This volume examines the development and growing use of online student ratings and the potential impact online rating systems will have on the future of students' evaluations of teaching. The contributors demonstrate how the preference for online evaluation is growing, even amidst challenges and doubt. Sharing their first-hand experience as researchers and administrators of online systems, they explore major concerns regarding online student ratings and suggest possible solutions. D. Lynn Sorenson and Christian M. Reiner review existing online-rating systems that have been developed independently across the globe. Kevin Hoffman presents the results of a national survey that tracks the increased use of the Internet for student ratings of instruction. At Northwestern University, Nedra Hardy demonstrates how ongoing research about online student evaluations is helping to dispel common misperceptions. Application of online rating systems can present institutions with new challenges and obligations. Trav D.Johnson details a case study based on five years of research in the response rates for one university's online evaluation system and suggests strategies to increase student participation. Reviewing online reporting of results of online student ratings, Donna C. Llewellyn explores the emerging issues of security, logistics, and confidentiality. Other chapters explore existing online systems, highlighting their potential benefits for institution and instructor alike. Beatrice Tucker, Sue Jones, Lean Straker, and Joan Cole analyze Course Evaluation on the Web (CEW), a comprehensive online system for instructional feedback and improvement. Cheryl Davis Bullock reviews the Evaluation Online (EON) system and its successful role in facilitating midcourse student feedback. The fate of online rating may rest in the unique advantages it may - or may not - have over traditional ratings systems. Debbie E. McGhee and Nana Lowell compare online and paper-based methods through mean ratings, inter-rater reliabilities and factor structure of items. Comparing systems from another angle, Timothy W.Bothell and Tom Henderson examine the fiscal costs and benefits of implementing an online evaluation system over paper-based systems. Finally, Christina Ballantyne considers the prominent issues and thought-provoking ideas for the future of online student ratings raised in this volume. Together, the contributors bring insight and understanding to the processes involved in researching and initiating innovations in online-rating systems. This is the 96th issues of the quarterly journal New Directions for Teaching and Learning.
Table of Contents
1. Charting the Uncharted Seas of Online 1 (24)
Student Ratings of Instruction
D. Lynn Sorenson, Christian Reiner
Islands of online-rating systems are
sprinkled across the globe, separated by
uncharted seas, most have arisen
independently without the benefit of
other innovators' "maps." In facilitating
discussion among these "early adopters,"
the authors preview Web-based evaluation
issues to provide a navigation tool for
explorers of online student ratings.
2. Online Course Evaluation and Reporting in 25 (6)
Kevin M. Hoffman
Results of a national survey indicate an
increase in the use of the internet for
student ratings of instruction.
3. Online Ratings: Fact and Fiction 31 (8)
Administrators, faculty, and students
sometimes express reservations about
online student ratings. At Northwestern
University, ongoing research about online
student evaluations has helped dispel
some common (mis)perceptions.
4. Psychometric Properties of Student Ratings 39 (10)
of Instruction in Online and On-Campus Courses
Debbie E. McGhee, Nana Lowell
To compare online and paper-based methods
of student ratings of instruction,
researchers examine mean ratings,
inter-rater reliabilities, and factor
structure of items.
5. Online Student Ratings: Will Students 49 (12)
Tray D. Johnson
Based on five years of research, a case
study focuses on the response rates for
one university's online evaluation
system. The author identifies factors
that influence response rates and
suggests strategies to increase student
6. Online Reporting of Results of Online 61 (8)
Donna C. Llewellyn
When examining the merits of online
reporting of student-rating results,
universities must consider security,
logistics, confidentiality, and other
7. Do Online Ratings of Instruction Make 69 (12)
Timothy W. Bothell, Tom Henderson
In comparing online and paper-based
systems, institutions need to consider
development costs, operating costs, and
miscellaneous costs. In a case study,
researchers found that an online student
evaluation system was less expensive than
a traditional paper-based system.
8. Course Evaluation on the Web: Facilitating 81 (14)
student and Teacher Reflection to Improve
Beatrice Tucker, sue Jones, Leon Straker,
Course Evaluation on the Web (CEW) is a
comprehensive online system for
instructional feedback and improvement.
CEW promotes reflection and cooperation
among faculty, students, and
9. Online Collection of Midterm Student 95 (8)
Cheryl Davis Bullock
An online evaluation system offers an
opportunity for collecting midcourse
student feedback. The Evaluation Online
(EON) system provides both flexibility
and structure for midcourse formative
evaluation. This chapter presents faculty
opinions and suggestions for the online
midterm feedback system.
10. Online Evaluations of Teaching: An 103(10)
Examination of Current Practice and
Considerations for the Future
The author considers prominent issues
raised in this volume and
thought-provoking ideas for the future of
online student ratings.