IDEA Course Evaluations

In the spring semester of 2012-13, GC teaching faculty approved a transition from the college’s existing course evaluation system to the Student Ratings of Instruction system for course evaluations administered by Campus Labs. The resources below provide an introduction to IDEA and links to follow for further information.


GC began full use of IDEA administered by Campus Labs in the fall semester of 2013-14, according to this pattern:

  • The IDEA short form will, by default, be administered in all courses [see additional info on this page to learn about the IDEA forms and see examples]
  • Faculty members should select one course per semester (two courses per year including May term) to administer IDEA’s longer diagnostic form
  • Faculty members, in consultation with department chairs and the Dean’s Office, may elect to administer the diagnostic form in additional courses; however, it is strongly recommended that the diagnostic form not be used in all courses
  • Administration of IDEA will be coordinated by Bob Toews, in the Assessment & IR office

IDEA Highlights

  • Underlying Premise – Student feedback on instruction can provide info to a teacher that allows him/her to improve the quality of his/her instruction.
  • Good instruction should be recognized by its effect on students. But, effect (learning) depends on subject matter and/or purpose, the level, and the intentions of the instructor.
  • Thus, the basic notion of IDEA is that the effectiveness of teaching should be assessed by determining the amount of progress students make on objectives stressed by the instructor.

The Basic IDEA Model

  1. Ask teachers what they are stressing in their instruction (via the 12 student learning objectives), and ask about the details of their instructional context.
  2. Ask students how much they have progressed on the objectives the instructor stressed. Also ask questions of students that allow control for motivation and other sources of variation in student progress that are not under the instructor’s influence.
  3. Ask students about teaching methods in the course in order to identify pedagogical strategies that are associated with effectiveness (student progress on the instructor’s objectives). Results on the extent to which effective pedagogies are or are not used in the class provide insights into possible avenues for strengthening instruction.

The online form allows the addition of up to 20 custom/local questions, which can be either multiple-choice or open-ended. Students are invited to complete the evaluation via email, with regular reminders going to those students who have not completed the evaluation.

Resources for Teaching Faculty

See our Faculty Guide page for much more information.

For More on IDEA