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Friday, June 20 • 10:30am - 11:00am
CON11.10 – Online Evaluation of Courses: Advantages, Risks and Challenges (Room A313)

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In 2012, the University of Ottawa’s Senate Committee on Teaching and Teaching Evaluation began examining the possibility of carrying out online evaluation of courses. Stemming from the works of Adams and Umbach (2012); Crews and Curtis (2011); Dommeyer, Baum, Hanna and Chapman (2004); Gamliel and Davidovitz (2005); Morrison (2011); Nevo, McClean and Nevo (2010); Nowell, Lewis and Handley (2010); and Venette, Sellnow and McIntyre (2010), the committee carefully considered the advantages, risks and challenges of moving from hard copy course evaluation to fully online evaluation. In consultation with various administrative and curriculum committees, the advantages of online evaluation were recognized, but concerns remained regarding how this format may affect the response rate and scores of sub-groups within the University (program, class size, language of instruction, etc.). As such, a pilot project was initiated to assess:

  • the impact of online evaluation on participation rates;
  • the validity of the evaluation results;
  • user feedback (students and professors); and
  • the logistics associated with the online evaluation process.

Working from a randomly sampled list of courses that represent both full-time and part-time instructors, all faculties, and a variety of class sizes, 400 professors were invited to participate in the pilot project by having their course evaluated using the online format in the fall term of 2013. A total of 216 professors agreed to participate and preliminary results indicate a total response rate of 52% for courses evaluated online versus 64% for courses evaluated using the traditional paper-based format. Another 600 invitations to participate in the pilot project will be sent out in the winter term. Initial indications suggest that the relatively high online participation rates may be associated with the maintenance of the mandatory in-class 20 minute evaluation period at the end of the semester. In addition to student questionnaires, feedback will also be collected through focus groups with professors after the course evaluation results and comments from the fall semester have been released.

This session is largely structured as a presentation of the pilot project results. Resources related to the transition from paper-based to online course evaluation will be shared and discussed.


Friday June 20, 2014 10:30am - 11:00am EDT
A313 McArthur Hall

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