Centennial College, a large community college in Toronto, Canada, serves more than 12,000 full-time students, provides post-secondary diploma, certificate and degree programs with a strong vocational focus. Centennial College uses Class Climate from Scantron in its pursuit of maintaining and improving the quality of classroom instruction and the student learning experience.
The Centennial College School of Community and Health Studies has a long history of using course evaluations to allow students the opportunity to provide feedback to their instructors. However, they lacked an end-to-end solution for conducting these surveys. The school encountered too many barriers—affecting both instructors and support personnel—with the system they had in place.
“The major obstacle we faced in implementing course evaluations was the ability to take completed questionnaires and perform the necessary data extraction and summarization,” states Alan Hare, Manager of School Operations, School of Community and Health Studies. “As such, we were unable to obtain useful objective information from the mountain of raw data contained in the questionnaires.”
The School of Community and Health Studies is spread across three campuses. This presented a challenge when it came to administering, collecting and processing evaluations. It also made communicating consistent prompts and instructions to all participating instructors difficult.
Further, the school’s instructor participation rates were low. Instructors viewed the process as complicated and thought it would require too much of their time. Other barriers hampered support personnel’s ability to process, produce and distribute reports. Instructors who were not able to receive timely feedback would choose not to participate in the process.
Enter Class Climate, Scantron’s automated course evaluation and survey solution, with automated reports and evaluation management.
“Class Climate provides a consistent, standardized tool for students to provide the feedback necessary for obtaining reliable and valid data for research, accreditation and program review processes.”
Dr. Sandra Murphy, Dean, School of Community and Health Studies, Centennial College
Centennial implemented Class Climate on their networked college web server, with scanning devices located in each school office. Each office’s staff produces questionnaires, and batch reports are emailed on a daily basis to instructors.
Existing support staff can easily manage the entire survey system as part of their normal workload, without any additional resources. Each semester’s course information is set up via a data import, and access to the system is fully controlled, ensuring privacy. Program review and accreditation processes are wholly supported.
“Program accreditation reviewers love the summary information that is provided,” states Ellen Bull, Chair, Interprofessional Education and Allied Health. “It gives overviews of student feedback with privacy and confidentiality built into the reports.”
Over the course of one year, from Winter 2008 through Winter 2009, Centennial College saw its average program response rate increase from 50% to 65%. The increase in participation rates is expected to continue as the process gains support through positive word of mouth within the academic instructor group.
“What encourages us is the steadily increasing uptake, within our school, of Class Climate as a significant tool supporting reflective practice and improving individual teacher performance,” says Hare. “We are able to turn data into information.”
Instructors across all campuses receive comprehensive reports of each survey directly to their email. “Class Climate provides a quick and easy way for teachers to get concrete feedback for reflection and professional development plans,” says Bull. “Teachers who have been teaching for a long time are given information that may be new to them because Class Climate asked questions in a clearer, more organized format.”
Says Dr. Sandra Murphy, Dean, School of Community and Health Studies, “Class Climate allows faculty to receive the feedback they need for performance review and professional development, so that they may develop their teaching expertise.”
Centennial College has enjoyed such success with Class Climate as a full-service course evaluation solution that they are looking to expand its usage to conduct online surveys for distance learning courses and as a survey tool for applied research projects.
Scantron is proud to help Centennial College transform their course evaluation and survey process by providing a reliable, flexible one-stop-shop for campus surveys and evaluations.