Online Course and Instructor Evaluations

Using Blue evalautions, NIU Blue provides an automated way for departments to conduct student evaluations of select course sections. The operation of NIU Blue encompasses four core principles:

  • Instructors cannot see evaluation results until after the semester is over.
  • Students must be finished posting evaluations before grade posting opens.
  • Instructors must be allowed at least two days to add personalized questions.
  • Students must be allowed at least two days to complete course evaluations.

The question personalization (QP) setup period begins at approximately 45 percent of the course section’s duration. All instructors will receive an email informing them that QP has opened, along with a direct link to their QP setup for each course section. Once logged in, instructors can add up to five scale-type questions and up to five open-ended questions. A preview option is available, as well as the ability to save work and return for more editing at a later time.

To save time in future semesters, please consider composing your QP questions in MSWord and saving them on your computer. You can then simply copy-and-paste the text into Blue during QP. If you do not already have your questions saved in MSWord, you can copy-and-paste your questions from your previous semester’s report.

Please note: You must click the submit button in order to integrate your custom questions into the survey for a course.

The form fill-out (FO) phase opens at approximately 75 percent of each course section’s duration. As with the question personalization period for instructors, students will receive an email letting them know when FO has opened (including an embedded link for easy access to their survey). Students can complete and submit their survey anytime during the FO phase, including saving a partially completed survey and returning to it at a later date. Clicking on the submit button saves the survey into the system.

Surveys that are saved but not submitted are not considered.

Students will receive email reminders five and two days before the close of FO. Instructors are strongly encouraged to remind students to complete their evaluations, including reminding them of how to access the system (direct email link, through Blackboard or via the direct URL).

During the form fill-out period, instructors can log in to the NIU Blue system to monitor, in real time, the student response rates to each of their course sections. No information is given about which students have (or have not) responded; only summary figures for each section are provided. This information can assist instructors when encouraging students to complete their evaluation surveys.

NIU Blue is mobile friendly (easily used from laptops, tablets and cell phones), and some instructors have had success with allowing students class time to complete the surveys using their portable electronics. Research on student surveys shows that regardless of the method used, response rates are highest (and the received data most useful) when instructors explain to students the importance of participating in such evaluations, as well as how their feedback will be used to improve teaching and future classes.

All form fill-out activities close no later than 10 days before the end of each semester. This is the time during which Testing Services is making the final preparations for the next semester’s NIU Blue evaluations. Following the end of the semester, the NIU Blue system generates reports. The process of report generation can take up to 12 to 14 days, depending on the number of course sections, type and complexity of reports requested. An email is automatically sent to all report recipients once a report becomes available for viewing and/or downloading.

Prior to the start of each semester, specific course sections are identified by department personnel to be evaluated using NIU Blue. Testing Services works with departmental staff to translate the paper evaluation instrument currently in use into an online electronic version workable through NIU Blue. Testing Services will then associate the instrument in MyNIU for the upcoming semester.

If you have an existing student instrument that needs modifications, wish to add a new instrument for course sections not previously evaluated using NIU Blue, or need to change which course sections are evaluated in NIU Blue, contact Testing Services at least two months prior to the beginning of the semester in which you want these changes to take effect.

When NIU Blue is set up for a course, all sections are automatically included. Departments will retain final control over whether NIU Blue is used for any given section.

In the course scheduling component of MyNIU, the departmental staff have the option to determine which sections will not use NIU Blue. This might be due to any number of departmentally approved reasons, such as: experimental sections or teaching methods, small enrollments, or special instructional needs.

Please note that departments will have the responsibility of excluding sections not to be included in the online course process using NIU Blue.

If you have any questions regarding NIU Blue, please email or call 815-753-1203.

Please Note: In order to be included in the NIU Blue system, instructors and faculty members need to log in to their MyNIU account with their employee ID number and click on MyNIU Student System to activate their ID.

If you encounter an error message regarding your login, please contact the Division of Information Technology at 815-753-8100.

Related Links