Columbia University

Faculty of Arts and Sciences

Course Evaluations

Course evaluations are one of the most important tools for instructors to monitor student feedback for teaching effectiveness. The Office of the Executive Vice President for Arts and Sciences administers end-of-term online course evaluations for all undergraduate courses in the Arts and Sciences, as well as some graduate-level courses. The online evaluations are conducted through the course management system EvaluationKIT, which can be accessed via Canvas.

Below is detailed information about the course evaluations:
 

To select an evaluation form for a course:

Evaluation templates are assigned by the Director of Administration and Finance (DAAF). Instructors can choose the A&S Standard Template, the A&S Laboratory Template, or the A&S Language Template (add links to the templates). To indicate you choice, please inform your DAAF.

NOTE:  Evaluation templates are automatically selected for Contemporary Civilization, Literature Humanities, Art Humanities, Music Humanities, Frontiers of Science and University Writing courses and cannot be changed

To add course specific questions to the evaluation form:

Instructions for adding course specific questions can be found here.

To confirm instructor and TA information:

Any person with the role “Instructor” will appear on the evaluation form and be evaluated as an instructor. Instructors have an “NRA” designation will not be evaluated. To add or remove a Registered Instructor con the Registrar’s Office at registrar@columbia.edu.

Any person assigned the role of “TA” and “Enhanced TA” will appear on the evaluation form and be evaluated as a TA.

To Add a TA Role

  1. Login to Canvas with your UNI
  2. Select your course
  3. Click on “+People” in the upper right corner
  4. Enter in the person’s UNI (you can also add people using their email address, but remember to select the radial button “Email Address)
  5. Select “TA” or “Enhanced TA” from the drop down box under “Role
  6. Click on “Next
  7. Click on “Add Users

To Change a TA Role

  1. Click on the 3 dots to the left of the person and select “Edit Role
  2. Click “Update

To add an Administrator:

  1. Login to Canvas with your UNI
  2. Select your course
  3. Click on “+People” in the upper right corner
  4. Enter in the person’s UNI (you can also add people using their email address, but remember to select the radial button “Email Address)
  5. Select “NRA Instructor” from the drop down box under “Role
  6. Click on “Next
  7. Click on “Add Users

To access evaluation results for past course evaluations:

Currently, past course evaluations are only accessible via Courseworks using the following steps:

  1. Go to the Courseworks site here: https://courseworks.columbia.edu/welcome/
  2. Use the Login buttons on the right side of the page (the right side will take you to Courseworks, the left side will take you to Canvas)
  3. Your landing page should be “My Evaluations”, if it is not then you can get there by selecting it in the menu on the left side of the page
  4. Select the “Term” you with to view using the drop-down box located in the upper right corner
  5. Courses assigned evaluations will display a link to a PDF of the report titled “View Report

 

NOTE:  If you see “Responses Viewable”, please contact the A&S Course Evaluation Administrator at a.s.evaluations@columbia.edu

 

Timeline and Workflow 

The timeline and workflow for Fall 2018 will be as follows:

  • Monday October 15 – Friday November 2: Departments review their course rosters and assign the evaluation templates they would like to use for the courses that should be evaluated.
  • Monday November 12 – Sunday December 2: Instructors can add up to 8 course specific questions for each of their courses.

NOTE:   Course specific questions cannot be added to Contemporary Civilization, Literature Humanities, Art Humanities, Music Humanities, and Frontiers of Science courses.

Instructors should also take this time to review their class rosters to ensure that Instructor and TA roles are properly assigned.

  • Monday December 3 : Course evaluations are available for students to complete. Instructors can monitor response rates via Canvas during this time.
  • Evaluation results will be available to for a course once faculty have submitted 100% of their grades for that course, or once the grade submission deadline has passed.
  • Thursday January 31: Instructors should review comments for the select set of questions that are posted to Vergil and submit a redaction request to Jessie Tong, Assistant Director for Academic Affairs at jt2622@columbia.edu  if they feel that evidence of unfair bias is evident.

 

Evaluation results to select questions will be posted to Vergil approximately a month prior to registration.

