Since Spring of 2019, MSU is using the Campus Labs electronic rating-of-courses system and the IDEA course evaluation instrument.  IDEA is a non-profit organization and provides many resources to help faculty improve teaching and learning. 





  • IDEA instruments are evidence-based on more than 40 years of research and improvement.
  • The IDEA system partners with CampusLabs to make a interactive, electronic interface that is easy for students and faculty to use.
  • Using the new IDEA system you will be able to monitor completion rates during the evaluation period to remind and encourage students to participate in course evaluation.
  • The IDEA system has the capability to offer adjusted scores based on extraneous circumstances, class size and student motivation.
  • Faculty will receive customized reports with feedback including links to resources for improvement available from IDEA.
  • The #1 strategy shown to increase response or completion rates is to allow in-class time to complete the evaluations for an in-person course. This provides students more time to think through their responses and reinforces the importance of evaluations in the teaching and learning mission of the university. 
  • Let students know early in the semester that class evaluations will be electronic and they will be given time in class to complete them. Consider using language in your syllabus that addresses student evaluations to alert them they should be paying attention to their learning throughout the course.  
  • Encourage students to respond and let them know the importance of completing the evaluations. Share how you have used the results in the past and give specific examples.
  • Give students assurance that their responses are unidentifiable and that aggregate reports are available only after final grades have been determined. 
  • Make sure students have the URL to access the evaluation. 
  • Let students know you are interested in positive and negative feedback on the course. Describe the kind of feedback you find most useful such as providing specific examples.
  • Remind students to complete the evaluations. In one study, faculty increased response rates to 61% by simply reminding students to complete the evaluation (Goodman, J., Anson, R. and Belcheir, M., (2015). The effect of incentives and other instructor-driven strategies can increase electronic student evaluation response rates. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 40 (7), 958-970.
  • Provide incentives – point or non-point based. Making an evaluation an assignment, even with no point value attached raised response rates 7% in one study. IDEA evaluations allow faculty to monitor class-wide response rates; individual responses remain anonymous. Instructors at some institutions set a target response rate and then reward the class if the target is reached.   
    • In one study, Goodman, Anson, and Belcheir surveyed 678 faculty across a range of disciplines asking them to report how they were trying to boost online response rates. Among those surveyed, 13% reported that they did nothing to improve the rates and that, on average, 50% of their students completed the forms. Those who did something to encourage students to complete the evaluations generated response rates of 63%.
  • Inform students that others, including department and school administrators, will potentially read their evaluations and use their feedback when evaluating instructors for merit and promotion and in curriculum planning.

More Resources:

Accessing your reports:

Ask a Trusted Colleague to Help
Course evaluations can provide insight into your students’ experiences in your class separate from their learning, and guide your teaching for future classes. If reading your course evaluations is a stressful activity for you, consider asking a trusted colleague to read your evaluations and put them in perspective for you using the Peer Feedback Template . You may want to provide the same service for your colleague.

How to make the best of bad course evaluations
This short article provides good advice on how to interpret common criticisms from students and put them into a bigger context.

Course evaluations as a tool for growth
This short article offers ideas for using reflection to identify common themes and areas to improve in without having to reread and revisit prior course evaluations.

My worst student ratings ever
One faculty’s experience with lower ratings after making a change that did not initially go well and what they learned from this experience.

If you have trouble accessing the articles or would like to review and discuss your course evaluations with a CFE instructional designer, please email [email protected] to set up an appointment.