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Case Studies

UIC Course Evaluation Questionnaire (CEQ) System

Evaluating courses and instructors at the University of Illinois at Chicago used to be a frustrating pencil-and-paper affair. The manual process was inefficient, time-consuming, and anachronistic to the increasingly digital educational environment at UIC. Students held lingering suspicions that the paper-based Course Evaluation Questionnaire (CEQ) was not truly anonymous. Faculty complained of incomplete or unhelpful evaluation responses, as they were often completed by students in a hurry after the final exam. Budget-conscious college administrators regarded the tri-annual process as a costly but necessary expense.

CADE responded to these misgivings by developing the Online Course Evaluation System — a process that is fairer, more convenient, more accurate, and more efficient for everybody involved.

Towards the end of each semester, graduates and undergraduates in the College of Nursing, School of Public Health and College of Pharmacy receive an initial e-mail that explains the online CEQ system and links them to a secure web site where they can complete their evaluations at their own convenience. The students log in to this online evaluation through a security system, but their results are stored and reported in aggregate format. The students’ identities remain anonymous to instructors and administrators, but the system invisibly traces individual participation.

Students are given a window of time (usually two to three weeks) to submit their responses, and may freely log out and back in to finish partially completed evaluations. Automatic e-mail reminders are sent on a regular schedule until all remaining students have submitted their responses or the evaluation period has ended. College administrators can create their own evaluations and surveys and deploy them on a timetable of their choice through an easy-to-use drop-down interface. Administrators can adjust the regularity of the student e-mail reminders and set the evaluation period start and end dates. Training and support for the system are provided by CADE staff.

Reports are generated for each course and instructor, presenting the frequencies of responses and mean scores for quantitative assessments in tabular and graphical form. Faculty and administration can produce these reports and incorporate them into reviews and planning for the next semester. Accuracy hasimproved dramatically, while administrative resource requirements have been reduced immensely.

“The Online CEQ system has streamlined the evaluation process for the School of Public Health,” says Lindsey Bruso of the Distance Learning Office. “We are able to assess our courses and programs and enjoy having control over the content and scheduling of evaluations.”

Overall, the online CEQ process has proven invaluable to faculty, college administrators and students alike. The CEQ system is a perfect example of an online solution, driven by an existing need, resulting in a superior process.


  • Data management over multiple years
  • Graphical data comparisons across courses, faculty, divisions
  • Convenient college and student administration
  • College control of evaluation content and scheduling
  • Clear, timely reporting
  • Easy to use interface
  • Secure data
  • Automated e-mail reminder

For more information about CADE's data management services for research projects, contact