How do course evaluations work at UCSB and what is Explorance Blue?
UCSB’s Course Evaluation system makes the process of gathering and summarizing student feedback easy for instructors and departments, while providing flexibility to create customized surveys. UCSB uses the platform “Explorance Blue” to distribute and collect course evaluations, campus-wide*. Evaluations are confidential; students’ identifying information, like names and perm numbers, are disassociated with their responses to produce reports with aggregated feedback. These Course Evaluation reports are shared with instructors after final grades are submitted.
Instructors and Students will find a link to their Course Evaluations on the left side navigation bar in every Canvas course, or by following the links in automatic email notifications, or by navigating to the webpage: https://ucsb.bluera.com/ucsb
What you need to know about course evaluations depends on your role in the UCSB community. Learn more from each of these guides:
* Prior to Fall 2023, UCSB used a homegrown course evaluation system called ESCI (the Evaluation System for Courses and Instruction). To learn more about the transition, see AVC of Teaching Learning, Linda Adler-Kassner’s Fall Course Evaluation memo or watch a recording of the Fall 2023 Course Evaluation Transition Townhall meeting.
How are course evaluations used at UCSB?
Instructors and TAs use their Course Evaluation reports to reflect on, and inform, their teaching. Faculty may choose to summarize and interpret their Course Evaluation reports as they document their teaching for hiring, merit and review. Additionally, Red Binder section 1-31 requires that summary information for the two campus-wide Course Evaluation questions, “Item A” (overall evaluation of teaching) and “Item B” (overall evaluation of the course) be included in personnel cases, along with one other source of teaching evidence (e.g. Teaching Statement or peer review of teaching).
Steps in course evaluation process
Departmental administrators fill out the Survey Request Form, or SRF, to indicate which courses in the department should and should not be evaluated. The SRF is completed during Week 4 of Fall, Winter and Spring quarters. Note: to access the secure SRF website from off-campus, you’ll need to use the Campus VPN.
Instructors and TAs are invited (but not required) to add personalized questions to the end of the standard form. Instructors/TAs will receive an email invitation to personalize their surveys in Week 8 of Fall, Winter and Spring quarters.
Students are invited to give feedback on their courses by automatic email alerts and with a dismissible pop-up that displays in Canvas when they log in during the Course Evaluation period (weeks 9 and 10 in Fall, Winter and Spring). Students can also access Course Evaluations using the left hand navigation menu in any Canvas course
Instructors can monitor response rates at https://ucsb.bluera.com/ucsb during the evaluation period and encourage student participation.
The fourth step of the process is the reporting period, when instructors are invited to view their end-of-quarter course evaluation reports. Instructors are alerted that reports are available via email notification and can access them directly at https://ucsb.bluera.com/ucsb or through the course evaluation link in left side navigation in Canvas. Reports are typically available two weeks after the course evaluation period ends (after final grades are submitted).