SmartEvals is the official student rating of teaching effectiveness for annual performance reviews and tenure and promotion processes at RIT. It is an online-only system.
Setting up SmartEvals
The initial SmartEvals cycle consists of five steps. Once we setup SmartEvals for first use, future semesters will be much simpler to work with. For example, the Survey Setup will not need to be repeated at the university-wide and college levels, unless a decision is made to change any of the university-wide or college-level questions. Faculty, however, will need to add their own questions for each course each semester. The five initial SmartEvals steps are:
This step is transparent to faculty and is managed by the SmartEvals campus coordinator in collaboration with SmartEvals personnel, ITS and the Registrar’s office. During this stage, we create a database that consists of three basic components: Student data, course data and course registration data.
This step is completed by the SmartEvals campus coordinator in collaboration with RIT’s colleges and SmartEvals personnel. It consists of constructing the emails that faculty and students will get throughout the rating of teaching effectiveness process. These emails are customized to their intended targets and include an initial email sent out at the beginning of the evaluation period and subsequent reminders to encourage students to complete their evaluations. Students only get reminders for courses whose surveys they have not completed. Faculty also get reminders only for those courses where students have not completed their evaluation survey. The timing and frequency of these emails are built into the process.
This step completed is by RIT’s Student Rating of Teaching Effectiveness Office, college representatives, and individual faculty. Our students know that each course survey will take 10 or fewer minutes to complete. To meet that goal, our surveys consist of at a maximum of 20 questions per course. Each survey includes:
Up to 10 college and faculty-specific questions. College-specific questions are decided by each college. Faculty-specific questions are added by each faculty member and, unless the faculty member allows it, no one else will see the results or any summative data derived from these questions. Faculty who wish to provide access to the results of these questions to their supervisors must do so through the SmartEvals system. The questions themselves are visible by the supervisor.
The surveys open for students to take them typically by weeks 12-14 of each semester and weeks 11-12 of the summer term, due to a recommendation by the Academic Senate’s Academic Affairs Committee.
Students are sent a customized invitation to complete their surveys by the SmartEvals system. A personalized email is also sent to faculty advising them that course surveys are open. During the evaluation period, students are reminded via email, which specific course surveys they still need to complete. Faculty may also receive email reminders for those courses with less than 100% survey completion.
SmartEvals provides an extensive set of tools to help faculty view and analyze the results of their surveys. SmartEvals keeps all your historical data to help you make decisions based on trends and other indicators.
Fall and Spring Semester: SRATE surveys open for students each fall and spring terms for approximately three weeks, beginning at 12:01 a.m. on the Monday three weeks prior to the last day of class listed on the RIT Academic Calendar. Emails to faculty and students are sent prior to the opening of surveys.
All non-14-week sessions, including summer sessions: Each session/term for approximately two weeks, beginning at 12:01 a.m. on the Monday two weeks prior to the last day of class listed on the RIT Academic Calendar. Emails to faculty and students are sent prior to the opening of surveys.
Fall and Spring Semester: 11:59 p.m. on the day before final exams begin.
All non-14-week sessions, including summer sessions: 11:59 p.m. on the last day of class listed on the RIT Academic Calendar
When Faculty can add questions:
Each session/term, after the first week of class up until 24 hours before SRATE surveys open for students
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.
Thank your students for taking the time to complete the surveys.
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.
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.
SmartEvals is programmed to send reminders to students who have not completed their SRATE surveys approximately every 72 hours. 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.
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 that 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.