Faculty Course Questionnaires transition to online format at end of fall semester

December 5, 2017

Sarah Kellar

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     It is that time of the semester when the student can grade the professor.

     Students have the opportunity to evaluate their instructors, lecturers and professors through the Faculty Course Questionnaire, a survey that students complete at the end of each semester to provide feedback on their teachers and classes.

    This semester, FCQs are moving to an online platform. UCCS tested the online platform in seven courses beginning in the fall 2016 and spring 2017 semesters, according to the Office of Institutional Research.

    Prior to this fall, lecturers, professors and instructors administered FCQs on paper in their classes.

    Students and teachers had to follow the instructors of using only Number 2 pencils to fill them out, and a student would volunteer to bring the questionnaires to the head of the department.

     The lecturer, instructor or professor would leave the classroom as students rated the professor and the class, and wrote feedback on the professor.

    This process not only took time out of class, but took time and work to receive the results, according to Rachel Dahir, communications program manager at CU Boulder. CU Boulder processes FCQ’s received from UCCS.

    “Prior to moving online, the FCQ used 600,000-plus pieces of paper annually across the three participating campuses, Colorado Springs, Boulder and Denver,” said Dahir in an email.

    “Not only is the paper process costly from an environmental perspective, but, due to the labor-intensive process of scanning of each and every paper FCQ, the process is slow and tedious and is costly in labor hours.”

    In addition to boosting the process’ timeliness, the online FCQ format will offer the benefits of being mobile friendly; the ability to finish the FCQ at a later time; 24-hour access for students so they do not have to be in class to give an evaluation; and a lengthy open-comment section.

    “An online process will not only improve the speed and resources needed to run the FCQ process, it also will increase the ability to provide analytic support and timely reporting to instructors as the process becomes a stable and repeatable set of tasks,” Dahir said.

    While there are many changes coming with the move to an online format, the questions included on the FCQs are the same, according to Dahir.

    “At this time, the only difference is the medium. The questions are the same online as in the previous paper versions,” Dahir said.

    Student opinions, like that of sophomore mathematics major Niomi Mayes, are mixed on the move to an online format.

    “FCQ’s being moved online made me upset really. There can be so many problems that can come about. The system can encounter problems, and people won’t understand it,” said Mayes.

    “Me, only being a sophomore, I got really used to the paper ones and being able to give honest information to professors to help them teach next semester.”

    Senior English major Danielle Simmons agrees with Mayes’ sentiment; however, she sees the benefit of having more time to complete the forms.

    “I think there will be a lower response rate, but we’ll have more time to do it,” said Simmons.

     It is important for students to complete the FCQs, though, since the forms are useful in helping students and the university according to Dahir.

     The results of the FCQs are meant to be used to improve individual instructors’ courses and teaching, to make tenure and promotion decisions, and to help department chairs and deans to assign courses to professors, said Dahir.

    FCQs became available to students at midnight on Dec. 1 and will close at 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 8.  

    Students will be able to access the questionnaire anytime during that period. Professors are also encouraged to allow time in class to complete the forms, according to Dahir.

    Students can visit colorado.campuslabs.com/courseeval between Dec. 1and Dec. 8 to complete the FCQs.