Administering the Evaluation & Ensuring High Response Rates

Logging into IDEA

Faculty Login (use your FDU email and password to log in)

Introducing IDEA to Your Students

Students will receive an automated email when the course evaluations are open for them to complete (see “Current Schedule” for key dates). Past results have shown that introducing IDEA to students makes a significant different in response rates. It is strongly recommended that faculty take 5 to 10 minutes in class to discuss IDEA and any questions students have about it. If the class is online, post announcements and/or set up a discussion board to convey information about IDEA and answer questions.

When introducing IDEA to students, be sure to:

  • Stress the value of student input–make it clear that FDU takes these surveys very seriously and uses them for continuous improvement of teaching, courses, and programs
  • Stress that all evaluations are anonymous and confidential–although students log into the IDEA site with their FDU email and password, when IDEA returns the data to FDU, the data is scrubbed of all identifying information (i.e., FDU receives anonymous aggregated data).
  • Emphasize that faculty do not see any evaluation results until after final grades have been submitted
  • If the class is in person, let students know that they will be given time in class to complete the evaluations
  • If students will be completing the full Diagnostic Feedback Instrument, discuss the thirteen IDEA learning objectives and tell students which objectives have been ranked as “important” and “essential” to the course (based on objective ranking on the Objectives Selection Form). Ideally, the “important” and “essential” IDEA objectives will reinforce and reflect the objectives stated on the syllabus.
  • Give students a copy of the evaluation that they will be receiving so they know what to expect (see “Evaluation Instruments“)

See “Resources” on this page for handouts and materials for faculty to use to introduce IDEA to their classes, including a sample announcement/email about IDEA. Also see the “IDEA for Students” page for links to a Student Reference Guide and Quick Reference Guide that faculty can print and distribute or disseminate to students electronically.

Providing Class Time to Complete the Evaluations

The best way is to ensure high response rates is to provide students with 10 to 15 minutes during a class meeting to complete the course evaluation. Students can easily complete the evaluations on their smartphones, tablets, or laptops.

Faculty should step out of the room while students complete the evaluations.

If the class meets online, faculty should remind and encourage students to complete the evaluations through announcements and/or emails.

Ensuring High Response Rates

In order to get high response rates, it is vitally important that faculty discuss the IDEA evaluations in their classes and take care to explain why these evaluations are important and how anonymity and confidentiality are maintained, as noted above.

Best practices for high response rates:

  • Introduce IDEA to students (see above).
  • Give students time in class to complete the evaluation (see above).
  • Continue to emphasize to students why the surveys are important for faculty in terms of teaching improvement and future class design.
  • Monitor student response rates on a regular basis. As soon as the evaluations open to students, faculty can see response rates by logging into IDEA. If response rates are low, remind and encourage students to complete the evaluation.
  • Consider offering a class-wide incentive (e.g., one point of extra credit for everyone if the response rate is 100%).
  • Remind students of the date the evaluation closes; both faculty and students can see this date by logging into IDEA. Also see “Current Schedule.”

Case study – 93% response rate

Many FDU professors have gotten 90-100% response rates by following the guidelines above. Here’s one example: Meyyappan Narayanan, Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship, got a 93% response rate for a seven-week MBA course. Here’s how he did it:

  • He printed and distributed the IDEA Quick Reference Guide for Students and the Introduction Letter for Students.
  • He spent approximately five minutes discussing the surveys, explaining the format and the importance of student responses.
  • He reassured students that the surveys are anonymous and confidential and stressed that only aggregate responses are seen and used.
  • He asked students to bring a laptop, tablet, or smartphone to class at a designated class session.
  • During that class session, he gave his class 15 minutes to fill out their surveys on their devices. During this time, he left the classroom and remained out of sight until a designated student came to find him after all students completed their surveys. The total time needed was only 15 minutes (and this was for the longest of the evaluations–the Diagnostic Feedback Instrument).

In addition, Dr. Narayanan’s department chair, Dr. Ethne Swartz, was well-versed and supportive of IDEA.