What’s New?

The fall semester is underway, and we hope it is off to a good start for you! Stay in the loop with the latest news on course feedback: 

 

Mid-Course Feedback: using EvaluationKIT’s content analysis feature

The Sentiment Score found on the mid-course feedback report is a brand new feature within EvaluationKIT that Syracuse University is prototyping. Natural language processing and machine learning technologies is used to transform open-ended responses – the “Voice of the Student” – into useful data and insights for more informed decision making. Users can now supplement reporting and analyses of predefined survey responses with deeper views into and understanding of student sentiment.

Mid-course feedback questions are evaluated for narrative themes included in EvaluationKIT’s library of themes and subsequently assigned a sentiment score to help identify and analyze the positive and negative comment trends. Those theme-based sentiment scores are then included automatically in the reports.

The summary table before the open-ended comments includes:

  1. Count and percent metrics for each theme.
  2. Sentiment scoring of text response themes grouped into Negative, Neutral, and Positive categories to see count and percent metrics of themes.
  3. Sentiment Score for each theme, which is a single metric from -1 to +1 that weights how positive or negative the text responses in that theme are.

Below is an example screenshot from EvaluationKIT:

The current set of EvaluationKIT themes are:

  • Assessments & Exams
  • Assignments
  • Course Content
  • Course Expectations Clear
  • Course Overall
  • Explained Clearly
  • Grading
  • Group Project
  • Instructor Availability
  • Instructor, Help or Feedback
  • Instructor Overall
  • Labs
  • Lectures
  • LMS
  • Objectives and Outcomes
  • Prerequisites
  • Slides, PowerPoints, & Visuals
  • Structure & Organization
  • TA or Assistant
  • Teaching Style
  • Textbook
  • Time Management
  • Tutorial
  • Video Lecture
  • Workload

 

IEA welcomes feedback on this new feature and any questions or comments you may have. Please contact IEA at coursefeedback@syr.edu.

 


Looking for Syracuse University course feedback and EvaluationKIT information? 

Over the summer, we built out the course feedback section of the IEA website to make it easier to locate the information you need whether you are a student, faculty, or EK administrator. This includes separate pages where you can:  

  • Learn about Syracuse University’s course feedback framework and download course feedback updates and presentations 
  • View this semester’s important dates for course feedback 
  • Review the University’s course feedback policies and practices 
  • Delve into how course feedback forms are created in EvaluationKIT, the University’s online platform 
  • Access the EvaluationKIT platform as well as training information and resources  

If you have any course feedback questions or ideas about how we can make our website more comprehensive and easier to navigate, please contact the IEA course feedback team 


EvaluationKIT launched! Next steps for departments… 

While consistency in course feedback forms over time is important, periodic reflection on the instruments is also an important undertaking. The EvaluationKIT transition presents a good opportunity for this discussion, and some areas have already revised and refined their forms. For those that have not, faculty are encouraged in the upcoming year to review existing forms and: 

  • Identify overlap with the Academic Affairs common questions 
  • Consider how course feedback data have been used to enhance teaching practices and department or program operations, as well as in the promotion and tenure process 
  • Critically reflect on what faculty want to know about students’ course experiences and how questions are worded to minimize biased responses 
  • Engage students in the reflective process 

The IEA course feedback team is available to meet either virtually or in person to support this effort, as well as hear faculty input, share information, and answer questions. Please contact us if we can be of assistance.  


It’s not too early to start talking about course feedback with your students. 

Even though the fall semester is just starting, we suggest faculty begin talking at the outset of the course about the importance of students providing constructive feedback and gathering it throughout. The following tips have shown to improve response rates and the quality of course feedback from students: 

  • Take time towards the beginning of the course to discuss the value of student feedback. Consider collecting input from students throughout the course and not solely at the end (e.g., after the first few days/weeks depending on course duration, following a major project or activity, and/or midway through). Collecting information at multiple points throughout the course enhances your teaching and your students’ learning, as well as maintains communication between you and your students. These efforts show students that you value their perspective and can lead to more constructive responses once the course feedback window is open. 
  • Share with current students how you incorporated prior quantitative and qualitative feedback into your course. This could include examples of helpful feedback that was used, as well as unhelpful feedback that couldn’t be used. 
  • Provide examples of open-ended responses from former students that were constructive, focusing on aspects students felt were successful in the course, as well as areas where they felt improvement could be made. 
  • While the course feedback window is open, during each class session, remind students to complete their forms and that their responses are confidential. Be sure to thank those who have already submitted feedback. With EvaluationKIT, response rates can be tracked in real time and can be used to prompt students to respond. 
  • Reserve 15 minutes during class time for students to complete the course feedback form. Syracuse University instructors who make an effort to utilize class time tend to receive response rates of 75% or higher. If the class is meeting in a campus location, discuss this in advance and encourage students to use their mobile phones or laptops on a selected date. The instructor should exit the room for the duration of the allotted time.