 

Overview

COURSE EVALUATION OVERVIEW

For Students

At the end of each semester, students are asked to evaluate their courses within the Arts and Sciences in an online evaluation.

NOTE:   Only registered students may complete course evaluations.

On the first day of the evaluation period, students receive an email notifying them that the course evaluations are available. This email contains a link to the evaluation in Canvas. Students have until the grade submission deadline to submit their evaluations. If they would like early access to their final grades they can submit their evaluations sooner and their grades will be available the next day, providing of course if the instructor has submitted their grades.

NOTE:   Grades are transmitted to SIS at 9:30PM nightly, so if a student submits an evaluation after that time their grades will be available not the next day, but the day after.

Students will continue to receive email reminders throughout the evaluation period until they have completed all their evaluations.

Evaluations submitted in Canvas are ANONYMOUS. Neither instructors nor Arts and Sciences administrators can trace any response back to a student’s University ID. Although instructors can email reminders to non-respondents, they cannot view the list of non-respondents. In addition, while access to the gradebook is restricted until an evaluation is completed, instructors cannot view the list of students whose access to the gradebook is either restricted or not restricted.

For Administrators

Department administrators play an integral role in the administration of online course evaluations.

It is their responsibility to be the primary support to both instructor and their department throughout the duration of steps carried out during the semester to prepare for the administration of course evaluations.

Halfway through the each semester, department administrators are prompted to review their department’s course. They must inform the Arts and Sciences Course Evaluation Administrator of any additions, deletions, and changes to the list. The department administrators should also work with instructors to ensure that the correct faculty are listed as registered instructors in each course roster, that TAs and Enhanced TAs are assigned the correct roles, and that the correct evaluation template is assigned to each course.

For administrative purposes, department administrators have access to all evaluation results for courses evaluated online in Evaluation Kit.

All department administrators who are responsible for course evaluations need administrative access in Evaluation Kit. Directors of Academic Administration and Finance are automatically granted access. A proxy, designated by the chair, DAAF, can also receive administrative access by contacting the A&S Course Evaluation Administrator at a.s.evaluations@columbia.edu.

RESPONIBILITIES AND TASKS

Student Responsibilities

Students are responsible for the following:

  • Completing the course evaluation via Canvas for each course they take in the Arts and Sciences
  • Providing honest, constructive, and courteous feedback

Instructor Responsibilities

Instructors are responsible for the following:

  • Ensuring that only registered instructors in the course are listed in the class roster as instructors
  • Adding all TAs and Enhanced TAs to the course roster
  • Ensuring that other assistants are not registered as TAs or Enhanced TAs
  • Ensuring that non-registered auditors in the course are registered as either “Observer

 

NOTE:   Only registered students will be able to complete the evaluation form. Non-registered students will not have access to the evaluations and are not included in the calculation of response rate.

  • Adding up to 8 course specific questions (optional)
  • Encouraging students to complete the evaluation, either through communication in class or via email.

Department Administrators (Chairs, DAAFs, and Staff) Responsibilities

Department administrators are responsible for the following:

  • Ensuring that registered instructors and TAs or Enhanced TAs are correctly listed in the department’s courses
  • Downloading term course list and assigning the appropriate evaluation template to each course

EVALUTION TEMPLATES

A&S Standard Evaluation (PDF)

A&S Laboratory Evaluation (PDF)

A&S Language Evaluation (PDF)

RESPONSE RATES

The encouragement instructors provide in their personal interactions with students has by far the most significant effect on response rates. Making an announcement in class about the importance of evaluations can have significant positive effects on response rates as well as on the quality for feedback. Alternatively, emailing students during the evaluation period can also be extremely effective. Since instructors can view response rates during the evaluation period, email reminders can be timed strategically. For example, after the first wave of responses, the response rate may only increase by small increments; a personal email reminder from the instructor at this time can have a powerful effect on students’ willingness to provide feedback. Encouraging students to thoughtfully complete the open-ended questions will likely improve both the quantity and quality of such comments.

During the evaluation period the grade book in Canvas will be limited to only those students who have completed the course evaluation. Instructors cannot view a list of students who have or do not have access to the grade book. Once the evaluation period closed, all students will have access to the gradebook again.

