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Oregon Colleges Implement Online Teacher Evaluations

Oregon State University, University of Oregon, Southern Oregon University, Mt. Hood Community College, and Rogue Community College are all moving to What-Do-You-Think? Web-based evaluations.

What-Do-You-Think?, from Portland, OR-based CollegeNet, is different from Web sites such as ratemyprofessors.com in that the evaluations are not made public. They are accessible only by students, faculty and administrators. Rate My Professors allows the public to search anonymous evaluations by professor for free.

Features of What-Do-You-Think? include:

  • Evaluation results, accessible in real time by students, faculty, and administrators only;
  • Allowing students to post evaluation comments anonymously;
  • Letting students start an evaluation and complete it later;
  • Receiving e-mail notifications when evaluation periods open and close, and when results are available;
  • Exporting reports in PDF or Microsoft Excel formats;
  • Letting teachers print evaluation results and reports;
  • Allowing administrators to view and print evaluation results for specific schools, departments, instructors, courses, etc.;
  • Tracking of participation in real time; and
  • Letting teachers and administrators customize evaluations per course.

"The number of evaluations we've seen students complete rose dramatically after implementation," said Laura Jacek, assistant registrar for course evaluations at the University of Oregon. "More than 75,000 evaluations were submitted in fall term 2010 as compared to only 32,000 printed in the term before we went online with CollegeNet. The increase in response means that we have more data to work with, and the data we have is more representative and more reliable."

The university, which piloted the evaluations site in 2007 and has since completed 26 evaluation sessions, previously used Scantron forms and supplemented with an additional page for comments. She explained that the university has realized a substantial cost savings by using What-Do-You-Think?

"Much of the savings is related to retained staff time that can now be spent on things more valuable than stuffing and delivering envelopes. Another savings is in class time no longer spent doing evaluations. Another hour of class time means a student who is just that much better prepared for the next step in their education, and that's priceless," said Jacek.

Further information can be found on the What-Do-You-Think? site.

About the Author

Tim Sohn is a 10-year veteran of the news business, having served in capacities from reporter to editor-in-chief of a variety of publications including Web sites, daily and weekly newspapers, consumer and trade magazines, and wire services. He can be reached at timothyjsohn@gmail.com and followed on Twitter @editortim.

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