Media Releases

Course evaluation system developed at U of T to be available around the world

March 24, 2016

Toron­to, ON — eva­l­UT, a course eval­u­a­tion frame­work devel­oped at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to, is going to be made avail­able to edu­ca­tors around the world.  Mon­tre­al-based eXplo­rance, a lead­ing provider of soft­ware solu­tions that sup­port learn­ing, will be licens­ing eva­l­UT and intends to make the frame­work com­mer­cial­ly avail­able to the glob­al edu­ca­tion mar­ket.

The prod­uct of years of data-dri­ven research at U of T’s Cen­tre for Teach­ing Sup­port & Inno­va­tion, eva­l­UT includes a set of val­i­dat­ed ques­tions that enable stu­dents to pro­vide feed­back to their instruc­tors.  But its devel­op­ers say it goes beyond that, tak­ing into con­sid­er­a­tion teach­ing and learn­ing pri­or­i­ties across divi­sions and depart­ments, focus­ing on con­tin­u­ous, evi­dence-based improve­ment and reg­u­lar­ly tak­ing into account new and emerg­ing pri­or­i­ties.

“When we’re col­lect­ing feed­back, it has to be in line with the institution’s edu­ca­tion­al goals so deci­sions are made accord­ing to what is tru­ly impor­tant,” said Pro­fes­sor Susan McC­a­han, Vice-Provost, Inno­va­tions in Under­grad­u­ate Edu­ca­tion, Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to. “In order to make con­struc­tive deci­sions, edu­ca­tion­al insti­tu­tions can­not sim­ply rely on a bank of stan­dard­ized ques­tions. The evi­dence-based approach at the heart of the eva­l­UT frame­work and the way it’s being imple­ment­ed has result­ed in con­ver­sa­tions and prac­tices that go much deep­er than sim­ply admin­is­ter­ing a stan­dard­ized tool.”

When stu­dents were sur­veyed about their per­cep­tions of their expe­ri­ences with the new course eval­u­a­tion frame­work and sys­tem at U of T, their com­ments includ­ed that it pro­vides a seam­less, easy way to give their instruc­tors impor­tant feed­back.

The eval­u­a­tions stu­dents pro­vide on cours­es are strict­ly con­fi­den­tial and anony­mous.  But stu­dents have clear­ly indi­cat­ed the U of T sys­tem is a valu­able tool and they under­stand why course eval­u­a­tions are impor­tant.

“I appre­ci­ate the oppor­tu­ni­ty to pro­vide com­ments to my instruc­tors that will help them devel­op their cours­es and improve their teach­ing,” said his­to­ry stu­dent Anne Diskin.  “Hav­ing a voice in the fur­ther devel­op­ment of my pro­gram is incred­i­bly valu­able and the course eval­u­a­tion sys­tem is an excel­lent forum for this feed­back.”

“They’re a quick and easy way for me to share my thoughts with my profs and my fac­ul­ty through a secure and non-intim­i­dat­ing medi­um,” added fourth year phi­los­o­phy stu­dent Emma Smith.

Oth­er Cana­di­an insti­tu­tions are already ben­e­fit­ting from the frame­work devel­oped at U of T.   “eva­l­UT has been very help­ful in our efforts to improve our approach to incor­po­rat­ing stu­dent feed­back into the pro­fes­sion­al devel­op­ment of SFU instruc­tors,” says Dr. Jon Dri­ver, Vice Pres­i­dent, Aca­d­e­m­ic and Provost, Simon Fras­er Uni­ver­si­ty. “The frame­work has the flex­i­bil­i­ty need­ed to encour­age engage­ment at all lev­els in the orga­ni­za­tion.  We look for­ward to con­tin­u­ing our col­lab­o­ra­tion with our col­leagues at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to in this impor­tant area.”

eXplo­rance will be respon­si­ble for rais­ing aware­ness regard­ing the eva­l­UT frame­work and for edu­cat­ing orga­ni­za­tions on how to inte­grate it. Mean­while, the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to will col­lab­o­rate with the entire com­mu­ni­ty of eva­l­UT users to con­tin­u­al­ly improve the frame­work.


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