Working with Students

Using Your Student Evaluation Data

Happy Day Shiny, Happy Instructors!

Your students complete their mid-semester evaluation of you, their teacher, each semester during week 6. You can view those results here.

Have you changed anything in your course based on the data or student comments? In this week's training tip we'll use the National School Reform Faculty's "Data-Driven Dialogue" protocol and the BYU-Idaho Learning Model to make this data relevant and meaningful to your online teaching.

Some of you may have noticed that the reports are new. Here is one part of the new reports:

Student evaluations can be a very good source for helping you identify areas of potential improvement in your teaching and course. Were there data or student comments that surprised you? If so, these are fantastic areas to search for improvements.  Sometimes we get so wrapped up in what we think is effective that we lose sight of what matters to the students. If you find areas for improvement and would like extra mentoring, here are two options:

  1. Teaching Group Leader and colleagues - Your TGL and teaching group colleagues can be a wealth of knowledge and may be positioned very well to provide you with the mentoring you need. Don't be afraid to ask your fellow instructors for advice in the Community--many of them have ideas and best practices that will help you. 

  2. Request a Coach - Our instructor coaches would love to work with you! You can read more about coaching services and request a coach here.

Have you ever had a good experience with implementing change based on student evaluations? What have been some fun or funny students comments that you have received? Are there any questions or information that you think would make the student evaluations more useful? Feel free to share below! 

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  • I have had a few students email that they missed the deadline for mid course evaluations and wanted to know if they can do it late. Is that an option?

    • Great question! Let me ask, and I'll get back to you.

  • I had a student that commented at the halfway point he/she was expecting milk and cookies. So I made a video of all sorts of cookies and milk, with the last cookie being eaten by the Cookie Monster and sent it to everyone since I did not know who made that improvement request originally.
  • This was an incredibly helpful video for me.  I just finished reviewing my course evaluations and was thinking "now what?"  I am going to take the observations stems you provided and look at them without the cause and effect first.  Course evaluations have been so helpful as an instructor and an OCR.  The evals alway give me things to take to the other instructors and course council!

  • A few students said I should respond to more posts on the discussion boards.  I was surprised because each week I hit the expected 1/3 of the class.  After digging into it I realized that I was more apt to respond to students who posted early and less likely to respond to students who post right before the deadline.  In response, I'm keeping track of who I respond to and ensuring that I respond to every student at least once every three weeks.

    • Nice Pickup Ryan! One thing that I have noticed is that sometimes it is not hitting the "right number" of announcements, feedback posts, discussion posts, graded assignments etc--but rather that we balance out our responses to everyone, have quality responses, and be aware of when we are completing tasks. Grading all assignments on the 7th day past the due date puts that almost 2 weeks out since our early students finished their work. Posting an "information for the week"announcement on Wed. or Thurs. for the week means that many students won't be helped. Posting only early or only late on DB means many students will miss out on your expertise. 

      • I love what you said about not worrying so much about "hitting the right number."  What great reminders for all of us!

  • Thank you, Lynn. 

         For my "improvements or suggestions" section, one of my students wrote, "Make sure she is giving adequate time to her family." I thought that was sweet. My feedback includes so much about families and family time, that a student wanted to make sure I was doing the same. 

     After reading their comments, it dawned on me that I give so much feedback on each individual's assignment that it takes away from the time that I want to spend with them in groups on the discussion board. (Darn those interesting papers! :)  Moving forward, I've decided not to make my feedback so long, which will help me complete grading faster and allow me to have more in-depth discussions each week. 

    • Cristi, I am so glad you saw this from your student! They really do care!!! :)  Sometimes when I am focusing on tech. issues or the "problem" students, I forget to enjoy the awesome spirit that so many of our students bring to our classes as they are sacrificing and striving to improve themselves and their family situations.

      It is always a struggle to know how much feedback to give versus time in the discussion boards (and still be fair to ourselves in the hours that we work). Some people balance that issue by focusing more on feedback for bigger projects/assignments and focusing more on discussion boards during "lighter work" weeks. Continue experimenting until you find your sweet spot! There is some pretty good material in the OL 200 Class under "Teaching Practices" that can help give you ideas for making discussion boards even better. 

      • Yes, there is a plethora of good material on here for help on the discussion boards. Thank you.  I am praying to find that "sweet spot" this semester. 

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