Student Assessment of Instruction



eXplorance Blue

USF courses following the regular calendar schedule will be assessed through the eXplorance Blue system. The evaluation process is as follows:

  • An automated email and Canvas message will go to students that they have evaluations available for completion. Faculty are also sent an email notifying them that students will soon be able to complete evaluations.
  • A series of three emails will be sent to all students at their USF email address: an initial invitation and two follow up messages.  Each message will contain a link to the evaluations they are eligible to complete (they can also access the evaluation system from MyUSF during the window of availability. The emails will stop when the student has completed their assessments.
  • Students have a fourteen-day window in which to complete the evaluations.  The open period ends just before midnight on the last day of class.

Evaluation Items

The online assessment contains eight Likert-scale questions. The following response options are included: Poor (1), Fair (2), Good (3), Very Good (4), Excellent (5). The numerical nature of the response options allows for averages to be calculated.

  1. Description of Course Objectives and Assignments
  2. Communication of Ideas and Information
  3. Expression of Expectations for Performance
  4. Availability to Assist Students In or Out of Class
  5. Respect and Concern for Students
  6. Stimulation of Interest in the Course
  7. Facilitation of Learning
  8. Overall Rating of the Instructor

In addition, the following two open-ended questions are included:

  1. Please provide any additional comments with respect to "Instructor Name."
  2. Please provide any additional comments with respect to "Course Title."

Accessing Teaching Evaluations

Use the following link to access your student evaluations: https://fair.usf.edu/EvaluationMart/

Click HERE for a list of frequently asked questions about the student assessment of instruction.

Improving Evaluation Scores

There are several steps faculty could take to raise student evaluation scores (click here for the workshop handout):

  • Administer a midterm evaluation similar to this one. This raises student ownership of the class and gives the instructor a chance to alter course early enough in the semester to make a difference. 
  • Become proactive in reaching out to students who are struggling. This can take the form of conversations before or after class, or an email invitation to a private consultation. There is a highly useful tool in the Canvas grade book to "message students who" that allows for quick contact to students who scored below a certain grade on that particular assessment.
  • Attend ATLE workshops and major events (Summer Teaching Symposium, Celebration of Teaching) to improve your classroom management, course design and organization, lecture delivery, discussion facilitation, or many other facets of your teaching.
  • Pay close attention to previous student evaluations, particularly any comments. If a pattern emerges from those student comments, consider adjusting your class to avoid such problems in the future.
  • Strive to humanize yourself to your students. When we visualize great teachers, we think of adjectives like "flexible," "inspiring," 'fair," or "caring," rather than words associated with our content. Yet when we walk in to a room as the instructor, we're often focused more on the content.
  • Reduce clutter and confusion in online content. Students should ideally be given only one path to find content, not multiple buttons and pathways. Turn off side navigation buttons that are not essential to finding the content.
  • Don't forget to put student evaluation results into context, such as comparing the raw averages to class size, to GPAs earned, across terms, and against other classes in the department and college.

Improving Student Response Rates

To prevent the problem that only students with strong opinions (on either end of the spectrum) bother to fill out the end of semester evaluation, instructors can take steps to encourage all students to participate:

  • Provide a ten-minute period during the evaluation window for students to complete the task using their own devices, right there in the room (the instructor should step outside).
  • Ask students to fill out a paper evaluation form developed by you or your department, to gain a higher percentage of students completing at least one form of evaluation.
  • Remind students, multiple times if possible, to complete the evaluation.
  • Give students context and an explanation of the value of the evaluations, so they feel it is worth their time to complete them.
  • During the evaluation window, create an assignment in Canvas (perhaps worth zero points) that asks students to upload a screen shot confirming they completed your course evaluation. Set the "Display Grade As" option to Complete/Incomplete. Mark students who have not submitted a screen shot incomplete until they do so.
  • Note: it is generally not recommended to provide individual extra credit for students that complete student evaluations, as it is difficult to ascertain who really performed the evaluation without compromising their ability to provide honest feedback. One possible workaround is to provide extra credit to the entire class if a threshold percentage (80%?) of students did complete the evaluation.

Additional Support

Faculty who want more information about enhancing student evaluations are encouraged to contact us (atle@usf.edu) for a one-on-one consultation. ATLE also hosts regular workshops on this topic you can register for (or click here for the workshop handout).