CAFE - Course and Faculty Evaluation, University of Hawaii

Comments from instructors with high response rates

The eCAFE team emailed instructors who attained an 80% response rate or higher on all their courses in a semester and asked them what methods they employed to accompish this. We've posted all their responses here as a resource for other instructors. We used 80% as this is above the normal 74% response rate that was attained with the paper-based evaluations.

Add 5 points towards their final examination.
Honestly I had to beg. I sent out repeated INDIVIDUAL emails to each student asking them to respond. I also reminded them at the beg and end of EVERY CLASS in the last month of school. It was a pain, but that's how it worked.
I have access to a computer lab and set aside some time in the beginning of the class to have the students respond to go online and respond to the ecafe form.
I don't have much to say. All I did was send an email reminder to my class about getting online and filling out the eCAFE evaluations.
I believe there two points that can be shared: To build a good teaching-learning environment, and so students like you and listen to you. To remind the students about the cafe evaluation a few times - at least two times: when the survey becomes available, a week before the survey to be ended.
I just asked students to fill out the forms and reminded them in class. I also emphasized that I would read their answers and that I did care... Honestly nothing special I think...!
I offered the 3 points extra credit to my students as an incentive for them to complete the survey!
I'm not sure that I can help. My class has less than 20 students. It's not really so much an academic class, than a supervision class for practical experience in teaching psychology. The one thing that I think that I have done with my students is to earn their respect. Having done that, I asked them to evaluate me, not only so that I can find out how I am doing, but to also improve the class and my teaching methods. I also solicit feedback throughout the semester and explain to them that their feedback is important so that I can optimize their learning and their experience in the class.
My high response rate is directly attributed to my class location, which is next to [a computer center]. In advance, I ask the center to allow my students the use of their computers. I then send groups of them to complete the survey during class time. Though I mention that it is voluntary, they usually all take the survey... after all it is during class time. No real strategy... however, because I usually have these students for up to 6 hours a day, 4-5 days a week, they are usually very supportive of our program and any tool that can improve it. Like I said, not really a strategy, but an opportunity.
My strategy is pretty simple and straightforward. I simply tell the students that I will drop their lowest quiz score if, and only if, at least 80 percent of the students participate in the eCAFE survey. During the last week or so of the survey period, I monitor the number of responses daily and share that information with the class. This strategy has been extremely effective during the two years I have been using it.
I told the students something as follows:
  • I intend to teach this course again, perhaps every year.
  • I will teach this course, because I like teaching and the subject (Molecular Cell Biology)
  • You have perhaps noticed that I tried to do my best in teaching this course.
  • I would like to do even better in the next year; in fact, I have already developed some ideas about how to improve.
  • But I would like to hear from you also. I would like to know what you think about this course and how I can improve teaching this course.
  • Do not expect that I will accept everything you suggest; but if you make some reasonable suggestions, I will consider them.
  • If you did not like my teaching, please feel free to write it in your evaluation.
  • Therefore, please complete the eCAFE course evaluation for this course.
In the next class, I said something like this:
  • Only 33% of you have completed the course evaluations.
  • I have done my job, now it is your turn to complete the evaluation
  • If you did not like my way of teaching or anything about the course, this is your only chance to express yourself. I strongly encourage you to complete the eCAFE evaluations. Please tell me your thoughts about how possibly I can improve teaching this course.
Here's my recipe:

(a) Make results from previous semesters public, and provide a link to them on the home page of the course starting with the first day of the semester.

(b) At the end of the semester, provide an extra credit assignment with the following rules: If *everyone* fills out the course evaluation, *everyone* gets (a small amount of) extra credit points. If even a single person in the class fails to fill it out, *no one* gets extra credit. (I explain that I have access to the percentage completion, but not individual responses, so this is the only way I can grade it).

I also explain that I always make the results public, referencing the home page as proof, and so their responses not only give me feedback but also provide information to future students about the course. So, what they say and how they say it is actually quite *important*.

Interestingly, this gets students in the class involved in trying to get participation.

IMHO, the combination of public results plus extra credit points is what makes the system effective, because if you look at the results, you can see that the students really took some time and provided quite thoughtful responses. If the responses are private, then I predict the students would spend minimal time on it.

