Resources for Instructors

About the Service

Berkeley's Educational Technology Services offers a centralized service for online evaluation of courses. If your department has opted to use this service, they are in charge of requesting online evaluations for any sections in their department.

For instructors receiving online evaluations, you will be invited to add personalized questions shortly before your evaluation opens to students. Evaluations are typically open to students for the three weeks prior to final exams. During this period, the instructor can monitor the response rate in real time using the links sent to you in email, or directly at https://course-evalautions.berkeley.edu.

Students will receive automated email invitations and  reminders to complete their evaluations.

Reports based on this feedback will be distributed to instructors two weeks after the e-grade deadline.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do we evaluate courses at Berkeley?

The goal in requiring teaching evaluations is to assess the quality of teaching done by faculty and GSIs on the campus and to use the feedback to improve teaching and learning on the campus. Teaching evaluations are also used in reviewing faculty for tenure and promotion and in making decisions about teaching awards on the campus.

How is teaching evaluated currently?

Academic Policy requires the formal assessment of teaching through end-of-term course evaluations. Although not required by campus policy, some departments and programs expect their faculty and GSIs to conduct mid-term evaluations as well.

How are course evaluation results currently used on campus?

Course evaluation results are used by instructors to assess their teaching effectiveness and make improvements to their course in subsequent semesters. They are also used by department chairs who are responsible for summarizing teaching performance for campus committees (e.g., the Budget Committee, the Committee on Teaching). In addition, some departments post summary results for public consumption, but that practice is not uniform across campus. Evaluations of GSIs, along with other forms of evidence, are used by most departments in selecting Outstanding GSI Award recipients each year. Teaching evaluations also assist graduate students who need to document their effectiveness as an instructor in applying for faculty positions.

Who gets to see course evaluation data?

Feedback for the department-wide questions, along with response rates, will be reported to relevant administrative staff in the department (which owns that data). The instructor personalized question results will be viewable only by the instructor (who owns that data). The instructor is free to share this feedback as desired. Any additional sharing of course evaluation data is at the discretion of the department.

Who is deciding the content of the evaluation questionnaires?

Every evaluation questionnaire contains one campus-wide question (link) required under Academic Senate policy. Departments will select a core set of questions that appear for their faculty and GSIs. Finally, instructors have the ability to add additional personalized questions, the content and results of which will be shared only with them. These questions will give faculty helpful feedback to improve teaching, as well as provide relevant review committees with information that is aligned with the 1987 Policy for the Evaluation of Teaching in asking students to comment on appropriate aspects of teaching.

Will sections taught by GSIs be evaluated online?

If the department has opted to use online evaluations, all sections taught by faculty and GSIs will be evaluated online.

Who gets to complete an evaluation?

All students enrolled via the official Student Information System are given the opportunity to complete evaluations for the courses in which they are enrolled.

How can I maintain or increase the response rate?

Our system administrators attempt to notify students at frequent intervals during the evaluation process to complete their evaluations so that we can achieve a desirable response rate. Instructors should also consider taking steps to help improve the response rate, such as:

  • Use time in-class for students to complete evaluations using a laptop or mobile device

  • Talk to your students about how you use student feedback

Additional recommendations for administering evaluations are available from The Center for Teaching and Learning.

Students who only show up for tests could fill out the survey. How should this be addressed?

Online course evaluations offers the instructor a formative opportunity to get feedback from a broader portion of the class. If discrepancy between students who attend class and those who do not is a concern, we encourage instructors to add a personalized question to their questionnaire to discover why students attended class irregularly.

Background

In 2009, Berkeley charged a task force with reviewing the procedures by which teaching is assessed on campus. Berkeley began evaluting courses online in 2012. As of Spring 2018, approximately three quarters of student enrollments are evaluated online.

Why is Berkeley implementing a campus-wide online course evaluation system?

Berkeley is implementing a campus-wide online system for several reasons:

  1. Enable rapid access to useful information to help faculty improve their courses and their teaching effectiveness

  2. Encourage and support meaningful student feedback to improve teaching and learning

  3. Improve the quality and integrity of data that the campus uses to understand and recognize teaching contributions

  4. Utilize 21st-century tools for staff to perform their jobs efficiently and free up time for direct service to students and faculty

How did the university determine the needs of an online system?

The office of the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost convened a Steering Committee, chaired by the Vice Provost for Teaching, Learning, Academic Planning and Facilities, to review the requirements definition for the new online Course Evaluation system, as well as the broader challenges with system adoption and implementation. The Steering Committee included representation from the Academic Senate, administration, Graduate Assembly, and the ASUC.