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Dominican U Couples Course Evaluations with LMS

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Dominican University of California has increased response rates for its course evaluations by implementing Scantron's Class Climate course evaluation software as a Blackboard Building Block.

Class Climate is a Web-based application used to conduct course evaluation surveys at colleges and universities, as well as in professional education areas, such as corporate training. The software offers a survey management platform including a questionnaire designer for online and paper-based surveys and reporting capabilities.

The university, which has 2,100 students and is located north of San Francisco, must regularly conduct course evaluations in order to assess teaching effectiveness as part of its accreditation requirements. For decades, Dominican conducted its evaluations using paper surveys. Most responses were compiled using standard survey forms. Comments and suggestions were submitted on the back of the survey form then hand-typed by university staff and submitted with the final evaluation reports.

According to university administration, this process was laborious and created numerous challenges, including a two- to four-month timeframe to complete the evaluations. By implementing Class Climate, the university was able to overcome these challenges.

"The process is now a thousand times more efficient," said Jackson Ratcliffe, CTO for Dominican. "What took months to do now takes hours. The results are also much better organized, especially in the reporting of student comments." Dominican also found Scantron's course evaluation solution to be cost effective because it greatly reduced the amount of manual labor required.

Also, Ratcliffe said he believes the service's integration with Blackboard has improved response rates. "Class Climate's integration with the Blackboard Learn platform serves as another touch point for reaching students," said Ratcliffe. "In addition to receiving an e-mail, students can go into a Web page and link directly to the evaluation. This convenience resulted in an increase in student response rates."

Class Climate customers include Mississippi State University and Pacific University in Forest Grove, OR.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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