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Best Practices

The following practices have been implemented by Biola faculty who have consistently received between 90-100% response rates. As a reminder, all course surveys are voluntary, not required.

Providing Class Time

If possible, conducting evaluations in class is recommended for higher response rates. Some faculty have found it best to conduct the evaluation toward the beginning of the class period, before a lecture, an exam, or on a day where they will participate in a graded activity.

Smart Device

Let students know in advance that they will need to have a device with access to the internet (smart phone, laptop, tablet). For students who may not have a smart device, you can do one of the following:

  • Tell them they should plan on borrowing a smart device to bring into class that day.
  • Tell students that if they do not have a smart device or laptop, they can email you privately, and you can assist them with borrowing a device for that class session.
  • Tell the class that whomever did not bring a smart device to class can use a computer in the library to complete their evaluation.
  • Reserve one of the computer labs on campus for a 20-minute slot to complete their evaluations.

Guiding Students

Before students take the surveys, guide them on the kind of open ended feedback that would be useful to you. For example, you can ask them to comment on the course readings and materials, assignments, lectures or other ideas they may have for the course. It could also be helpful to review the IDEA objectives and/or course topics from the syllabus to refresh their memories of all that’s been covered in the class.


If you cannot conduct the survey in person, you can post an announcement or short video on Canvas to encourage students to complete the survey and guide students on the kind of feedback that would be helpful to you (see section above). You can also:

  • Make the survey a zero-point assignment on Canvas.
  • Make the survey a section on Canvas that students need to review before moving on to the next section.

Create Value

It’s important to create value for student feedback–why should students care? Communicate to students why the surveys are important, how the results are used and how they impact you as an instructor.

Examples of Application

Share stories of how you have used the IDEA SRI results to make changes or adjustments to your courses.

Syllabus Integration

Try integrating IDEA Objectives into your course syllabus. On the first day of class while you are reviewing the syllabus with students, take time to share how student feedback through the surveys impact you as an instructor. It’s also helpful to place the IDEA Student Ratings of Instruction in your course calendar.

Assuring Confidentiality

Assure students that their responses are confidential and you will not receive results until the day after course grades are due. Students are more likely to complete a survey if they are assured of the confidentiality of their responses.

Mid-Semester Feedback

Mid-semester course evaluations can help get students into the practice of giving feedback. Going over the results in class can show students that you are listening to and care about their input. Below are a couple samples you are free to adapt:

Incentives (optional)

When using incentives, be sure to remind students that the surveys are completely anonymous. Please note that this is voluntary extra credit, not to be required as a class assignment. Below are a few example of incentivizing:

Adjust an Assignment or Score

Tell students that if the class reaches __% response rate by __ date, you will:

  • Move a major assignment due date to a later time
  • Drop a quiz score
  • Drop a discussion post score

Extra Credit

Faculty can tell the class that if the response rate reaches __%, everyone will receive __

extra credit points on a certain assignment, test, or overall grade.

Faculty can give __ extra points for individual students who complete their evaluation. Students will need to self-report that they completed their evaluation; they can also show you “proof” by printing or taking a snapshot of their submission confirmation page (Note: students receive the same submission page after every survey they complete).