Frequently Asked Questions about Student Evaluations (for Students)

Why am I being asked to do course evaluations?

Part of UMaine’s and UMM’s commitment to instructional quality includes providing students the opportunity to give feedback on your perceptions of the course content and instruction. This feedback is used by your instructors and their departments to improve courses over time.

When do evaluations happen?

The faculty union contract specifies that course evaluations happen during the last two weeks of classes and cannot extend into the exam period. We often hear from students that they want to do their evaluations after they get their final grade, but that is not possible due to the faculty contract. If you are taking a course that doesn’t last the full semester your evaluations will be done the last few days of the course.

Why do I keep getting emails reminding me to do my evaluations?

The evaluation system (it is called Explorance Blue, or just Blue) will send up to two reminders if you have not completed your evaluations. Once you complete all your evaluations you will receive no further reminders. The first reminder is sent approximately one week into the 2-week evaluation period and a final one is sent during the last few days of the period. The intent is not to spam your email in-boxes, but rather to make sure you have ample opportunity to evaluate your courses. We do see a bump in response rates after each reminder goes out.

How can I access my evaluations if I can’t find the email that was sent to me?

There are three ways you can do this. The first is to access the evaluation system directly at this link:

You can also access your evaluations in Brightspace by going to the Course Evaluations menu on the home page.

Lastly, there is a Blue icon in your launchpad that will take you to the Blue portal.

When do faculty see the evaluation results?

Student evaluation reports are released to faculty after the faculty submits the final grades for the course to Student Records. This means that your final grades are not influenced by your ratings of your instructors on their evaluations.

What exactly do faculty see in their evaluation reports?

Faculty receive two reports for each course they teach. The first report contains results compiled for all the scale-type questions you answered (i.e., the ones where you had to make a selection). These results are presented as class means, standard deviations and medians, as well as a frequency breakdown for each option on each question (so they know how many students rated them at each level). The scale-type question results are not presented in a way where individual student responses can be identified. The first report also contains all the comments that were signed, along with the name of the student. The second report contains de-identified results from any unsigned comments as well as the results of any personalized questions that the faculty added (they are given the option of adding up to 10 additional questions of their choosing).

Does anyone else see the results of evaluations?

Yes. The faculty report that contains scale-type question results and signed comments (see previous question) is also sent to the chair of the department that houses the course. In addition, that report is added to the faculty’s personnel file and can be used in retention and promotion processes.

Other Questions?

If you have additional questions about student evaluations of teaching please email us at: