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Unit and Teaching Evaluation Instrument (UTEI)

The Unit Teaching and Evaluation Instrument (UTEI) is a centrally administered survey which seeks student feedback on their units and teaching.  The data generated is used in improving the design of units and informs teaching practice. ECU's policy is to survey all units and their teaching staff every time the unit is offered. Results are made available to the individual lecturer and tutor, as well as the unit and course coordinators, and school and faculty heads.

Academic staff can access UTEI Reports via the ECU Portal through UTEI Report Dissemination.

Survey Administration

There are 3 ways of administering the UTEI surveys to students:

  • Online Central;
  • Online by School; or
  • Paper-based conducted by the School but special permission must be obtained from PVC, Teaching and Learning.

Online Central

This is the default mechanism for Semester 1, Semester 2 and Summer School.  This online approach covers the vast majority of ECU’s unit offerings. For unit offerings that are flagged as Online Central, Survey Services manages the campaign. This includes: organising UTEI promotion; sending out invitation emails to the students enrolled in the unit and sending follow-up/reminder emails to non-responders.

Online by School

This is the alternative online approach when Online Central is not suitable due to either inappropriate timing or the service is not being offered. For unit offerings that are using the Online by School approach, it is the responsibility of the school to manage the campaign.

Online by School requires start and end dates to be set in Course Unit Offering System (CUOS) along with the usual details regarding teachers and questionnaire types. These dates trigger the opening and closing of the UTEI survey accessed by students in the Student Portal.

In order for Online by School to work, schools must ensure students are directed to the portal. Typically, this requires an email going to all students in the unit(s) involved, along with several follow-ups. Here are two suggested templates:

  • Email Invitation
  • Email Reminder/Thank you

An alternative/complimentary approach is to have students spend 10-15 minutes of class time completing these UTEIs in a computer lab at the end of the unit.

For assistance or queries on the Online by School approach, please contact Dede Manuel (Ext 2076), or Hamed Salih (Ext 2049).

Paper by School

This is when neither online approach is suitable and the only method is paper. This is by EXCEPTION only and does require the approval of the PVC, Teaching and Learning. The Head of School must provide grounds for using paper UTEI forms instead of an online approach.

If you have obtained permission to use paper-based UTEIs you will need to contact Survey Services for a copy of the form and the relevant instructions.

UTEI Rationale

An instrument such as the UTEI has two principle purposes. The first is diagnostic, enabling staff to identify the strengths and areas of improvement in the unit and their teaching. The second is that of monitoring units and their teaching over time.

The Unit and Teaching Evaluation Instrument (UTEI) is a standardised three-part questionnaire, (i.e. no choice of items) that provides for:

  • unit evaluation of each unit, and within the unit,
  • lecturer evaluation of each lecturer, and
  • tutor evaluation of each tutor

For more information download the UTEI Instrument.

Thus the UTEI separates the teaching of each unit into two generic components:

  • lecturing - organising the content and providing class instruction (e.g. making clear the standard of the work expected, making the content interesting and engaging etc.);
  • tutoring - conducts classes (e.g. encouraging and supporting student learning, making clear what students are expected to do and learn etc.) but also assesses student work providing feedback and guidance.

Each staff member teaching a unit is evaluated either as a lecturer only, a tutor only, or both a lecturer and a tutor.

The UTEI unit items, lecturer items and tutor items each comprise a set of positively worded core items that use the standard five-point Likert agreement scale:

  • NA - not applicable
  • SD - strongly disagree
  • D - disagree
  • N - neither agree nor disagree
  • A - agree
  • SA - strongly agree

In addition, students are asked two open-ended questions inviting written feedback.

By providing student feedback data on individual units and teachers, the UTEI is an important quality tool enabling University staff to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of the teaching and learning across the University.

UTEI Policy

It is University UTEI policy that the UTEI be administered across the entire unit each time the unit is conducted. Thus the UTEI is to be administered in each teaching period, evaluating each unit and each staff member teaching it, irrespective of when the unit is offered, how the unit is taught or where the unit is taught. Policy also specifies that the purpose of student evaluations of units and teaching is to review the effectiveness of the environment for teaching and learning in the University.

UTEI Administration Standards

Variability in how the UTEI is administered can affect the quality of the data collected. The validity and reliability of the data are improved when procedures for collecting the data are standardised and meet the following administration standards.

For more information download the Administrative Standards document.

UTEI Reports

The UTEI system generates unit, lecturer and tutor reports at each of the reporting levels, individual, School and University. Thus there are:

  • Individual Evaluation Reports - for the staff teaching the unit;
  • School Evaluation Reports - for the Head of School; and
  • University Evaluation Reports - for senior University staff and the University community.

Access to UTEI Reports

Recent University UTEI unit, lecturer and tutor reports, are made available publicly. Teaching staff can access their UTEI reports via the ECU Web Portal. UTEI reports available depends on the staff member's teaching role. As a lecturer/tutor, each staff member has access to the three public University reports, their own individual:

  • Unit Evaluation Reports for the campus (or campuses) taught;
  • Lecturer Evaluation Reports; and
  • Tutor Evaluation Reports.

Unit Coordinators and Course Coordinators have access to all individual UTEI reports, unit, lecturer and tutor, in their respective areas of responsibility. Heads of School, listed as School Coordinators in the online UTEI system, have access to the five School UTEI reports.

School administrative staff (or 'UTEI Officers') play an important role in ensuring that the access to UTEI reports is appropriately managed via the Course and Unit Offerings System (CUOS). This is especially so for managing Course Coordinator access or proxies which cannot be derived from other systems such as the Course Management System (CMS).

Using UTEI Data

The UTEI data is used in different ways by ECU staff at different levels of responsibility. Individual academic staff need to use UTEI data to:

  • to identify strengths and areas of improvement in their units and teaching, in order to make improvements;
  • to report to the Head of School as part of Management for Performance; and
  • for probation, contract renewal and promotional purposes.

When reading an individual UTEI unit lecturer or tutor report, first compare each individual scale value at the bottom of the report with the corresponding value for the unit, School and Faculty. This comparison locates each scale evaluation as above or below that for the unit, School and Faculty. For more detail on each scale, scan the numeric data for the core items corresponding to the scale at the top of the report. High mean and the percentage agreement item and scale scores identify strengths, low mean and the percentage agreement item and scale scores identify areas of improvement and hence the opportunities for improvement.

Relate the numeric information in the UTEI report to the qualitative information. Qualitative information, in the responses of students to the open-ended questions, also contains information useful for diagnosing strengths and areas of improvement in the unit or its teaching.

Use this qualitative information to validate the information in the UTEI report and to provide quotes that can be used in a report to give understanding.

The Academic Promotion Policy specifies that applicants must provide:

  • Evaluations of a unit for which the applicant was the Unit Coordinator and the applicant as a lecturer and/or tutor for at least three (3) unit offerings, in accordance with Academic Board expected standard.
  • Evidence of critical reflection identifying strengths, areas of improvement and changes, in on-going development and improvement of teaching and learning.

This requires staff to use the UTEI data, identifying strengths, areas of improvement and changes, in an on-going improvement cycle.

Unit and Course Coordinators, Heads of Schools and Executive Deans of Faculties need to monitor and evaluate the quality of teaching and learning within their respective areas of responsibility. These staff need to use UTEI data to:

  • demonstrate the process and results of such evaluations to their line managers as part of the Management for Performance  process; and
  • assure the quality of teaching and learning for self-review and academic audit purposes, particularly for Faculty Annual Reviews and Area of Scholarship Reviews.
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