Course Evaluation System

Background

In April 2022, the provost announced that the university would adopt a new course evaluation system. The genesis of the new Course Evaluation System (formerly Course-Instructor Surveys) was the work of a provost’s Task Force on Student Feedback and Teaching and a follow-up resolution passed by Faculty Council in November of 2020. Faculty Council suggested several changes to UT’s course evaluation process, including adopting a vendor-based system, updating the core evaluation questions, and adopting features to allow faculty and administrators to add their own questions. In summer of 2022, the Offices of Academic Affairs and Faculty Affairs led a pilot of the new system, and in the fall of 2022, the university rolled it out for all course. The system includes several new features that make course evaluations easier, including Canvas integration and response rate monitoring.

Goal

The goal of the new Course Evaluation System (CES) is to drive teaching excellence and to support continuous improvement in teaching and learning experiences at The University of Texas at Austin.

Important Dates

  • June 5: Data Clean Up
  • July 20-27: Optional Question Selection Period
  • July 26: Deadline to Request a Policy Exception
  • July 28 – August 11: Survey Fill Out Window
  • August 25: Faculty Receive Reports
  • September 1: Results Published Online
  • September 25: Deadline to Request a Review

The dates above apply only to Whole (W) Session courses. See the full schedule.

Course Evaluation System Information:

What are the core survey questions featured on the UT’s course evaluations?

The questions asked on every evaluation are located here.

When will students complete course evaluations?

Updated schedules are located here.

How and when do I access the new system?

The new Course Evaluation system is called Blue Explorance. We recommend you access the system through Canvas (there is a link to Course Evaluations in your Canvas course’s navigation menu). However, you can always access the system through this direct link. 

How and when do I select optional questions?

You will have the option to select up to three additional questions to add to your course evaluation/s from an item bank on the date listed under Question Selection Begins on the Important Dates Calendar. The responses to these questions will only be viewable by you. You will receive an email from UT Course Evaluations when this opportunity opens, and you will receive reminders through the close date. You will also notice a Canvas pop-up with information about question selection when the window opens. This process is entirely optional. You may also view this short how-to video to walk through the process.

How can I view my response rates or download QR codes/links to use in class?

Whenever possible, we recommend administering your evaluations during a live class meeting.

For the regular fill out period, three days before students may fill out their evaluations you will have the opportunity to view the Response Rate Monitoring Tool for your courses. You will also receive an email from UT Course Evaluations when this opportunity opens, and you will receive reminders through the close date. You will also notice a Canvas pop-up with information when this tool is available. During this period, you will also be able to download a QR code and copy a link tied to each of your courses. You can view our office’s response rate guide here; it contains links and resources to further assist you. In addition, you view this short how-to video here. Please note if you elect to offer extra credit points for students who complete their surveys, you should work with the UT Austin Canvas team to ensure you are setting up the assignment correctly. You can also view a training video on this topic.

How do I review my reports? 

For courses conducted before fall of 2022, instructor reports are located on the MyCIS website. For courses conducted in the fall of 2022 and after, instructor reports are located directly in the new CES System (Explorance Blue). Both require an EID.

How do I access the public reports site, and how do I access the restricted UTEID report site? 

For both public and restricted reports, results are available in two places: reports prior to fall 2022 are available on the CIS Site, and reports conducted in the fall of 2022 and thereafter are available on the Blue Explorance Site. Links are provided in the table below.

Before Fall 2022 After Fall 2022
Public Results CIS Public Results Site (Legacy System)

CES Reports: Explorance Blue Public Results Site

Restricted Results Site (EID Access) CIS Restricted Results Site (Legacy)

CES Reports: Explorance Blue Restricted Results Site

*Chrome and Firefox may perform better than Safari for reviewing these reports.

 

I noticed that these reports are labeled as ‚ÄúVersion A and Version B‚ÄĚ what does this mean?

Individual Instructor Report A includes responses for all items on the course evaluation questionnaire, including the optional questions mentioned above. Only instructors themselves can access Instructor Report A (Instructors also have access to TA reports, but only for individuals who served as TAs for their course).

Individual Instructor Report B includes all responses except those for the optional questions that instructors added. Administrators will have access to Instructor Report B as well as TA Reports for all TAs within their respective areas.

How will students be informed of the new system and process?

