Online ISQs are here to stay

Rebecca Rodriguez

From now on, UNF students will be rating professors online.

UNF officially switched from paper Instructional Satisfaction Questionnaire (ISQ) forms to online forms in the fall 2013 semester.

Percentages of students who responded to paper and then online ISQs. Illustrated by Caitlyn Broyles
Percentages of students who responded to paper and then online ISQs.
Illustrated by Caitlyn Broyles

Marianne Jaffee, executive assistant provost, said she was the face of this process. She has been coordinating ISQs since 2003.

In the spring 2013 semester, UNF did a pilot. Brooks College of Health agreed to use the online ISQ forms while the other colleges continued with paper forms.

Jaffee said Brooks College had a 71 percent response rate compared to the 69 percent response rate with the paper forms.

During the fall 2012 semester, there was a 69 percent response rate for the paper ISQ forms.

For fall 2013, there was a 51 percent response rate for the online forms.

“It was expected that the response rate would probably decrease because it was campus wide for the first time, so it was unfamiliar,” Jaffee said.

Jaffee said UNF had been talking about converting to online ISQs for several years. The idea was first raised in a Faculty Affairs Committee meeting. It then was discussed with the United Faculty of Florida.

After the Provost office, along with several other offices committed to the pilot with Brooks College, UNF staff and faculty saw the response rate was reasonable and moved ahead to implement online ISQ forms campus-wide.

The number of paper ISQs scanned at UNF. Illustrated by Caitlyn Broyles
The number of paper ISQs scanned at UNF.
Illustrated by Caitlyn Broyles

UNF scanned 35,317 paper forms in fall 2012.

In spring 2013, when Brooks College of Health provided online forms, UNF scanned 28,667 paper forms.

“Cost for paper forms was an issue [as well as] scanner costs, the forms themselves, and the human effort to scan all of those,” Jaffee said.

“Many institutions are moving to online evaluations, so there’s a lot of literature out there,” Jaffee said.

Jaffee said one of the benefits of the online forms is that faculty doesn’t have to take away class time. The students have two weeks to complete the online ISQs at any time they choose.

“With paper, faculty would not get their results [both quantitative and written comments] until mid to late January.”

Jaffee said as soon as faculty submit their grades, they get to see the feedback and have time to make adjustments if they choose.

Faculty Association President Gordon Rakita said, “They’re different concerns just by virtue of how they’re being distributed.  Students who hadn’t come to class, for many weeks, will have the opportunity to fill out an ISQ despite not being in class. I think that’s of concern to many faculty.”

Rakita said his experience was positive because he felt the written comments on the online ISQs were more detailed, possibly because having more time to fill out the form at home allowed students to reflect more on the positives and negatives.

“I should point out that faculty have some ambivalence about ISQs generally speaking, because both the administration and the faculty agree that ISQs are not in and of themselves, by themselves, not the best measure of teaching effectiveness,” Rakita said.

UNF's paper ISQs. Courtesy of Marianne Jaffee
UNF’s paper ISQs.
Courtesy of Marianne Jaffee

Jaffee said she thinks the online form response rate will increase as students become more familiar with it.

“We think as faculty get more involved in the process by encouraging participation, response rates will increase,” Jaffee said.

Jaffee said some institutions allowed earlier access to grades for students if they filled out the online forms. UNF chose not to do this for the fall 2013 semester, but may be discussing it for spring 2014.

“The Provost [Dr. Earle Traynham] is committed to the success of an online evaluation tool. This Spring he’ll be looking to a faculty committee to look at how we can enhance the system to get more robust responses,” Jaffee said.

The team involved in this process is a combination of Information Technology Services, Academic Affairs, Center for Instruction and Research Technology, and Institutional Research.

Email Rebecca Rodriquez at [email protected]

Email Jason Howard at [email protected]