Scrap the Scantrons — Course Evaluations Go Online

When it comes to course evaluations, a growing number of schools and departments will be canceling their Scantron orders this coming academic year, opting for pixels instead of paper. They are making the switch thanks to EEE‘s new online course evaluation tool.

Previously a means for instructors and teaching assistants to assess the progress of learning in a class, EEE’s online evaluation tool can now be used for the formal course evaluation process, when authorized by the Dean or Associate Dean.

“This project has saved the School of Physical Sciences staff many hours,” asserts Cindy Fern, Academic Counselor, Physical Sciences.

One advantage of online course evaluations is that results are available immediately after final grade submission. Dr. Rudi Berkelhamer, Associate Dean, Division of Undergraduate Education used the online evaluation system in her University Studies class. She appreciates not only that the data was available much more quickly than in the previous paper-format, but also in a concise form easily imported into a database program for analysis.

Online evaluations conserve resources and reduce expenses. “This project has saved the School of Physical Sciences staff many hours,” asserts Cindy Fern, Academic Counselor, Physical Sciences. “Each of our departments had staff members who spent anywhere from 10 to 40 hours per quarter managing the paper process. With the on-line forms, the time spent each quarter has dropped to about one hour or less for each of the five staff members involved in the process.”

The online form also allows students more time to fill out the form, and in many cases they are more responsive. Bob Cassidy, School of Engineering observed: “This quarter we had 5,600 evaluations completed, so that’s almost twice the volume of what we did on paper.”

Dr. Robert Doedens, Chemistry Professor and Associate Dean, Physical Sciences recognizes that “the proportion of students providing free form comments is larger, the comments tend to be longer, and their overall quality is notably higher.” Dr. Doedens believes that “these changes are largely a result of the absence of time constraints during the completion of the evaluations.”

As of spring, 2005, 21 departments have migrated to the online tool. These include all departments in the schools of Engineering, Biological Sciences, Social Ecology, and Physical Sciences. The EEE Web development team works directly with faculty and staff to ensure that all evaluation needs are met. To find out more about EEE’s new department evaluations process, contact eee@uci.edu.

Web Hosting and Development

There are many ways for departments and researchers to create and maintain Web sites at UCI. NACS has one solution which affordably meets a variety of potential needs.

NACS offers a Linux-based service which provides the Apache server, MySQL for simple databases, and programming in Perl, PHP, and Python. Subscribers are given 1 GB of storage space and shell access to the web server via SSH to setup content for their Web site. NACS provides server maintenance, system administration, file system backups, and web server configuration.

NACS also offers the standard Microsoft web suite of IIS and ASP on a Windows Server.

If you want help creating content, NACS can work with you to design and develop your site, or to enhance an existing site. An initial consultation will be needed to define the scope of the work and to provide a estimate of the time required to complete the project.

If you have a server and want a 24-hour supervised, secure, climate controlled environment in which to house it, NACS can host web servers in ourAcademic Data Center.

Additional services will be offered either as a standard hourly rate or a flat monthly charge depending on the nature of the services being requested. Seehttp://www.nacs.uci.edu/support/webhost.html for more information.

These services can be combined or provided independently of each other. Please contact us to discuss your specific needs or any questions you may have.

Class Websites in 60 Seconds

In just one minute, Faculty can build a class Website — without having to learn HTML or other special Web design tools — by using EZE3. This popular fill-in-the-form tool now has extra features, and is as easy as ever to use.

How easy? Login to EEE, click the WebSiteManager icon in the toolbox on your personalized “MyEEE” page, select a class, and click the “New EZE3” link. There are options for choosing a color scheme, password-protecting your Website, and rearranging content in the order most useful to your students. A push of the Upload button can link a syllabus, lecture notes, study aids, assignments, or additional publisher-prepared Web materials. Students can then obtain these materials online to view, download and/or print. A link to the class Website appears automatically on enrolled students’ MyEEE pages.

Editing the site is also simple and straightforward. Return to your “MyEEE” page, click on “Manage” next to the Website URL, and then click on “Edit Page.” The materials stay in EEE and are accessible until you decide to remove them.

With 1,337 class Websites available this spring, UCI instructors are becoming webmasters in their own right. “I really appreciate the convenience of this tool”, notes Professor Jennifer Terry of Women’s Studies. “Lugging around 600 syllabus papers to the lecture hall is no longer necessary, and we can count on it 24/7 when we need to distribute materials ASAP”. Terry emphasizes the necessity of social interaction within the brick-and-mortar walls of the classroom, while complementing the physical classroom with EEE’s communication tools like EZE3.

Building a class Website with this no-nonsense, fill-in-the-blank method is a popular way to quickly and efficiently get a class Website up and running. Use of EZE3 is growing rapidly: over 30% of the Spring quarter class Websites were created using EZE3.

To see an example of an EZE3 page, visit http://eee.uci.edu/help/eze3/example/

Mailing List for Palm Users

A discussion list for users of PalmOS-based PDAs at UCI has been created. Topics include Palm PDA software, firmware, hardware, and add-ons like carrying cases, cameras, GPS systems, and so on.

If you currently own a Palm PDA or are considering purchasing one, please join us at https://maillists.uci.edu/mailman/listinfo/uci-palm

Mailing lists dedicated to other technologies are available as well. There are lists for the major platforms (Macintosh, Linux, Windows), research software (Mathematica, Matlab, SAS, SPSS), and UCI software services (Oracle Calendar, Webfiles).

A selection of useful lists can be found at: http://www.nacs.uci.edu/org/nacslists.html

You can find the full (very long) list of UCI mailing lists at: https://maillists.uci.edu/mailman/listinfo/

Office XP Training

For the 6th summer in a row, NACS offers Microsoft Office hands-on training workshops designed to help computer users become familiar with, or brush up on the various computer applications commonly used at UCI.

Beginning August 1st, this summer’s line-up includes 4 levels of Access, 3 levels of Excel, 3 levels of Word, and 2 levels of PowerPoint.

Morning or afternoon classes are $79 (departmental recharge required) and will be conducted in various locations around campus including the Humanities, Social Sciences, Engineering, and Physical Sciences areas.

For course objectives and registration, log into the TED system (Training and Employee Development) with your UCInetID and click on the Catalog and Enrollment tab. Then type “Microsoft Office” in the keyword box.