On the day evaluations open, the Course Evaluations Team will message all students about the new system. The system will send an automated e-mail to students and send an automated Canvas Announcement that their evaluations are open. The system will automatically remind students who did not complete their surveys by the end date to do so. Students who have already completed their surveys will not receive additional reminders.

How will my TA be evaluated? TA questions have changed, your dept/faculty member, CEL is who to contact, how will I get it.

If your Department has a policy on TA evaluations, that will should determine how your TAs are evaluated. If not, you will determine if your TA should receive a TA evaluation. If you determine your TA should receive an evaluation, you should inform your Course Evaluation Liaison. The TA questions have been updated through recommendations from a faculty task force, and are available in the TA Question Guide.

How can I get help?

You can get help by contacting your Department’s Course Evaluation Liaison/Course Scheduler or by e-mail course-evals@utexas.edu.

The new CES features an updated set of core questions for instructors that were recommended by Faculty Council, piloted in summer of 2022, and updated based on the pilot for fall of 2022. You can review all core questions here. If your course carries a flag/s, students will receive a question/s specific to that flag in their core survey. If the course does not carry a flag, students will receive a general skills question. In addition, a cross-institutional faculty working group is currently reviewing and refreshing TA evaluation questions. Please see the TA Question Guide for more information.

Note that when reviewing the questions, you will notice that they may appear in a different format and order than they have in the past. This order and format was tested during our summer pilot, with positive results.”

The new system provides several features that are aimed at increasing response rates. First, the system is integrated with Canvas and provides pop-ups for students to remind them to complete their evaluations. Canvas will also include a static link for navigation to the course evaluations during the evaluation period.  In addition, the system automatically sends a Canvas Announcement to students and e-mails to remind instructors and students about the evaluation process. Finally, the system has features that allow instructors to live monitor response rates, and provides download links and QR codes to aid in course evaluation administration. (If you normally post an Announcement about course evaluations, you no longer need to do this Рit will be done automatically).

Faculty Council recommended adopting a system that would allow instructors and administrators to add questions to the core evaluation. The new CES will aid in the development of teaching excellence and continuous improvement by allowing both faculty and CSUs to select additional questions from an item bank. The item bank was developed during the pilot, through faculty, Faculty Affairs, and Academic Affairs working groups. Designates from your dean‚Äôs office will oversee the selection of two questions for your CSU from the item bank. In addition, every instructor will have the option to add three questions from an item bank to their evaluations. The purpose of this feature is to allow instructors to pose questions to aid in the continuous improvement of their teaching. As such, these questions are optional for faculty, and responses to these questions will be viewable by instructors only and will not be part of promotion and tenure reviews unless the instructor elects to share those results. These questions are under the instructor’s purview: departments or administrators cannot dictate if instructors add questions, which optional questions instructors add, or require instructors to share the results of optional questions. The optional question item bank¬†for instructors is available for your review. We recommend faculty use this question guide to review and identify the questions they want to select first, before attempting to select their questions in the system.

In fall of 2022, the Provost’s Office launched several faculty working groups to review and refresh the supplemental course-level questions that have been available to departments as part of the CES process. The Office of Academic Technology is developing a roadmap for the release of these questions. Until the new system is fully implemented, supplemental forms will not be available. This pause on supplemental forms is needed to focus university resources on ensuring a successful campus-wide rollout of the new CES system. This pause will also provide time to ensure that supplemental questions align with the new CES goals and technical requirements.

The new system will have a new reporting layout and features. Reports will be available using your UT EID, and will include downloadable HTML, PDF, and CSV files. For some questions, the new reports use bar graphs instead of tables.

Your course schedulers will continue to be the primary point of contact for your course evaluations in your department. We encourage you to start with your CEL if you have questions about your evaluations.

Course Evaluation Instructor Office Hours

Wednesday, June 21st
12:00PM – 1:30PM

Monday, July 10th
5:00PM – 6:30PM

Thursday, July 20th
11:30AM – 1:00PM

Join link

View Past Training Recordings

Friday, November 18
Response Rate Tools 

Friday, November 11
Response Rate Tools

Wednesday, October 19
General Information Session

Monday, October 24
General Information Session

Thursday, October 27
New Features Orientation, including how to select your own questions

Friday, October 28
New Features Orientation, including how to select your own questions.

Help or Questions

If you need help or have questions, please contact the course evaluation team.

Email us