Beginning this semester, course evaluations at USD will move from paper forms to a new online program called Campus Labs.
Campus Labs allows evaluations to be done on laptops, tablets or smartphones. There will still be class time set aside to complete the evaluations toward the end of the semester.
Lindsay Hayes, USD’s coordinator of student and institutional assessment, said the move toward online course evaluations was prompted by the increasing role of technology in the classroom and other aspects of academic life, though the call to bring evaluations online came from higher up.
“This actually was a decision that was brought down from the South Dakota Board of Regents,” Hayes said. “It had been discussed for about a year before we made the actual move from the paper, pencil evaluations to the Campus Lab platform.”
All Board of Regents schools have moved their course evaluations online for the spring term, Hayes said. There are benefits – online evaluations can be less time-consuming for office staff, and students’ feedback will be more readily available.
“It does provide a lot less work manually typing out comments,” she said. “You no longer have secretaries typing up comments, trying to box the evaluations, bring them back in a certain order, get them sent off to be recorded, then have everything sent back to the school. It’s a very time-consuming process to use the paper forms.”
Hayes said she hopes the new online program will have the same response rate as the paper forms did.
“There’s always going to be some concern about that,” Hayes said. “Simply because, when you’re online, oh it’s another email. Students, even faculty may overlook it a little bit.”