EVALUATION RESULTS

For online evaluations, instructors can access the results for their courses once they have submitted 100% of their grades.

NOTE:   In order to preserve the anonymity of students if the enrollment in a course is 5 or less the evaluation results will not be available online unless the response rate is 100%. If the response rate is 3 persons or less (regardless of enrollment) the evaluation results will also not be available online. For evaluations that are not available online, instructors can contact the A&S Course Evaluation Administrator at a.s.evaluations@columbia.edu to request that these evaluations be made available. These evaluations will then be sent to the requester’s department chair, who may share it with the instructor at their discretion.

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

For Instructors

  • Which courses are included in the online evaluation?

All courses are included in the online evaluations unless indicated by the department.

  • How can I create custom questions for my course evaluations

Instructions for adding custom questions can be found here

  • Can TAs create custom questions?

Only instructors can create and add custom questions to the evaluation form.

  • When can I see my course evaluations?

Evaluation results are available to instructors once the evaluation period has ended and 100% of their grades have been submitted, or the day after the grade submission deadline.

  • Who can see the results?

Instructors can see the results of their own evaluations, TAs and Enhanced TAs can see the results of their own evaluations, and answers to select questions will be posted to Vergil.

 

For Administrators

  • How can I receive administrative access?

DAAF are automatically granted access to view evaluation reports and add department level questions to their courses. A proxy, designated by the Chair or DAAF, can also receive access by contacting the A&S Course Evaluation Administrator at a.s.evaluations@columbia.edu.

  • Which courses are included in the online evaluation?

All courses are included in the online evaluation. Requests to exclude courses from final evaluations are made when the DAAF submits the course list to the A&S Course Evaluation Administrator.

 

For Students

  • Are my responses indeed confidential?

Yes, individual responses CANNOT be linked back to the student who submitted the response.

  • Can the instructor see if I filled out the course evaluation?

No, instructors cannot identify students who have or have not completed the evaluation.

  • Do instructors have access to evaluations before grades are submitted?

No, evaluation results are not available until the instructor has submitted 100% of their grades, or after the grade submission deadline.

  • Who will see the evaluations?

Access to evaluation results are available to instructors, Directors of Academic Administration and Finance (DAAF), a proxy designated by the department chair or DAAF (if applicable), and the Office of the Executive Vice President for Arts and Sciences, in particular the Academic Affairs Division, and the Provost of the University.

  • What are the evaluations used for?

Instructors use the evaluations to revise course materials, improve pedagogy, evaluate the effectiveness of new techniques, and review Teaching Assistants (TAs). TAs often include the course evaluations when applying to academic positions.  Administrators use the evaluations to assess the effectiveness of instructors and to compile teaching dossiers for academic reviews.

  • Can students view the evaluation results?

Answers to select questions will posted on Vergil during the shopping period unless an instructor has chosen to opt-out of publicizing their evaluation or the class is not currently being offered.

  • Must I complete the entire evaluation?

No, students only need to answer select required questions to submit the evaluation and can elect to answer additional questions as they wish.

  • What can I do if I filled out the evaluation incorrectly?

Evaluation responses cannot be reset, however, responses can be removed if the form has been filled out incorrectly. To request removal of your responses contact the A&S Course Evaluation Administrator at a.s.evaluations@columbia.edu

  • Can I submit an evaluation after the evaluation period has ended?

Unfortunately evaluations cannot be submitted once the evaluation period is closed.

  • Must I fill out the evaluation?

It is a student’s professional responsibility to provide feedback to their instructors and to do so with honesty and courtesy. Evaluations are important for a number of reasons. Course evaluations give instructors a unique perspective on how students experience the course. Instructors use the evaluations to revise course materials, improve pedagogy, evaluate the effectiveness of new techniques, and review Teaching Assistants (TAs) and Teaching Fellows (TFs). TAs and TFs often include the course evaluations when applying to academic positions. Administrators use the evaluations to assess the effectiveness of instructors and to compile teaching dossiers for academic reviews. Overall, course evaluations are a key component of academia.

  • Who should I contact if I have a question about the evaluations?