After lackluster participation in online Student Feedback Forms last summer, administrators saw a turnaround in the fall and met their goal with a response rate over 50 percent.
Fall 2012 was the first full semester in which the forms were used after trial runs in the preceding two summer sessions in 2012 which resulted in a 40.2 percent and 35.8 percent response rate, respectively, according to statistics provided by Senior Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies Peter Jones.
Previously, professors would spend class time distributing feedback forms to students toward the end of the semester. While the response rate for these evaluations was 71.9 percent last spring, Jones said the response to the paper forms had been declining in recent years.
Last semester yielded a 51.1 percent response rate that Jones said was achieved largely through marketing techniques which included numerous emails to students, events in the TECH Center, Student Center and dining halls and video and display board messages. Administrators also reached out to faculty whose summer response rate was over 50 percent to gauge how they were able to encourage students to complete the online forms. Jones said one of the most important aspects of advertising the online forms centered on faculty explaining the importance of student response.
“It’s most important for faculty to convey that this information is valuable to them,” Jones said.
The Faculty Student Feedback Forms Committee was tasked by former Acting President Richard Englert last spring with reaching a 50 percent response rate to the online evaluations within two years of implementation. While Jones, who chairs the committee, said it was “outstanding” that it reached its goal in the first full semester of implementation, he indicated that he would like to improve on what the group has already accomplished.
“I would like to improve on the 51 percent we [achieved],” Jones said.
Response rates varied through schools and colleges. The School of Tourism and Hospitality led the way with a 69.8 percent response rate, according to the Fall 2012 feedback results. Jones said this is a number he hopes all schools achieve. The College of Engineering had a response rate of 43.7 percent, the lowest of the schools and colleges.
“If STHM can achieve [almost] 70 percent, any school can,” Jones said.
Online forms will be used for at least the next two years, Jones said. He added that he hopes to climb toward an overall 75 percent response rate.
Sean Carlin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @SeanCarlin84.