SEI/C – Staff FAQ

What is the purpose of the Student Evaluation of Instruction/Course (SEI/C)?

The SEI/C is designed to help provide feedback to educators and ultimately improve the student experience. It will help us to continue building on our strengths.

Why is the College evaluating all courses?

The key thing going forward is to ensure that the surveys provide valuable information to instructors and programs. By expanding the scope, there is a better chance that we’ll have a more complete picture of what students think about the classes they are taking.

Why is it better to do the evaluations during class time?

Generally speaking, online surveys completed outside of class time do not have an adequate response rate. In-class participation brings the response rate closer to ideal. Whether participating in class or online, students can access their SEI/C invitations through their email or the RRC Surveys Widget on their LEARN page. For in-person participation at RRC campuses, instructors can book a computer lab or students can use their smart phone, tablet, laptop or other device.

Who is responsible for having students do their evaluations in‐class?

Chairs and coordinators will work with academic staff.

What can we tell students who have a “what’s in it for me” mentality?

It’s important to let all students know that educators take the feedback very seriously – it helps us identify what might be improved. Even though students don’t see the results and comments from SEI/C, all students benefit from the feedback that other students gave about their next instructor.

How confidential are the results (student/instructor)?

The software being used is designed to specifically handle course evaluations on a confidential basis. When Chairs and instructors get their online reports, they will only see the aggregate responses. The survey is conducted pre-exams and the results are only released after the evaluation period is over and final grades are submitted.

When do the instructors get their reports?

Reports are released after the SEI/C evaluation period is over and the final grades have been submitted. Currently, there are three evaluation period: January to April, May to August, and September to December, with reports being distributed approximately one month after the end of each evaluation period, after grades have been submitted.

What is the timing for the survey period?

Any course that is 15 days or longer will be surveyed if it ends during the evaluation period. The evaluations run from January to April, May to August, and September to December every academic year.

The evaluation period for each course starts four weeks before the end of the course and runs for 3 weeks starting with an invitation email being sent to the academic email address for full-time and part-time students. The first reminder email goes out to students seven days after the invitation email was received. The second reminder is sent two days before the end of the evaluation period. The evaluation period ends one week before the course ends so there is no disruption of any exams during the final week.

Is the survey mandatory?

It is not mandatory for students to participate in any RRC surveys. Regarding this survey, the College has a policy that mandates that students have the opportunity to evaluate all their courses and their instructors. The policy states that, “Instructors will have the opportunity to be evaluated by his/her students and to receive feedback on his/her teaching performance. Each student will have this opportunity for each of his/her instructors. This policy will apply to all College instructors and courses.”

As for the students, it is strongly encouraged that they participate but it is definitely not mandatory. Instructors can encourage their students to check their academic email or the RRC Surveys widget on their LEARN page approximately four weeks before the end of the course, and let them know when arrangements have been made for them to complete the survey(s) during class time.

If the threshold status is not met, does that mean no one replied to the survey? If the data presented in the report is considered to be insufficient, does that mean the report isn’t really valid?

The SEI/C system has two thresholds. The first threshold relates to the number of students replying to the survey. A Respondent Threshold was set at five for reports made for instructors’ reports. This minimum number, five, is set to help preserve the anonymity of responses. So “not met” can be any number between zero and four.

The second threshold relates to the reliability of the assessments. The Reliability measure sets a minimum threshold of responses – that way readers of the results can have more confidence in the findings. For example, if five students complete the survey there are enough to meet the Respondent Threshold but if there were one hundred students in the class, one wouldn’t have much confidence in the ratings. With so few responses, it becomes too easy to attribute the results to “weaker” students, or “stronger” students, or “happy/unhappy” students.

Note: the information for course sections that have not met the sample requirements is not lost. The student responses are included in the overall Course and Division/School summaries. The reports for the School and Division will include the responses of all their students, including those from course sections that had insufficient samples.

What is the course selection criterion?

  • Courses that have a faculty member (excluding educational assistants) attached to the section.
  • Courses that are more than 14 days long.
  • Excluded: courses such as WHMIS courses, General Safety training courses, accreditation courses, ALC exam courses, supplemental courses, and RPL courses.

When and how will instructors be informed that they are included in the current SEI/C?

Any instructor who is teaching a section of a course that ends during the current SEI/C evaluation time period* will be included in the evaluations that their students are asked to complete. Chairs, Managers, Program Managers and related Administrative Assistants will receive Subject View Management (SVM) reports that provide information on response rates and survey dates. Management can inform Instructors when their students are scheduled to participate in the SEI/C.

* There are three evaluation periods: January to April, May to August and September to December every year. Any course more than 14 days long that ends during one of the three evaluation periods will be included in SEIC.

How can we help the students if they have questions?

A FAQ page was created for students based on questions emailed to Institutional Analysis and Planning.