In 2008, the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost and the Chair of the Berkeley Division of the Academic Senate charged a campuswide task force on Teaching Evaluation to make recommendations concerning evaluation practices. The task force examined the current practice of teaching evaluation across the campus, the role evaluations have upon faculty professional development and the impact of the evaluation experience upon students. Its 2009 report can be found here. The task force made eight key recommendations. Six of the eight recommendations focused on aspects of improving the quality and integrity of end-of-term student course evaluations, including moving evaluations to an online format. The additional two recommendations focused on broadening the types of evidence used to evaluate teaching and promoting the use of mid-semester evaluations and other forms of early feedback.

Implementation of an online evaluation of courses system

In response to the Task Force report, the Provost charged an Online Evaluation of Courses Steering Committee, chaired by Vice Chancellor Cathy Koshland with representation from the Academic Senate, administration, staff and students, to oversee the implementation of an online course evaluation system that would achieve the following goals:

  • Enable rapid access to useful information to help faculty improve their courses and their teaching effectiveness
  • Encourage and support meaningful student feedback to improve teaching and learning
  • Improve the quality and integrity of data that the campus uses to understand and recognize teaching contributions
  • Utilize 21st-century tools for staff to perform their jobs efficiently and free up time for direct service to students and faculty

Course evaluation project team accomplishments

The Steering Committee provides direction to a project team that has achieved the following accomplishments to date:

  • Reviewed and benchmarked evaluation practices against peer institutions including MIT, Stanford, Princeton, Harvard, University of Michigan
  • Reviewed questionnaires in use on campus and conducted focus groups with over 50 faculty to develop questions for use in the new system
  • Oversaw several pilots with select departments on campus that included side by side paper and online comparisons with a focus on determining the impact of moving online to response rate, response bias, and quality of response
  • Identified requirements for a new online system based on research and pilot experiences
  • Managed the RFP Process and continue to manage the implementation of the selected system, Blue by Explorance

How can my department participate?

During 2014, the campus will continue to offer Online Evaluations through the Course Evaluations Service to additional academic units on an opt-in basis. Departments interested in participating should contact course-evaluations@berkeley.edu.

Where can I learn more?

Please check the ETS Course Evaluations project site and Service Site for additional information and updates. For questions and comments please contact course-evaluations@berkeley.edu.