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Taking just five minutes of a single class to explain to students why SRATE surveys are important, you can increase the response rate for that class by 10% or more.  These tips represent years of experience using SmartEvals at many universities.  Faculty are encouraged to share with the SRATE office their own tips for future inclusion in this list.

Tip # 1

Set aside five minutes at the beginning of each class to talk to your students about the value of the student rating of teaching effectiveness process. Let your students know that:

  • The rating of teaching effectiveness process has begun.
  •  Each survey will take at most 10 minutes to complete.
  • They will receive emails from SmartEvals encouraging them to complete their surveys.
  • Their responses are anonymous and that you will only see the results of the surveys after you have submitted final grades. And that you will only see summative information from their responses.
  • SmartEvals is a third-party organization that RIT has contracted with to administer and manage our student ratings of teaching effectiveness process.

Tip # 2

Did you know that an email asking your students to complete their surveys can increase your response rate by up to 15%? Here is how this works in SmartEvals:

From within the SmartEvals environment, you can email personalized reminders to those students who have not completed their survey.  The recipients of the emails you send are not known to you.  To edit these emails, login to your SmartEvals course page and click the hyperlink in the "Not Resp" column.  This will display a window titled "Edit Mails To Be Sent Out" where you can edit the email that will be sent ONLY to those students who have not completed any of your surveys.  Once you have made the changes, click the "Update Message" button to save.  Press the "Send" button and the rest is done by SmartEvals!

The SmartEvals system is initially set to "Do not automatically send this email next semester".  We recommend that the first time you use the system you keep this option.

Tip # 3

It sometimes makes sense for an instructor to reserve a few minutes of a lab or class meeting as teaching effectiveness rating period.  Remember: each survey will take at most 10 minutes to complete. Some classes are already taught in a computer lab environment making it easier to allow time to complete the survey as part of the class period. If the class is not taught in a computer lab or if it is not possible to easily schedule a computer lab space have students use their laptops, tablets or smartphones to complete their surveys during a designated class period.

Tip # 4

Did you know that SmartEvals is programmed to send reminders to students who have not completed their SRATE surveys approximately every 72 hours?  Just reminding your students that as soon as they complete their surveys the emails will stop, will motivate them to complete them.

You can also prevent the standard SmartEvals reminders by sending a personalized reminder from you by using SmartEvals email feature. Tip # 2 explains how this works.

Tip # 5

Students who have not completed their surveys may be getting a reminder from SmartEvals.  Faculty may want to remind them that as soon as they complete all their surveys, SmartEvals will stop sending them reminders.

Tip # 6

Share with your students some of the benefits you get as a result of their responses.  Perhaps there is a class you taught in a previous term, which you changed as a result of student feedback; or perhaps there was class project you did not think had gone well but your students told you otherwise in their surveys.

Tip # 7

Take a few minutes of each of your classes and thank your students for taking the time to complete their surveys.

Tip # 8

Remind your students that each survey should take at most 10 minutes of their time and that their answers can provide valuable information you can use to keep offering great courses.

Tip # 9

You may want to remind your students that results of these surveys may help you improve not only this class but other classes you teach as well.