New Course Evaluation Framework and Online Administration System

PDAD&C# 49, 2012-13

To:  Principals, Deans, Academic Directors & Chairs 
From:      Jay Pratt, Acting Vice Provost, Faculty and Academic Life
Date:  March 26, 2013
Re:  New Course Evaluation Framework and Online Administration System



After an extensive period of research, development and pilots, course evaluations in the Faculties of Arts & Science, Nursing and Social Work, along with UTM and UTSC have gone fully online. The online course evaluations are administered through a secure system that is based on UTORids. Students receive direct invitations to complete their evaluations for each of their courses and are provided a window of time to so do.

Instructors are encouraged to remind students (in-class or through the portal) that the evaluation period in their division is open. Where WiFi or cell networks are available, instructors may also wish to provide time in-class for students to complete their evaluations using laptops, tablets and phones as well as desk top computers. One of the benefits of the new course evaluation framework is that students' response rates can be tracked across divisions and best practices incorporated into the process to encourage higher participation rates. A range of communication strategies are already being implemented at the institutional and divisional levels to optimize student participation.

As we move toward this PTR cycle, it is important to remember that course evaluations are just one component of teaching assessment at the University of Toronto. A comprehensive teaching evaluation system should use converging information from a variety of sources: course evaluations, course syllabi, teaching awards, teaching statements, etc. Of these various forms of teaching performance information, course evaluations provide an important mechanism for students to give feedback on their learning experiences in the courses in which they enroll and are useful for assessing course content, the contributions of the instructor and achievement of course objectives. Course evaluations should be considered in the context of each course, and it is useful to take into account such things as the nature (e.g., seminar, laboratory, lecture), enrollment, and content of each course, as well as student response rates. For more details on the assessment of teaching in relation to PTR, please see: http://www.aapm.utoronto.ca/academic-salary-administration#_Toc288214920.

The course evaluation system is administered through the Centre for Teaching Support & Innovation (CTSI). CTSI has developed a number of resources for faculty, students and administrators. For the PTR, promotion and tenure processes, we encourage you to consult the Course Evaluation Interpretation Guidelines for Academic Administrators. This document, along with a range of other resources for instructors and students, is available on-line at: http://www.teaching.utoronto.ca/teaching/essentialinformation/evaluation-framework.htm