(d) When the results are made publicly available, I will send a followup email to the students with a link to them and my reaction. In my response, I will only discuss what I intend to do differently next time--in other words, I respond _positively_ to the feedback. While I don't agree with everything they said, I will not react defensively in this email (that will only alienate them). The point of this final posting is to reinforce to them that I am listening and that the time they spent on the evaluation actually does produce change.

There are really no strategies. I think it's about the connection and relationships you establish with your students throughout the semester. You demonstrate trust in them as learners and in turn they respond with their trust. This was an online class, so the trust factor is critical, in my humble estimation. They must know that you are in full support of their learning throughout the semester. Other than that, I made a timely announcement, and forward a couple e-mail reminders. I let them know that their feedback would be valued, and as recommended, I let them know that I would forward them the results when they were made available. Frankly, even I was blown away by the 100% response rate.
I give +1 extra credit to the grades of my students if everyone (I will allow one slacker) fills out the eCafe form. Students start checking up on each other and make sure that everyone fills out the form. Instructors can also give +1 to participation, or to a quiz if they don't want to give out too many points.
I reminded my students and encouraged them to be expressive of their views. Be as positive as possible and be constructive.
I had notified students of eCafe and put the link on Laulima for them to access. Then when it opened, I told them it was open and would take about 5-10 minutes, depending if they wanted to make comments. The next week I told them what percentage of students had responded and thanked them. I reminded students it was anonymous and would not post to me until after the semester grades were in the system and available to them. The next week I gave an update on the percentage of student respondents and cheered their efforts. I then said, "OK you know who you are, please take the five minutes and complete this "new" way to evaluate your instructor" and thanked them in advance.
I really don't have much to offer by way of suggestions; I merely ask my students to bring a printed confirmation to class before the period to complete surveys has ended. I do not provide extra-credit points to students (as some of my colleagues do) and it is explained that this is part of their right and privilege as a student. The latter point is something I emphasize.
Here is what I did to the best of my recollection: -I sent out the link from ecafe to my class saying that evaluations were ready as soon as the link was made available.
-I mentioned the need to do the evaluation while I was still teaching the class on at least 2 different days.
-On the last class day, I usually combine final student presentations with a class pot-luck food party, but I also make sure that at least one student has their computer with them that last day. I remind them that if they have not done the course evaluation, they can use the laptop someone has brought along. I truly have no idea if students did any evaluations on the last class day or not because I really paid no attention to it, but it was just another way to remind them. Maybe it worked!
Hi!! My strategy was that since I teach in the classroom near the computer lab. I was inviting students to complete the forms during my break or right after the class. They were very eager to do so even if I did not give them any credit for the exercise. Another thing is that, during the process and after I received the report sent by your team about the completion rate, I invited those who did not complete to do so before the deadline. Some apologized for forgeting and did it right after the class. I think also faculty should build a relationship of mutual respect with students. It is not easy but possible. One of the things I use in the process is to try to know the name of every student as soon as possible. It is more difficult for large classes but at least I try to know their faces aand chat randomly with them during the break one at time.
I reminded my classes that course evaluations were on line, emphasized how important these were and how I valued student input. Then I asked each student directly if he or she would definitely go online to evaluate the course. I am thankful that my students came through at a fairly high level.
I owe my success to [...]. She offered a small amount of extra credit points to any student that completed the survey. We shared 2 classes last fall, so the students were expected to complete surveys for both of us.
No secret formula just offered it as extra credit I gave five points if they turned in their paper that proved that they did the evaluation.
  1. Explain the process in person to your students and let them know who much you value them completing the surveys. Explain why the campus is using an electronic survey. Inform the students this is a UH wide instructor survey system.
  2. Remind them in person to follow the instructions in the ecafe emails.
  3. Check your response rates and follow up with a class announcement if necessary.
  4. Provide some class time to complete the survey. For example, finish class 10-15 minutes early so the students don't feel they have to complete the survey on their own time.Let them know why you are finishing class early. But don't do this during your last class, so you can follow up if necessary.
  5. Tell them thank you when you have a good response.
