Supporting Your Feedback Response Rates
Just as with the paper version of the questionnaire, instructors should continue to provide 15 minutes in class during the feedback period for students to complete their questionnaires.
The most effective strategy for encouraging students to log in to Your Feedback and complete their questionnaires is instructor encouragement and interest. Letting students know how your teaching and courses have changed due to previous questionnaire feedback while also providing clear instructions and in class time to complete their questionnaires all greatly support increased response rates.
Here are some specific instructor strategies that you can draw on to increase Your Feedback response rates:
- Let students know that their feedback really does make a difference to you. Tell them how positive feedback has affected your teaching, and give them examples of changes you have made to teaching and course design based on past student questionnaire feedback. Share with them how ratings data is used for course, program, and regular faculty review procedures in your faculty.
- Reassure students that you and other faculty members are unable to track their individual responses. The Your Feedback system protects them from instructor and administrator tracking at all points of the feedback processes. You can download this example of a Your Feedback instructor response rate screen shot to share with your students.
- Follow your class response rates and give your students periodic updates and encouragement to continue responding. You can do this in class or by email. Just be sure to remind students that you only see the overall class response rate, not who has or has not individually completed their questionnaire.
- Show your students this short video about how the Student Questionnaire on Courses and Teaching impacts courses and instruction at Western.
- Download and play the Your Feedback Information PowerPoint as students are coming into class. The PowerPoint will play continuously as soon as it is put in "View" or "Slide Show" mode.
- If you use OWL or social media, post Your Feedback reminder graphics throughout the questionnaire period. You can find them on the Resources page.
- Include Your Feedback open and closing dates in your syllabus, course calendar, and/or OWL site.
- Select a date near the end of the evaluation period and add "Follow the link in your email or log in to feedback.uwo.ca and complete your Questionnaire on Courses and Teaching" as an optional, ungraded homework assignment on your syllabus, course calendar, and/or OWL calendar. If you are unsure how to add assignments to OWL, first add the Assignments tool to your OWL site (go to Edit Tools ) and then visit this site for more information on creating an assignment
- Ask student leaders, Chairs, and/or Deans to visit your class to talk to students about the importance and process of completing Your Feedback questionnaires. Follow up their visit with a discussion of why you believe questionnaire feedback is important and how it has been used in your own teaching and courses.
- Prepare students to fill out the questionnaire by sharing the questions with them, discussing what it is they are intended to evaluate, and the criteria for evaluation within your discipline, (e.g., why certain forms of assessment are more appropriate than others, how ideas can be connected throughout a course).
- Spend 10 minutes helping students learn how to give effective written feedback, or share this infographic with your students during your class, over OWL, or through social media. You can also use this Your Feedback Effective Comments PowerPoint and accompanying script to discuss writing effective feedback with your students.
- If students know that feedback matters to you throughout the course, they are more likely to fill out the end-of-course Your Feedback questionnaire. Asking students to give you informal mid-term feedback on the course and teaching then talking about their ideas with them shows that you value their feedback.
- Engage in a friendly response rate competition with other sections or courses in your department/faculty. Keep your students updated or have them post updates on social media using a hashtag.
- Provide an incentive for the class to reach a set response rate target. For example, you might drop the lowest quiz mark for the entire class if the overall class response rate reaches 95%.
Want to Know More?
Bennett, L., & Chenicheri, S. N. (2010). A recipe for effective participation rates for web-based surveys. Assessment and Evaluation & Higher Education, 35(4), 357-375.
Berk, R. A. (2012). Top 20 strategies to increase the online response rates of student rating scales. International Journal of Technology in Teaching and Learning, 8(2), 98-107,
Nulty, D. D., (2008). The adequacy of response rates to online and paper surveys: What can be done? Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 33(3), 301-314.
Schneider, C. J. (2014). Tips to boost response rates for online evaluations. University Affairs. Available at
Svinicki, M. D. (2001). Encouraging your students to give feedback. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, 87, 17-24.
University of Saskatchewan, Institutional Planning and Assessment. (n.d.). Online course evaluations and response rates. Available at