Administering Course Evaluations

Institutional Research and Assessment at Howard University administers course evaluations at the end of each semester (Fall, Spring, and Summer) through Watermark's Course Evaluation & Surveys. 

Students are alerted when course evaluations are opened. They are given 1-2 weeks to complete their evaluations before the evaluations are closed. Evaluations are anonymized and withheld until after grades are submitted, after which faculty/instructors can access their evaluations. 

Best Practices for Administering Course Evaluations

Below are some best practices for administering evaluations in order to gather substantive feedback from students.

  • Clearly explain the value of course evaluations to your class. You could share a story about how information from your course evaluations in the past changed something in one of your classes.
  • Allow time in class (10 minutes) for students to work on their course evaluation for your course. You should not stay in the room for this if the class is in-person. You should also leave the "room" if in a virtual environment.
  • When course evaluations are open, give weekly reminders to your students. You can include information on how to access their course evaluations either through their email or Blackboard.
  • Remind students that this is their opportunity to be heard and provide constructive feedback for you and the course as a whole.
  • Discuss how you use course evaluation data to improve pedagogy and curriculum.
  • Encourage students to fill out course evaluations for your class as well as others.
  • Emphasize the anonymity of course evaluations. Inform students that all course evaluation submissions are anonymous and instructors only receive aggregate reports for their course(s) after grades have been submitted.

Additional resource: Lafayette College established comprehensive course evaluation administration procedures that instructors at Howard could consider adopting.