UAF looks to move toward electronic student response forms

Sam Allen
Sun Star Editor-in-Chief

UAF is exploring alternatives to the Instructional Assessment System student response forms to save money and reduce feedback time.

A pilot program to move the student response forms, handed out by teachers at the end of every semester, to an electronic format will reach about 10% of the student population this spring according to Channon Price, associate professor of physics, who chairs the Electronic Course Evaluation Committee.

“We’re moving to something you can do on your rules, like on your phone or tablet while you’re waiting at the bus stop,” Price said.

IAS Form

The IAS forms that UAF currently uses. Picture courtesy of University of Washington.

Price and Andrea Ferrante, a biology assistant professor on the committee, solicited responses from ASUAF members last Sunday, delivering a short presentation on 10 new student response questions.
The idea of updating the student feedback process originated about three years ago out of the provost’s office. Budgetary pressures have helped expedite the process, according to Ferrante.
The electronic form would give students more freedom in terms of response rate, which is a concern. According to the presentation, national response rates dropped from 70-60 percent to 20 percent, after similar universities made the switch to online platforms. A student senator said that at other universities, they’ll withhold grades to students until they complete the electronic format. Price responded by saying that is not being discussed and legally all they can do it delay grades temporarily.
“We’re trying to foster a culture where students want to participate,” Ferrante said. The questions on the electronic version have to be different than the IAS forms because the questions are copyrighted, according to Price.
After the presentation, student senator Eli Barry-Garland said when he was an engineering assistant a couple year ago his job was to assemble IAS packets from a closet full of IAS forms. In past years, ASUAF has posted IAS forms on their website, but there is always at least a year delay because the forms are processed at the University of Washington. The Electronic Course Evaluation Committee has 12 members including a representative from OIT, the provost’s office and E-Learning, according to Ferrante.
Questions discussed were, “Would you recommend this course to a friend?” and “Did the final course outcomes meet the expected outcomes (e.g. as described in the syllabus and by the instructor)?” to name two. The latter took two full committee meetings at three hours each to determine the wording and structure, according to Price.

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