Online course evaluations save universities cash

University of Oregon saw its evaluation submissions more than double last year.

Students at a handful of Oregon campuses are evaluating their professors online, using a system that helps colleges save on reams of paper and gives students an alternative to popular public professor evaluation websites.

Five Oregon schools, including Oregon State University, the University of Oregon, and Southern Oregon University, announced recently that students there would use web-based professor evaluation forms that would only be viewable for students, professors, instructors, and campus administrators.

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The Oregon campuses have cut spending on paper by moving to online evaluations, and keeping the student-written internet ratings off of the public web – including the popular site – will likely prove popular with faculty, educators said.

The web-based evaluation system is called What-Do-You-Think?, made by CollegeNET, an Oregon-based company providing web-based technologies to colleges, universities, and nonprofit organizations.

Keeping students’ praise and criticism of their professors in-house hasn’t been the only advantage in switching to What-Do-You-Think?.

Laura Jacek, the University of Oregon’s assistant registrar for course evaluations, said eliminating Scantron paper evaluation forms formerly used at the 23,000-student school more than doubled the number of submitted student evaluation forms, and saved more than $200,000 in 2010.

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