The Office of the University Registrar will be implementing a new pilot program within the next week to replace in-class course evaluations with an online system. Four departments have been chosen to participate in the program, which could be implemented across the College this spring if successful.

“The questions are going to be exactly the same as on the in-class forms,” Assistant Dean of Institutional Research and University Registrar Nancy Speck said. “Instead of filling in bubbles, the questions will be radio buttons on the Web site. It should be very quick and very easy.”

At the beginning of the test program, students taking courses in the Physics/Astronomy, Clinical/Social Psychology and Biomedical Engineering departments and in the College Writing Program will receive emails listing their classes and asking the students to review their classes online. These students will not have to complete in-class course evaluation forms.

“If the pilot program goes well, the system could be implemented for the entire school at the end of the spring semester,” Speck said. Still, however, the Office of the Registrar is being cautious about the program’s implementation.

“This is something we’ve never done before – that’s why we chose to do a pilot rather than just roll it out,” Speck said. “I think we’re headed in this direction; it’s just that we’re testing this vendor. There are other vendors out there, but this is the one that we chose to pilot the project.”

Information Technology Services, while not the producer of the actual software, has assisted the Office of the Registrar in implementing the system.

Planning for this change began last Spring, when the Dean of the College approved the program. In August, the chairs of the four departments testing the program were approached and asked for their approval to be used in the pilot.

“The cooperation needed to make this happen has not been inconsequential,” Speck said. “We have had the cooperation of the four departments in implementing the system.”

The system is expected to be easier and faster for students, making a tedious review process more streamlined. Still, because the evaluation is not being done in class, there exists the possibility that some students will not participate.

“We’re going to encourage students to complete the evaluations,” Speck said. “We hope that students will do it – they will be reminded a few times while the system is available, and our plan is to have it available through the December 15.”

The Office of the Registrar also plans to offer some incentive for participation in the pilot program.

“Students who participate in the pilot program will be eligible for a drawing with some small incentives to complete the course evaluations online,” Speck said.

After the course evaluations are complete, some of the collected data will be available to students for review.

The Office of the Registrar expects the pilot program to be successful. However, it is encouraging students to send their feedback after participating.

“Once this is launched, we’ll know pretty quickly whether it works, because I think we’ll get student responses quickly,” Speck said. “We’re encouraging students to send us their feedback via e-mail.”Majarian is a member of the class of 2008.

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An open letter to all members of any university community

I strongly oppose the proposed divestment resolution. This resolution is nothing more than another ugly manifestation of antisemitism at the University.