Spring Online Student Evaluations of Teaching 

Over the past three years, since the Blue portal was introduced for online evaluations, UMaine has seen an increase in the number of academic units choosing to go completely online for their student evaluations of teaching (SETs).  By fall 2019, approximately 70% of units had voluntarily adopted using exclusively online SETs. With the sudden move to remote instruction this semester, all SETS will be conducted online using the Blue portal for the spring 2020 semester. (This will be for this semester only.) However, given the extraordinary circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic this semester, the process will differ.  AFUM has issued the following update:

For the Spring 2020 semester, the results of the Student Evaluation shall not be placed in the personnel file or used for any negative action. Neither will signed comments be placed in the personnel file. 

For purposes of evaluation, reappointment, or promotion, or tenure that includes the Spring 2020 semester, the University shall consider all work evaluated to have been completed in 1 fewer semester. This provision does not change any contractual deadlines. 

We want to assure faculty that we will be adhering to these new guidelines while administering SETs this semester. Copies of SET reports will not be shared with academic units — only the faculty members teaching each course.   

For those new to the online SET,  we encourage reviewing the resources available on the OIRA website. In particular, we recommend  this handout, which summarizes the process. In short, there are three different tasks involved:

  • Question Personalization – faculty are given the opportunity to add up to 10 of their own questions to the questionnaire. These will be supplementary to the standard question set. 
  • Student access – for the two weeks leading up to the last day of classes, students will have access to fill out their evaluations. 
  • Response Rate Monitoring – faculty can monitor response rates in real-time for each of their courses. The monitoring period corresponds with the time students have access to complete their evaluations (last two weeks of classes). 

See Table 1 for the dates associated with each of the tasks described above. Communication with faculty and students about each part of the online SET process is done via official UMaine email accounts.  Messages come from the account of Lisa Henderson.

Table 1: Important dates for tasks in the online SET process. Bold row applies to most courses ending on last official day of classes. 

Course End Date Question Personalization Start Date Question Personalization Reminder 1 Question Personalization End Date Student Access Start Date Student Access Reminder 1 Student Access Reminder 2 Student Access End Date
4/27/2020 4/7/2020 4/11/2020 4/13/2020 4/14/2020 4/18/2020 4/26/2020 4/27/2020
4/28/2020 4/7/2020 4/110/2020 4/14/2020 4/15/2020 4/19/2020 4/27/2020 4/28/2020
4/30/2020 4/7/2020 4/11/2020 4/16/2020 4/17/2020 4/21/2020 4/29/2020 4/30/2020
5/1/2020 4/7/2020 4/10/2020 4/19/2020 4/20/2020 4/24/2020 4/30/2020 5/1/2020
5/7/2020 4/9/2020 4/16/2020 4/23/2020 4/24/2020 4/28/2020 5/6/2020 5/7/2020
5/8/2020 4/10/2020 4/17/202 4/24/2020 4/25/2020 4/29/2020 5/7/2020 5/8/2020

If you have any questions or concerns about the move to online SETs please let us know. 

Ryan Weatherbee (ryan.a.weatherbee@maine.edu)
Lisa Henderson (lisa.henderson@maine.edu)