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Three Integration Essentials Every Canvas Admin Should Have for Course Evaluations

Virtually every college and university have some form of a student feedback process, and some secondary schools have begun to collect student feedback as well. However even today many institutions still struggle with this process of collecting course evaluations each term. For many the process of administering surveys is cumbersome, lacks automation, and delivers chronically low response rates, and so the course evaluation process has become a challenge for many institutions. But, this doesn’t have to be the case - especially for Canvas institutions.

By integrating the course evaluation process into Canvas, institutions can solve many of the challenges they’ve historically experienced, improve the level of student participation in surveys, and put useful feedback into the hands of faculty and administration in a timelier manner. While LTI is a simple means of integrating with Canvas, to truly embrace the power of integrating course evaluations within Canvas you need to go deep, and EvaluationKIT has identified three essential areas of deep integration for course evaluations within Canvas, including data integration, a seamless student interface, and a seamless instructor interface. Let’s explore each of these areas and how they can promote a successful course evaluation process.

First up is data integration. Why is a data integration essential to successful course evaluations? Well, course evaluations are driven by key course, student, and instructor data. As a Canvas institution, you already have all this information setup in Canvas, so why not leverage it? In EvaluationKIT, survey administrators can automate the flow of course, student, and instructor data from Canvas into the course evaluation project, eliminating often tedious and redundant work. And, with enrollment refresh capabilities, keeping your Canvas enrollments in synch with your course evaluation enrollments can be automated as well. The result is a process that eliminates the need for frequent manual uploads of data or complicated integrations with your SIS. Instead, survey administrators can simply search for and select the courses to be evaluated from Canvas, import all the relevant data around those courses and enrollments, and schedule automated synching.

And that brings us to the 2nd integration essential every Canvas admin should have, seamless way to provide surveys to your students within Canvas. Why is a seamless student interface so important? Let’s face it, getting students to participate in surveys is critical to the success of your course evaluation process, yet it’s an area institutions frequently cite as difficult at best. Many institutions have resigned themselves to getting lackluster response rates from their online course evaluations, assuming it’s a given. However, EvaluationKIT institutions have proven time and time again that doesn’t have to be the case, and one of the keys is providing a seamless Canvas interface for your survey-taking students. Expecting students to login to a separate standalone survey system, check their email, or even click on a static LTI link in Canvas likely won’t deliver the response rates your looking to achieve. To drive student participation, you need a way to provide seamless and automated survey access directly within Canvas, AND that will allow you to make survey completion a requirement, if needed. Over years of continued development and experience working with hundreds of Canvas institutions, EvaluationKIT created an innovative and seamless integration of surveys to students within Canvas. The result is a process that allows institutions to control whether surveys are optional or mandatory, and provides persistent reminders to students within Canvas that are proven to drive response rates.

Of course, once the survey period has ended, the work of distributing results begins, and that brings us to the 3rd integration essential for every Canvas Admin…a seamless and easy faculty interface within Canvas, to support timely access to results as well as facilitate participation in certain survey logistics.

Why is faculty access to results essential to your process? At the end of the day, this is one of the main reasons why institutions administer course evaluations…to get valuable student feedback into the hands of instructors in a timely way so they can use for improvement and quality purposes. And, for so many years the paper-based process was slow and provided one standard paper report. This is where EvaluationKIT’s online process ultimately shines in that it gets valuable reporting into stakeholders’ hands fast. And, providing instructors with a seamless interface to course evaluation results within Canvas ensures that faculty will always be able to access their reports from within the familiar environment of Canvas.

In addition, some institutions rely on faculty for key inputs into the survey process. For example, many institutions allow faculty to tack on their own course specific survey questions to the main institutional survey. In some cases, faculty are further empowered to control survey dates for their own courses, or even to select which courses are picked to be surveyed each term. Having an easy way to empower faculty to manage these aspects of the survey process within Canvas is essential to streamlining the process while ensuring compliance with important institutional policies.

As you are probably well-aware, the course evaluation process requires much more than simply distribution of a survey. To be truly successful, institutions must have a way to organize their course and enrollment data, engage students in providing feedback, and ultimately deliver that feedback in a timely and useful manner to instructors. By leveraging the three essential areas of integration within Canvas – a turnkey data integration, seamless student experience, and seamless faculty interface – institutions can successfully mitigate the most challenging aspects of the course evaluation process and do so more efficiently than ever.

Keep learning and see you at InstructureCarn!

Peter Pravikoff
VP Sales & Marketing, EvaluationKIT