Purpose and Procedure
In November 1977, the University of Ottawa Senate adopted a policy on evaluation of teaching and courses which is administered by the Senate Subcommittee on the Evaluation of Teaching and Courses. The Customized Formative Evaluation components was added in 2002 allowing teachers to choose an additional 10 questions for their own feedback on specific aspects of their teaching. In 2005, the questionnaire underwent major revisions so that its questions applied to the varied ways that courses are taught. The results of the evaluation are available online to all students and teachers through Infoweb. The followings are a few points to remember:
Purpose of the evaluation
- to provide teaching staff with information that might help them improve their teaching
- to establish a method for factoring teaching performance into decisions about the teaching staff
- to provide students with a means for voicing their opinions on teaching and/or the flow of the course
- to provide students with information on certain aspects of their professors' teaching which may help with their course selection
- to help the University of Ottawa maintain a high standard of teaching
Which courses and professors are evaluated?
At the University of Ottawa, all courses involving at least nine contact hours with the same professor will be subject to an evaluation by students, regardless of the number of students and the teaching method used. If two or more professors teach a course, each professor is evaluated at the end of the part of the course that he/she taught if the part represents more than nine hours in that course.
When and how are evaluations filled out?
The process used to administer the evaluation was developed in consultation with the Internal Audit Office. Evaluations take place near the end of courses, on specific dates. Procedures and instructions are forwarded to the professor in question by the dean prior to the evaluation date. Professors must assign one or more student monitors who will provide instructions and oversee the evaluation.
The evaluation must take place at the beginning of the class. The professor must leave the classroom before the monitor issues instructions and students start filling out the questionnaire.
Students give the completed questionnaires to the monitors, who will place the questionnaire in a sealed envelope (R), insert the confidential comment sheets in another sealed envelope (C), and deliver all the envelopes directly to the faculty. The faculty then sends the envelopes containing the questionnaires unopened to the Computing and Communications Service and the envelopes containing students’ confidential comments unopened to the professor once the final marks have been submitted. ANONYMITY is guaranteed. The evaluation cannot affect students’ grades.
What does the University do with completed questionnaires?
Evaluations are done on the official form, unless the Senate approves a specific evaluation method or an exemption. The evaluation form contains two sections: a questionnaire (response sheet) and a confidential comment sheet. The questionnaire consists of 13 general questions and 3 questions used for statistical purposes only. The responses to these questions are compiled to produce up to four different reports:
The A-REPORT is placed in the professor's files in the Dean's office and at his/her department. The professor is also provided with a copy of this report. This part of the information is considered annually by the Dean and Teaching Personnel Committees during the review of a faculty member's efficiency in managing workload duties and is considered collectively for a minimum period of three years in order to establish a trend in teaching performance.
The A-Report contains the following three questions:
- 1) I find the professor well prepared for class
- 4) I think the professor conveys the subject matter effectively
- 9) I find that the professor, as a teacher is…
The P-REPORT, which only professors receive, contains the tabulated results of all the questions and provides professors with feedback that might help them improve their teaching.
The S-REPORT contains the tabulated results for all the questions on the official evaluation form along with lists of all the courses and professors evaluated during a specific session. As of 1998, the S-Report is published on the Web and is accessible to all students currently registered at the University of Ottawa and all faculty members. To view the S-report, login to InfoWeb at https://web3.uottawa.ca/infoweb/logon/en.html, click on Services and then on S-Report – Evaluation of Teaching and Courses.
The X-REPORT is created when fewer than six students are registered in a course or when less than six evaluations are received in a course. It is generated only when there have been at least six evaluation forms completed over a period of three consecutive academic years or less, for the same course code. Evaluation results from these courses will be used only if a pattern of behaviour can be detected in the evaluations covering the last three years. To establish such a pattern of behaviour, the Administration will rely on at least five of these courses. If a pattern does indeed exist, it will be examined in light of other courses taught by the professor concerned.
The comment sheet is attached to the response sheet and contains students’ confidential commentaries. The envelope containing the comment sheets is personally addressed to the professor evaluated and is returned sealed to him/her only after all the marks are handed in, a few weeks after the final exams. The professor is the only one to see these comments.
The Customized Formative Evaluation provides professors with an optional evaluation tool adapted to their individual needs, so they can get feedback on specific aspects of their course. At his or her discretion, the professor may ask students to answer up to 10 additional questions chosen from a customized bank of questions. This evaluation is administered along with the official evaluation but its results are not part of the official evaluation and the professor is the only person who will see these results.
All Web-based courses will be evaluated by students on the Web. Evaluations should be done on the official questionnaire on the Web that is located on a secure site and can be filled out only during the official evaluation period. Students may access this form through InfoWeb. It is important to note that students are not required to provide information that could be used to trace their identity; responses remain anonymous.