Online evaluations to be tested this semester

By Diane Dawson

Students in four colleges will be invited to test a new online course and instructor evaluation system this semester.

The College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Communications and Information Studies, the College of Agriculture and the College of Engineering volunteered to test out the online evaluation system after the UK Office of Institutional Research explained how the system would work, said Connie Ray, vice president of Institutional Research, Planning and Effectiveness.

The institutional research office will send e-mails to students asking them to complete the evaluations online, Ray said. The thought process behind the online system is to become more efficient in relation to cost, time and distribution.

“Our old mainframe system is completely outdated,” Ray said.

The paper evaluations are sent out to be pre-slugged, where professors’ names are filled in, and then the forms are sent back to campus for students to fill out.

UK would save approximately $5,000 each semester by eliminating this process, Ray said.

The success or failure of this system all depends on the students, she said. One concern administrators have is that students will not take the time to fill out the online survey.

If students take the evaluations seriously and the online system is effective, it could take approximately two to three years before the entire campus would utilize this new method, Ray said.

The UK Office of Institutional Research, Planning and Effectiveness hopes students will take the online evaluations seriously because assessments are used in decisions about promotions, tenure, as well as merit pay, said Roger Sugarman, director of Institutional Research, in a press release yesterday.