Boosting Student Response Rates
There is a range of proven strategies that you can use to encourage students to take part in online evaluations.
- Discuss evaluation early in the semester. Explain to students that constructive responses are used to guide changes and improvements to papers and teaching.
- Explain to students how you have responded to evaluations in the past (it helps to provide examples in course materials and/or during class).
- Revisit the importance of evaluations at several points in the semester, as a minimum at mid-semester and again when end of semester evaluations become available.
- Reassure students that the evaluation is confidential and that particular feedback cannot be linked to any named student. Let students know that you don’t see results until after final marks have been confirmed. That way students will know that their responses cannot affect their marks.
- Share the URL for the BLUE system with students: http://isg-blue.its.waikato.ac.nz/blue
- Display the website details on a PowerPoint slide. Here is a version with the web address and a QR code Course Evaluations are Online Powerpoint
- Announce to students the time window that your evaluation will be available. Once the evaluation window has closed, students will not be able to evaluate your paper and teaching.
- Use your class email list to remind students to complete the evaluation. The BLUE system automatically sends an initial email, and reminder emails, to students, but it has been shown to be more effective coming directly from the course lecturers and tutors.
- Draw students’ attention to the evaluation block on Moodle.
- You may wish to explain that course evaluations are used in the promotion process for staff (research has shown that this has a slight positive effect on response rates).
- Set aside time for students to complete the online questionnaire during lecture time (leave the room for 10 minutes to allow for them to complete the evaluations in your absence). Make sure that students know in advance that they will need a device such as a smart phone, tablet or laptop. Make sure that the room has strong wifi or book a computer lab.
- Look up your response rate via the staff BLUE link and thank the X% of your students who have responded, making sure that they know you are interested in both the response rate and hearing what they have to say.