Everything Faculty and Chairs/Directors Need to Know for Fall 2016 IDEA Course Evaluations

Here is all the information FDU faculty need to use IDEA course evaluations in your Fall 2016 Courses, including information on:

  1. Learning about IDEA
  2. Filling out your Faculty Information Forms
  3. Introducing IDEA to your students and encouraging their responses
  4. Timing of course evaluations

Please note that, consistent with past practice, in the Fall semester, all classes are evaluated. The only exception are classes with fewer than 5 students enrolled, as well as internships, co-ops, independent studies and the like.

  1. Learning about IDEA

Here’s a short 3-minute video about IDEA and its philosophy on teaching effectiveness. IDEA is used at over 400 universities in the US and has been the subject of dozens of validation studies. FDU uses IDEA for three purposes:

  1. Student feedback on teaching effectiveness. This information can then be used as part of how faculty teaching is evaluated in various faculty review processes. Of course, student feedback should only be one part of a multiple-input process that should emphasize peer observations, chair observations, samples of student work, samples of assignments, syllabi, statements of teaching philosophy and other evidence.
  2. Developmental Feedback for Faculty. This can be used by faculty for self-improvement and to inform further course refinements. Chairs, PRCs and senior faculty can use this information to help mentor faculty in need of improvement. IDEA provides copious developmental feedback and links to customized white papers on how to improve teaching effectiveness in various areas.
  3. Programmatic Data. Aggregated IDEA information can be used at a departmental, curricular or programmatic level in order to improve curricula and respond to accreditation bodies.

Here’s a link to IDEA’s website: http://ideaedu.org/

  1. Filling out FIFs

This is the page where faculty can log in and update their course information:


In IDEA, faculty evaluations are based, in large part, on student self-reports of how much progress they have made on the learning objectives that you have chosen as the most important for your particular course. While students will report progress on all 12 IDEA Leaning Objectives, ONLY their responses on the Learning Objectives you have chosen as important or essential for your course will factor into your ratings.

Here is how to enter the IDEA system and select your learning objectives:

IDEA Quick Ref for Faculty (short version) Helpful step-by-step guide for faculty to log in, choose Learning Objectives and more.

From IDEA, some advice on how to select objectives for your course

This link will take you to an archived webinar in which an expert from IDEA will talk you through IDEA and the selection of learning objectives: Fairleigh Dickinson FIF Presentation WEBINAR

You will be able to select or edit your learning objectives up until the final day your students can fill out their surveys.

Please note that, we encourage academic departments, curriculum committees and teams of faculty work together to select common learning objectives for multi-section courses. Here’s a worksheet that can be used for that purpose: USING IDEA FOR CURRICULUM ASSESSMENT AND DEVELOPMENT. Some departments have already done so, and have pre-populated courses with the course learning objectives.

If you want to add extra questions — either open-ended or 5-point scales — you can do so up until the first day your students start their surveys. Consult the Quick Reference Guide posted above for how to do so. Here is another helpful link: Using Additional Questions

  1. Communicating IDEA to Students

In order to get good response rates, it is vitally important that faculty discuss the IDEA evaluations in their classes and take care to explain why these evaluations are important and how anonymity and confidentiality are maintained. Here are some resources for you to do so:

A 1 page guide for students to fill out their surveys: IDEA Quick Ref Guide for Students V02. We strongly suggest you print and distribute these to your students.

Suggested language for introducing IDEA in class: talking points for introducing IDEA to students.

Best practices for high response rates:

  • Making it clear through multiple communications why the surveys are important for you in terms of improvement to your teaching and to designing future classes
  • Including discussion of IDEA learning objectives along with the more specific learning objectives in your syllabus. In fact, you can even include these on your syllabi
  • Giving students a copy of the survey early on in the semester so they understand the instrument (IDEA Sample Student Evaluation)
  • Monitoring student response rate over time (you can see this at https://fdu.campuslabs.com/faculty), providing reminders. You may also want to consider a small class-wide incentive (one point of extra credit for everyone if the response rate is 100%, for example)

Here’s a statement about student confidentiality:

“Students do log into IDEA using their FDU webmail ID and password, but are doing so on IDEA’s website, not FDU’s. This is done solely to ensure students are linked to surveys for the classes in which they are enrolled. When IDEA returns the data to FDU, it is scrubbed of all identifying information and FDU only receives anonymous, aggregated data. further, whenever there are fewer than 5 responses, no feedback is given to the instructor, so that student anonymity is maintained.”

Finally, the single best way to get good response rates is to:

  1. Introduce IDEA in class, using the provided language and handouts
  2. Tell students at their next class session you will set aside 10-15 minutes for them to fill out their surveys and that they should bring a smartphone, tablet or laptop to do so. (Of course, you should leave the room while they complete their surveys)
  3. Make it clear that you and others at FDU take these surveys very seriously for continuous improvement of teaching


For FULL SEMESTER CLASSES that begin on 8/29 and end on 12/21, here is the timing of IDEA:

  • November 21st– You can now access your Faculty Information Forms and select your Learning Objectives and add Additional Questions.
  • December 1st– Your students can now access their surveys. (you can still select or edit learning objectives until December 9th, but November 31st is your last date to add additional questions.)
  • December 15th– This is the last day before final exams. Students have until and including December 15th as the last day to fill out their surveys.

So, please, sometime before December 1st, alert your students that their course evaluations are coming. Remind them multiple times. Provide in-class time for them to complete their surveys.

If you are teaching a class with ANY OTHER SCHEDULE (e.g., 5, 8 week courses, a start or end date other than the 1st and last day of the semester)– your survey ends on either the WEDNESDAY or SATURDAY on or before your class end date. So if your class ends on Tuesday, your survey ends the Saturday before.  If your class ends on Friday, the survey ends on the Wednesday before. If you class ends on a Saturday, the survey ends that Saturday.

  • We picked these two days of the week to more or less split the week into two pieces, and thus make it so that no survey ends more than three days before the end of the class nor extends beyond the end of the course.

Finally, for full-semester classes at FDU-Vancouver that end on December 16th, we are creating separate dates for you that better suit your academic calendar (as opposed to forcing you into New Jersey’s schedule!).

Faculty surveys open on 11/17 (10 days prior to student surveys)

Student surveys open on 11/27 (3 weeks prior to end date)

Student surveys close on 12/11 (the day before your final exams start)


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