Title

Charting New Territory: Assessing the Online Frontier of Student Ratings of Instruction

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2010

Department

Communication Studies

Abstract

Computer-mediated communication pervades society today. Higher education is no exception. Recently in the USA, a debate has emerged regarding online administration of student ratings of instruction (SROIs). Since these end-of-semester messages offered by students are used to influence merit, promotion and tenure decisions, the utility of administering them online ought to be examined. This comparative analysis of messages communicated by students via online and paper-and-pencil SROIs revealed several conclusions. First, the means by which online data were collected positively influenced overall student response rate, as well as internal question-by-question response rate. Second, no significant differences were revealed in (1) student responses to the Likert-type scale assessments, (2) number of comments provided to the open-ended questions, (3) number of positively and negatively charged comments offered in the open-ended responses or (4) major content themes addressed in the open-ended comments. Finally, students provided more descriptive detail in the online than the paper-and-pencil responses. When administered effectively, collecting student rating messages online may be better than doing so in the traditional paper-and-pencil format.

Publication Title

Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education

Volume

35

Issue

1

First Page

101

Last Page

115