Asee peer logo

Where is Everybody? Participation in Online Student Evaluation of Instruction Surveys

Download Paper |


2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

June 29, 2016





Conference Session

Notable Topics in Civil Engineering Education

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Camilla M. Saviz P.E. University of the Pacific

visit author page

Camilla Saviz is Professor and Chair of Civil Engineering at the University of the Pacific. She received B.S. and M.S. degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Clarkson University, an M.B.A. from the New York Institute of Technology, and a Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of California, Davis. She joined the University of the Pacific in 1999 and is a registered Professional Engineer in California.

visit author page


Luke S. Lee P.E. University of the Pacific

visit author page

Luke Lee is Associate Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of the Pacific, where he teaches courses in structural mechanics and structural design and conducts research in infrastructure renewal, structural health monitoring, and durability of composite materials.

visit author page


Gary M. Litton University of the Pacific

visit author page

Gary Litton is a professor in the Civil Engineering Department at the University of the Pacific where he teaches courses and conducts research in environmental engineering. Dr. Litton has over 30 years of water quality experience with specialization in water quality investigations. The first six years of his career were spent with the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board, where he worked on water rights and quality projects in the Lake Tahoe Basin. As a researcher and professional engineer he has been responsible for water quality monitoring and modeling investigations, water quality planning, pollution impact studies, and subsurface remediation efforts. Recently, Dr. Litton was a principal investigator of two studies focused on understanding the algae-induced depletion of dissolved oxygen in the San Joaquin River Delta. Current research includes evaluating wetland ponds for methylmercury removal in the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area.

visit author page

Download Paper |


Where is Everybody? Participation in Online Student Evaluation of Instruction Surveys

Abstract End-of-semester student evaluation of instruction (SEI) (or student evaluation of teaching (SET)) survey instruments are commonly used by many universities. SEI results provide direct feedback about an instructor’s classroom performance, teaching methods, organization and preparation, and effectiveness of interaction with students, among other measures. Faculty can use this feedback as part of an overall strategy to improve teaching and student learning outcomes. At many universities, SEI scores and comments are included as part of hiring decisions, in annual reviews, as a basis for merit pay decisions, and in evaluation decisions for tenure, promotion, and reappointment.

In Fall 2013, an online SEI process was adopted at University of the Pacific to reduce administrative workload and to preserve student anonymity. However, in the School of Engineering and Computer Science participation rates in the SEIs were seen to drop from a range of 85% to 95% with paper-based forms, to 60% or lower when the School transitioned to online SEIs. Although individual faculty members in other academic units have used ad hoc strategies to provide incentives for participation, no institutional strategies are in place to promote participation. Review of the literature suggested similar issues were experienced at other universities where online SEI instruments were introduced.

SEI participation data were examined for all courses taught in the School of Engineering and Computer Science in Fall 2014, Spring, 2015, and Fall 2015. A preliminary study of the effectiveness of ‘interventions’ in the forms of providing in-class time to complete the evaluations or providing modest bonus point opportunities demonstrated increases in SEI response rate ranging from 10% to 50% compared to response rates for the same course in prior years. An overall 93% SEI response rate was observed in Civil Engineering courses in which interventions were used, compared to 69% for the ‘control’ courses – all other Civil Engineering courses in which no interventions were used. In addition, analysis of SEI participation data for the three semester-period indicated higher participation rates by female students and by students with higher grade point averages.

Saviz, C. M., & Lee, L. S., & Litton, G. M. (2016, June), Where is Everybody? Participation in Online Student Evaluation of Instruction Surveys Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.27199

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2016 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015