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Best Practices

Best Practices

During an active survey administration, faculty have access to monitor response rates. Instructors can view their response rates by logging into with their Net ID and password. Once the proper term is selected, scroll to the desired course and the response rate will appear.

Below you can find best practices to increase survey response rates. 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.


Provide Class Time

If possible, conducting the survey in class is recommended for higher response rates. Some faculty have found it best to administer the survey at the beginning of the class period, before a lecture, an exam, or on a day where they will participate in a graded activity. Instructors will need to leave the room while students are taking the survey. It should take students approximately 10 minutes to complete the survey. If you would rather not leave the room completely unattended, you could ask an administrative assistant to stay in the room (or swap off with a faculty colleague) during the time you are asking students to complete the IDEA survey.

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.

Student Access Links

There are two links a student can use to access the surveys:

General Link: The general link for students is This link takes students to their dashboard where they can access all of their active IDEA surveys.

Direct Access Link: Instructors can share the “Direct Access Link” which provides direct access to a course section’s IDEA survey. This link is available once the survey is active. Here are instructions for retrieving the Direct Access Link.



If the survey cannot be administered in person, you can post an announcement or short video on Canvas to provide the survey link and encourage students to provide their feedback. 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. Communicate to students why their input matters, how the results are used and how they impact you as an instructor. Sharing examples of how you have used student feedback to make adjustments to your course helps motivate students to complete the survey.


Assure Confidentiality

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


Additional Incentives

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

Tell students that if the class reaches __% response rate, 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).


Additional Tips

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. For more ideas on preparing students for the surveys, view this Garnering Reflection section.

Syllabus Integration

Integrate IDEA Objectives into your course syllabus. It can also be helpful to place the IDEA Student Ratings of Instruction in your course calendar.

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. For sample mid-semester feedback forms, view the Mid-Semester Feedback section.