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Feedback & IDEA

Feedback & IDEA

University of Houston-Downtown uses IDEA's instruments for evaluating instruction. While the CTLE is happy to provide these resources on IDEA itself and the instructional best practices surrounding the concept of collecting feedback from your learners, for actual, individual assistance with IDEA, please visit with your department chair. Additionally, for tech assistance with IDEA, please feel free to reach out to CampusLabs (whose product this is) at 716-270-0000 or at their contact form on their website. We also encourage you to visit UHD's main website for IDEA

The IDEA website is a great place to start to learn more about how these evaluation instruments work. Here's a video from their site:


NB: Subscribe to IDEA's YouTube channel.  

Helpful Tips

There are two different IDEA evaluation formats currently in use (check with your chair to determine which is relevant to your and your courses). These two are the "Learning Essentials" form and the "Diagnostic Feedback" form. 

It's often up to the individual faculty member to prepare their IDEA evaluations to align with their courses by selecting individual learning objectives to be weighted (as either important or essential). Objectives not selected are not factored into the weighting. Essential is double-weighted. Faculty will receive data on all objectives. Faculty are also encouraged to add their own questions to the instrument. Looking for ways to increase the response rate with your learners? Try some of these strategies

Magna Videos on Student Feedback (access instructions

"What Can I Learn From Student Ratings?"

While student ratings are dismissed by some educators for having little to offer, these ratings can in fact be highly beneficial to teachers who want to improve their skills. Students can provide helpful and legitimate feedback on what they feel they learned, workload levels, and observable behaviors that include the teacher’s pace, volume, clarity and organization. We show you how to read student ratings to help make you a better teacher.

"How Can I Use Student Feedback to Improve My Teaching?"

Student evaluations can affect promotions, tenure decisions, and departmental dynamics. This program will show you how you can employ student feedback to hone your teaching, improve student learning, and create a more positive classroom environment.

"How Can I Use Frequent Student Feedback to Improve My Courses?"

If you are only asking for feedback at the end of the semester, there’s not much you can do to improve the learning for your current students. That is why it’s important to get student feedback early in the semester - and multiple times throughout - to understand your students and meet their learning needs. We share the five times in the semester when getting student feedback is valuable and provides practical ways to obtain that information.

IDEA Papers on Ratings and Evaluations

50: "Student Ratings of Teaching: A Summary of Research and Literature"

This paper is a summary of the conclusions of the major reviews of the student ratings research and literature from the 1970s to 2010. That literature is extensive and complex. This paper attempts to provide only a broad, general summary of the current research.

58: "Challenging Misconceptions: About Student Ratings of Instruction"

Data from student ratings of instruction (SRI) are used ubiquitously as a key element in providing instructors with valuable feedback and evaluators with critical student input. Nonetheless, calls for the elimination of SRI continue to appear in academic journals and higher education periodicals. This paper brings to bear the huge body of research on SRI to which so many academics and institutions have contributed. Some of the most egregiously erroneous statements about SRI are rebutted with brief reviews of the readily available compelling evidence. Although some faculty frustrations about misuse of SRI are valid, we argue that inclusion of student voice is critical. Students can provide useful feedback because they have firsthand experience over multiple occasions of what actually occurred in the classroom. Recommendations are made for best practices in using SRI as one of many sources for improving and evaluating teaching.

36: "Appraising Teaching Effectiveness: Beyond Student Ratings"

This paper focuses on both the direct and indirect contributions to instruction and how to integrate the two when assessing faculty performance.

33: "Developing an Effective Faculty Evaluation System"

The higher education rhetoric is almost universal in stating that the primary purpose of faculty evaluation is to help faculty improve their performance. However, an examination of the systems–as used–indicates that the primary purpose is almost always to make personnel decisions and does not necessarily help the individual faculty member improve. Twenty principles or steps in an effective faculty evaluation system are suggested.