University of Alberta
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electronic Universal Student Ratings of Instruction (eUSRI) project

Starting in Spring 2013, the University of Alberta began conducting a pilot of an eUSRI system called CoursEval. During Spring the trial was composed of instructors who have at least two years' worth of USRI information teaching that course and session. Simultaneously, a Community of Interest has been formed that met in late May to discuss eUSRI incentive structures, and what strategy the University could deploy if needed.

Units that chose electronic USRI for Fall Term 2013 include Augustana, Biochemistry, Campus St. Jean, Computing Science, Educational Psychology, Mechanical Engineering, and Pharmacy as well as other courses in Nursing and Science. Data and analysis comparing Fall 2013 eUSRIs with previous paper USRIs is now available.

Winter Term 2014 USRIs occurred on paper except in the case of "alternately delivered courses", which would be courses purely online. GFC 111.3 modifications were made to modernize the regulation in order to support electronic means of gathering USRIs. A message was sent to Deans, Chairs, and Directors on 6 March 2014, and was also sent to IST's TSQS group for sharing with those staff requesting USRIs for courses in their faculties or departments, regarding the reversion to paper USRIs for the Winter Term 2014.

Beginning with Fall Term 2014, all courses have used the electronic USRI platform except in specific cases where access was impossible (e.g., geology field studies courses in areas without Internet access). This project is complete, and electronic means of USRI delivery are now a production service.


Q: Aren't response rates lower with eUSRI?
A: Typically yes; however, the published data from a wide variety of Post-Secondary Institutions shows that while the response rates are lower the distribution of the feedback data remains the same (+/- 0.1 on a scale of 10).

Q: Why would we move away from paper-based USRI?
A: There are actually a number of reasons to explore making the move. One of the biggest is that studies have shown that the quality of the long-form feedback goes up significantly when the respondents are using eUSRI platforms. Also, these long form answers no longer need to be manually transcribed from paper into a distributable digital form. One Faculty says that the process of collecting and transcribing the long form responses across 28 classes took them approximately 63 hours to transcribe and another 6 hours to proof the transcriptions.


A literature review of strategies or incentives to increase survey response rates was performed in November, 2010.
Results from a pilot of CoursEval eUSRI software over the Spring and Summer Terms 2013 is available.
Additional results from Fall 2013 courses in which 45% of courses with USRIs held were performed electronically are available.
The final report to GFC CLE was submitted at the November 2015 session.