Our courses are in the field of New Media so our students are used to contributing and participating in online dialog. Also, our classes are held in computer lab classrooms, which facilitates the completion of these surveys a great deal. Class time is scheduled for students to complete the survey similar to how they were conducted when done on paper; Instructor provides link via email, then instructor leaves class for about 20 minutes upon asking students to check their email for link and to please take the time to complete the survey.
After about 1/1/2 weeks of receiving the invitation to fill in the online evaluations of the course, I often look at the statistics on eCAFE to see how many more students in a particular class need to fill in the evaluation. I then tell students in the class that "there are (number) of you who still have not fill in the course evaluation. Please do so. At the last meeting of the class, I tell students that I grades will do posted only after evaluations are completed.
Two weeks before the last day of class I would remind my students almost every day that they have to do my electronic evaluation. If I would see that 80% had responded, they would not have to do the LAST of six chapters in our Spanish electronic workbook. Each chapter in the e-workbook is worth 50 points. One day before the last day, I had 80%!
There's really no strategy, I make arrangement with the Learning Center at a prearranged time and let the students all go down together. If someone misses class on that day, I'd just remind them that need to do the evaluation ASAP.
The way I did was I reminded students as often as possible during the survey period. I also checked e-cafe website to see how many students did not complete e-cafe. I told them that there are still few students who did not complete the e-cafe. Some time, I even asked students with their names to cross-check. Since the class size was too not large (18 students), It was a bit easy for me. I told them how important it is to complete the e-cafe survey.
Before the students go to clinicals in the hospitals, I have them on campus for the first 5 weeks (for Fundamental students) and I see them 3-5 times a week for both the lecture and the labs. I know all their names and faces. When it's time to do the evaluations, for the e-cafes, when it comes out, I remind the students both in class and I send them an e-mail. We also have the HESI exams scheduled at the end of the semester; the HESIs are national standardized exams that are given after each clinical course. The students are given a block of time to do the HESI but we have them come in 15 minutes earlier to do the course evaluations and if they didn't have a cha Also every time I get an update from e-caf´┐Ż on the number of students that did the evals, if the percentage is low, I send out a mass e-mail via the mailtool on Laulima. I may do that 2-3 times in order to get most of the students to do the evals. In other words, if you want a good percentage of your students to complete the evals, you have to remind them frequently.
In addition to repeatedly reminding students - in class and via email - to complete their eCAFE evaluations, I also offer them extra credit in the form of three percentage points on the final exam (i.e., enough to turn a B into a B-plus). While I understand why faculty would hesitate to adopt such a policy, it certainly drives up response rates. I just have the students print out their eCAFE confirmation sheets as proof of completion.
I gave 10 pts extra credit to complete the survey by the end of semester. This seems to work since computers are limited in class. They had to complete the surveys at home.
Here is what I did.
  1. Announced it in my first class.
  2. When I submitted my items I reminded the class that this was going to come via email. Gave the reasons why you should do it - anonymously give feedback, etc.
  3. When email notification that the site was open came I immediately sent it to the class with the instructions.
  4. Sent a reminder to all via email the day before and the day it was due.
The truth is that i am a very strict teacher. students look at the process as a way to "get even" since they know my employment depends upon it.
I just encourage the students to give a fair-honest survey for each of their class' so the admin can address needs for improvements, etc. I then arrange a time that fits into our class time, to allow the students to go to the on campus computer lab to participate in the survey. In the past some of the students opt out to participate at that time, or they already completed it on their own time on line. I also e-mail all students the forwarded e-mail of the e-cafe instructions that I received from e-cafe. Hope these strategies will be of help.
I gave 1 point on the final exam if I had 90% completed eCAFEs by a certain date. I also made announcements on Laulima to encourage participation.
1) Have computers in class. 2) Allow students time to do the e-cafe during class time. 3) Appoint reliable classroom monitor to assist students in taking the questionnaire. 4) Leave class for 10 minutes to allow students to do it without instructor present.
I had my students take the survey in class. I first forwarded to all students an email of the eCAFE link with my course title in the subject line. Then I picked a day in class where I allotted 10 minutes before the end of class to have everyone turn on their computer and take the survey in class. Most students took the survey and then went home, but some left to go home without taking the survey. I then emailed everyone the link again and reminded them to complete it. The next week, I asked anyone who missed the survey to to take it during our break. I think allowing an extra 10 minutes during break period is better than waiting before the end of class, as some students may opt to leave early.
I used an incentive. If 80% of the class filled out the survey, I gave them all extra participation points.