Blue Online Evaluation of Teaching Response Rates for Fall 2019

Approximately 70% of courses at UMaine have adopted online student evaluations of teaching using the Blue system as of fall 2019. Overall response rates are at 53.7%, which is common for online evaluations However, there is room for improvement. UMaine encourages providing in-class time for the completion of evaluations, something that other institutions have found to be effective for increasing response rates.1

In an effort to understand whether there is a relationship between providing in-class time for completing evaluations and response rates, we will examine the response rates for fall 2019 classes evaluated in Blue.  Toward that end, we invite all faculty who used Blue in the fall to take this short survey.

We recently sent faculty who used Blue in the fall a newsletter highlighting response rate information and ways students interacted with Blue. Here are a few highlights from that document:

Mean undergrad response rates were consistently around 50% while graduate rates were a bit higher at 64%.

Table showing response rates by course level: 100 level mean 51.1% median 50.0% std dev 19.9% # of sections 666; 200 level mean 49.5% median 48.0% st dev 18.5% # of sections 283; 300 level mean 53.4% median 52.4% st dev 22.2% # of section 292; 400 level mean 52.3% median 50.0% st dev 21.6% # of sections 273; graduate level mean 64.0% median 62.5% st dev 24.2% # of sections 333

In-person and video conference courses had better mean response rates than web-based or blended courses.

Table showing Response Rate by Instructional Mode: blended mean 44.0% median 45.7% st dev 13.7% # of sections 15; in-person mean 54.7% median 52.2% st dev 21.7% # of sections 1607; video con mean 56.7% median 50.0% st dev 23.4% # of sections 7; web mean 47.0% median 43.4% st dev 21.1% # of sections 218

Mondays and Wednesdays had the best response rates.

Table showing Responses by Day of Week: Sunday 1500 Monday 6000 Tuesday 3500 Wednesday 5500 Thursday 3000 Friday 2500 Saturday 2500

Most students used a computer, and not a phone or tablet, to complete their evaluations.

Pie chart showing responses by device type: PC 78% iPhone 17% Generic smartphone 4% Android device 1%

For more information on online student evaluations of teaching, please contact Ryan Weatherbee (

1 Kuch, F., Roberts, R. (2018) Electronic in-class course evaluations and future directions. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 44(5), 726-731. doi: 10.1080/02602938.2018.1467878

Young, K., Joines, J., Standish, T., & Gallagher, V. (2018). Student evaluations of teaching: the impact of faculty procedures on response rates. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education,44(1), 37-49. doi: 10.1080/02602938.2018.1532491