructor who appears on the Fall 2014 Excluded Instructors list, you will not receive an invitation to complete an online evaluation for that course. Evaluations for these courses will be done on paper.

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Q: Are students in team-taught courses expected to fill out two surveys?

A: If a tenure track instructor is team teaching with a non-tenure track faculty member, students will complete a paper evaluation for the tenure track instructor, and an online evaluation for the non-tenure track instructor. For courses that are team-taught by two non-tenure track faculty members, students will complete one online evaluation that will contain questions about both instructors.

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Q: What happens if students don't receive a digital evaluation for a team-taught course?

A: In a team-taught course where all instructors are tenure track faculty members, students will complete ONLY paper evaluations this term. If one of the faculty members is non-tenure track and the students do not receive a digital evaluation for this instructor, please contact evals_admin@saic.edu.

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Q: How will faculty, department heads, and students access the survey results?

A: Students will be able to access printed copies of the surveys in the Office of Student Affairs in 36 South Wabash Avenue on the 12th floor. Faculty and department heads will receive further instructions after the survey is closed about how they will be able to access the results.

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Q: Is every course at SAIC being evaluated using this new system?

A: No. Courses taught (or team-taught) by certain tenure track faculty are being evaluated by paper forms. Also, certain courses are excluded from evaluations altogether due to their unique nature or if they are evaluated by other means. These include courses such as Co-op placements, off-campus courses, grad projects, undergrad independent projects, study abroad courses, Continuing Studies courses, and others If you are unsure about your course, please email evals_admin@saic.edu and include the course name and instructor name in your inquiry.

If your course is taught by an instructor who appears on the Fall 2014 Excluded Instructors‌ list, you will not receive an invitation to complete an online evaluation for that course. Evaluations for these courses will be done on paper.

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Q: I’m an instructor teaching a course that should have been evaluated, but students did not receive anything by email, or on paper.

A: If your class is not one of the exceptions described in the answer above, and you are not currently undergoing contract or tenure review, please notify evals_admin@saic.edu about this possible oversight.

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