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From the Office of the Provost
March 17, 2009, Volume 55, No. 25

Introduction of Online Course Evaluations

Penn course evaluations will now be conducted online, beginning in spring semester 2009. All undergraduate courses, and some graduate and professional courses, will be part of the new system.

The new online system will be similar to the old pencil-and-paper system, with two primary differences:

(1) Students will no longer fill out the form in class. However, we encourage professors to remind students in class to fill out the form; our pilot study in fall 2008 suggests that response rates are significantly higher when professors repeatedly ask students in class to make sure to fill out the online form. 

(2) The course evaluation period will now begin in the last week of classes and extend until grades are submitted. To view their grades online, students must either complete the online evaluation or actively opt out of it.  Faculty members and graduate teaching assistants are therefore urged not to share final grades with students before those grades are officially submitted, since knowledge of final grades could affect students’ course evaluations.

Questions and answers about the new online evaluation system can be viewed at: https://evaluation.isc-seo.upenn.edu/blue/files/OnlineCourseEvaluation-faq.htm

 Courses in Touch

Introduction of Online Syllabi in Courses InTouch

As of March 6, 2009, Courses InTouch allows instructors to include a syllabus or preliminary syllabus for the use of students during Advance Registration. Faculty members and school/program administrators can use Courses InTouch to upload a document, in PDF format, to the Course Search and Schedule Planning Tool.

To upload a syllabus or preliminary syllabus:

(1) Log on to the Courses InTouch system from the U@Penn website as you do to submit grades or check rosters. 

(2) Click the “Syllabi” link from the Courses InTouch applications listed on the left-hand side. 

(3) Select the “Choose” button for a given course section and you will be able to upload a PDF-formatted syllabus.

A preliminary syllabus does not need to include detailed information about schedules and deadlines. The Student Committee on Undergraduate Education suggests that information needed by students to make good decisions about their course selections includes: a brief list of topics to be covered, a preliminary reading list, and an initial sense of when and how students will be evaluated (e.g., a final paper, a series of multiple choice exams).

We encourage you to take advantage of this new option to educate students about the courses they are exploring.  If you have any questions about how to upload the document or convert a document to PDF format, please contact your department administrator.


Almanac - March 17, 2009, Volume 55, No. 25