eXplorance November Update


          For the past five years, the Office of Institutional Research has administered online course evaluations for academic units who request them. Over 1,900 sections were evaluated using online forms in fall 2012. The growth in online ratings has placed some strain on the efficient coordination of the teacher-course evaluation process. The IR Office has used online survey software—first SNAP and later Qualtrics—to evaluate courses and professors. In terms of analysis and reporting, IR’s current online course evaluation process involves four manual steps which is an extremely inefficient process compared with today’s commercial course evaluation software. However, most evaluation software possess the functionality to cut the number of steps in half by automatically analyzing students’ evaluations and distributing a series of reports in PDF files to instructors and administrators immediately after grades are submitted.

            In January 2013, a committee formed with the charge of recommending a consistent university‐wide technical solution for students’ evaluation of courses and teaching based on best practices in the field related to instrument design, administration, data collection, report format and use of results. Furthermore, a previous task force’s findings and 2010 recommendations were included and considered in the evaluation.

            Three vendors (eXplorance, CoursEval, and Scantron) and their respective software solutions were identified for further study by the group based upon the previous group’s findings, current use at UK, peer references and technical requirements. After several webinars and references were conducted, the committee’s unanimous choice of software was eXplorance - Blue.

            The decision was based on several factors: the crisp, attractive online rating form and the ease of administering the evaluations, and the visual appeal of the graphs and other elements of the customizable reports.

            The implementation of eXplorance will occur over the next 14 months, October 2013 – December 2014 with an eXplorance pilot sub-committee overseeing the implementation. Currently 9 Colleges and 2 Academic Support Units participate in the University TCE process fully and 3 colleges that have select departments are participating. After each semester (within the 14-month implementation period) a panel presentation or seminar will be scheduled to discuss the results and lessons learned with the participating faculty/instructors and potential eXplorance users. The goal is to have transparent communication in order to improve future teacher/student course evaluation experiences.

If you have any questions about the process please contact InstitutionalEffectiveness@uky.edu.  

859-218-HELP (859-218-4357) 218help@uky.edu