Student FAQ

Below are a list of questions commonly received by the Course Evaluations Team from students.  Please visit our Faculty FAQ and Department FAQ for more pertinent information.

  1. When/How do I complete my course evaluations?
  2. Are my survey responses truly anonymous?
  3. Could my evaluation response have any impact on my grade?
  4. Is there any way to edit my response once it's been submitted?
  5. I missed the deadline for my survey, is there any way I can still provide feedback?
  6. Are these surveys mandatory?
  7. Can instructors offer extra credit to their students for completing a course evaluation?
  8. Why are these surveys administered? 
  9. This instructor listed did not teach my class, OR… One of my instructors is missing...

More questions?  Contact the Course Evaluation Team for additional support.  


When/How do I complete my course evaluations?

The new Course Evaluation System (CES) sends automated emails, which should include a table listing all of your available surveys with deadlines and separate links to each instructor’s individual survey form, in at least three (3) instances:

  • An introduction email, informing you that a new survey has become available to you.
  • A warning email, if you have any incomplete surveys on the day before a survey is set to expire.
  • A reminder email, which you will receive after 50% - 75% of your available time has elapsed, or until you complete your evaluations

Most courses are surveyed over the last two (2) weeks of class, usually during what we refer to as The Fill Out Period; however, a small number of "short" courses are surveyed early every semester, and we encourage you to regularly check your Blue Dashboard to see which surveys you have completed, and when future surveys will be made available to you throughout the term.  


Are my survey responses truly anonymous? 

Protecting the anonymity of our student evaluators is always a top priority with every survey we administer.  Identifiable student information from respondents is never shared at any point throughout the surveying process, and we meta data like timestamps, IP Addresses, etc. are never visible to instructors or department staff.  However, in the past, particularly in smaller classes with single-digit enrollments, some students have unintentionally revealed their identity through their responses.

To explain, because all written comments, along with the Likert ratings provided by the commenter (Including responses for questions like: “Overall, approximately what percentage of the course meetings did you attend...”), are shared with instructors at the end of each term, if you left a fairly vague comment that began, for example, “As someone who has worked for many years as a professional programmer in the banking industry…” this may reveal your identity as you may be the only such student in your class with an attendance record you identified or with the experience you described in your comment. With this in mind, we generally discourage students from providing any personal details about themselves in their comments.


Could my evaluation response have any impact on my grade?

Exceptional measures are taken to ensure that an instructor’s grading is never influenced by the course evaluation responses provided by students. Results are never shared with faculty until after the final grading deadline has passed, and all Department Liaisons are trained to provide notice to the Office of Academic Technology in the case of exceptions.


Is there any way to edit my response once I've submitted? 

In instances where you believe your mistake may have serious implications, for example, if you accidentally marked “Strongly Disagree/Disagree” when you meant to mark “Strongly Agree/Agree” on your ratings, or if you mistakenly submitted an evaluation for one instructor thinking that they were someone else, we ask that you email us explaining the circumstances. Please be sure to include the instructor’s first and last name, and either the Course ID or the Unique ID for the course in-question. We will not be able to change your response in any way, but we can communicate the mistake to the department on your behalf without revealing your identity.  


I missed the deadline for my survey, is there any way I can still provide feedback?

We generally do not reopen surveys under any circumstance unless a major administrative mistake was made by a university staff member which may have prevented students from completing a survey as it was intended, and even under those circumstances, permission from the instructor and the course’s home department chairman is required.

However, if you have a positive note that you would like to have passed onto your instructor anonymously, you may email us, and we will, as a courtesy, ensure that it is passed onto the appropriate parties.  Many instructors have included such notes in their Promotion and Tenure Dossiers as a supplemental document and they are always appreciated as a sincere gesture of good faith.  


Are these surveys mandatory? 

The University of Texas is required to administer surveys in most cases, but students are generally not required to complete course evaluations.  Instructors and department chairmen reserve the right to set their own expectations and requirements regarding classroom citizenship, and it is always best to seek their guidance when in doubt.    


Can instructors offer extra credit to their students for completing a course evaluation? 

Yes, instructors are permitted to offer extra credit for students who provide evidence of a completed course evaluation prior to the deadline.  This usually comes in the form of a screenshot taken of your Blue Dashboard simply showing which evaluations that you have completed.  This information is usually submitted to the instructor as the Course Evaluations Team does not, as a security measure, provide any kind of confirmation emails to students upon the completion of a survey.  We also do not, under any circumstances, provide any indication of how you responded to any specific questions.

Why are these surveys administered? 

These surveys are administered, first and foremost, to provide instructors with valuable student feedback about classroom experiences and guidance on the most effective teaching strategies. However, these surveys are also used to provide feedback to administrators about the effectiveness of a faculty member’s teaching and student rapport. This information, along with a teaching portfolio and peer review of course materials, is used during a wide variety of faculty review processes, such as the offering of teaching awards, determination of teaching assignments, promotion, tenure, etc. 

Furthermore, the Office of Academic Technology is also guided by Texas House Bill 2504, specifically Texas Education Code 51.974 "Internet Access to Course Information" which states: (h) Institutions of higher education included in this section shall conduct end-of-course student evaluations of faculty and develop a plan to make evaluations available on the institutions website." 

In other words, the timely completion of these surveys, as well as the provision of earnest feedback within them, is not only a demonstration of excellent university citizenship and a unique opportunity to share your perspective with future students, but also in some cases, an exercise of your legal rights as a student attending a public university in the State of Texas.    


The instructor listed on my survey(s) didn't teach my class, OR… One of my instructors/TA’s seems to be missing from my dashboard, what should I do?

Please email us, providing the name(s) of the instructors or TAs in question, as well your EID (so that we can verify that there are no issues with your enrollment), and either the Course ID or Unique ID for the course(s) impacted.

There are a number of reasons why this might happen.  In many cases, for example, instructors are listed in our database under the full legal name they had when they first joined the University, and students are simply not familiar with them (They are more familiar with their maiden name, nickname, stage/pen name, etc.), but without critical information on the course itself, there is no way for us to diagnose the issue.