FAQs for staff and students

This page includes responses to general questions about eVALUate followed by some specific responses to questions which staff or students may have.  If you have a different question, please use the eVALUate contact form.  

This page will be updated throughout implementation in 2014.

What is eVALUate?

eVALUate is the new survey Deakin is adopting to gather, report and use student feedback to improve units and teaching in a positive way. There are two parts to the survey – one focusing on student perceptions about what has helped and hindered their achievement of unit learning outcomes, and the second part that seeks student feedback about individual teaching effectiveness.

What is changing?

The former Student Evaluation of Teaching and Units survey (SETU) will no longer be used and is being replaced by the eVALUate survey.

When is it changing?

eVALUate will be available from Trimester 2 2014.

Why are we changing?

eVALUate is strongly focused on student learning and the survey asks students to reflect on their learning and the learning outcomes at the unit level. The move away from a 5 point Likert scale means less of a focus on scores and a greater emphasis on student agreement/ disagreement responses and comments.

What is done with the survey responses?

Reports generated by eVALUate can be used to inform enhancements to teaching and learning practice by unit chairs, course directors, heads of school, faculty leaders and the University executive.

Course and unit teams are expected to utilise material provided to improve their courses and units. Staff responsible for performance review (PPR) processes consider survey responses as part of their review of teaching performance of the staff reporting to them. The faculty use this data to report on teaching performance and actions to the University Teaching and Learning Committee.

Unit chairs are required to inform students of the results and impact of surveys, in line with the Deakin Evaluation of Teaching and Units procedure, with the minimum requirement being to report in the unit guide and in class discussions by the end of trimester.There are also public reports available to students and the general public.

Is the survey confidential?

Yes, the survey and all results are confidential. Only aggregated data are included in any reports and de-identified student comments are available verbatim to the managers of the unit(s). This includes named teaching staff, Unit Chair, Head of School, Associate Dean (Teaching & Learning) and Faculty Pro Vice-Chancellor.

Where can I find out more?

For more information please visit Evaluating teaching and learning.

Information for Students

What do I need to do?

To take part in the survey please follow the link in the email you will receive in Week 11 of the trimester.

You will be asked your level of agreement to 11 statements regarding your achievement of learning outcomes, your motivation and engagement, and your overall satisfaction with the unit. Also, you will be asked about what are the most helpful aspects of the unit and how you think the unit might be improved.

Will the survey take long to complete?

Evaluation of each unit will take a few minutes but the timely feedback provided is invaluable to the academic staff and the University with an opportunity for changes to be made in future offerings

Information for Staff

What do I need to do?

Review these FAQs and examine the sample reports located at Evaluating teaching and learning to make sure that you are fully prepared for the reports when they are produced at the end of Trimester 2 in 2014.

What support is available for working with the new form of survey responses?

A Staff Support site dedicated to eVALUate will be accessible from the Evaluating Teaching and Learning home page with videos and information, in conjunction with a series of professional development activities for all teaching staff on the interpretation of eVALUate reports, and their application in the enhancement of units of study. Details regarding the workshop activities will be made available from August 2014 and resources will be added progressively ahead of reports being made available to staff in November.Leadership development activities will also be available on the strategic use of survey data in planning, course enhancement and through the PPR process.

How do I demonstrate good teaching if there is no longer a mean score provided?

eVALUate reports provide regular feedback to further develop your skills as a teacher and to demonstrate your effectiveness in facilitating student learning. Demonstrating your effectiveness as a teacher is not a matter of simple scores but about being able to show how you have evaluated your teaching using amongst other things student feedback. eVALUate reports provide both quantitative and qualitative information reflecting on a range of factors which contribute to the learning experience of students, particularly on the achievement of learning outcomes for your units. Considering student feedback provided and then demonstrating how you have responded to this is a far better approach to demonstrating your skills as a teacher and reflective academic.   To help you in both interpreting the surveys and using that information to enhance your teaching, there will be available a dedicated Staff Support site accessible from the Evaluating Teaching and Learning home page, incorporating videos and other information to assist you. In addition, there will be available workshops and discussion groups throughout the trimester.

Can I change the questions or add additional questions?

No, the questions can't be added to or altered. eVALUate is a validated survey approved by the Deakin University Academic Board and used by a number of other universities including Curtin University, Federation University and University of Tasmania. Using a validated survey employed by other universities will allow us opportunities to benchmark in the future and it provides a consistent approach across the higher education sector allowing us to track results over time.

What are the benefits of eVALUate?

eVALUate focuses on how students learn and what they get out of it, and it will give you a better indication of how that is going. Using the unit learning outcomes as the main focus the unit reports will provide a more comprehensive and balanced report of good teaching practices and will help you better identify solutions to problem areas as well as acknowledgement of what is working and what was helpful for the student.

As the questions are more about what students get from the unit, these reports will give you information that will be helpful in assisting to improve the unit as well as the quality of the teaching. The reports will also be useful for promotion applications and in nominations for awards and internal learning grant applications.

Can my unit be exempt from eVALUate?

If you believe your unit cannot be adequately evaluated using eVALUate, you can apply for exemption. This request for exemption, which will include an alternative evaluation procedure, is submitted by the Faculty to the Chair of the Academic Board. Details are outlined in the Evaluation of Teaching and Units Procedure

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