Faculty Resources

IDEA’s Student Ratings of Instruction are designed to provide feedback you can use — formative feedback that gives you suggestions for improvement — as well as summative feedback that can be used as a component of a more comprehensive system of faculty evaluation.

On this page:

The IDEA Instruments

Two IDEA instruments are available to St. Thomas faculty for end of course evaluations, as well as a formative assessment tool to gather immediate student responses after each class or unit; weekly, or whenever desired.

The Diagnostic Feedback instrument is the default instrument used at St. Thomas for end of course evaluations. This is a comprehensive tool that provides both summative and formative feedback about student progress on relevant course objectives, instructor teaching methods, and overall impressions of the instructor and course.

The Learning Essentials instrument provides summative feedback about average student progress on relevant learning objectives and overall impressions of the instructor and course.

The Instant Feedback formative assessment instrument gathers immediate student responses after each class or unit; weekly, or whenever desired.

What are the questions on the instruments?

Sample versions of each instrument can be found by clicking the links below. With all instruments except Instant Feedback, it is possible to add custom questions (see additional information below).

IDEA General Guidelines

An important note: It is highly recommended that you visit your IDEA “dashboard” regularly. Most, if not all, information that you need about your courses can be found when you log in to your “dashboard,” so it is typically the most reliable place to get correct, current information.

How St. Thomas information is used to set up IDEA course surveys:

  • Each term, a master document is sent to your unit/department IDEA Coordinator after the 10th day of the term, and that person is asked to review all information especially the following:
    • Course start & end dates
    • Which form, long or short, should be used (the long form is the default if this is not specified)
    • Cross listed courses and courses that should not be evaluated

You should communicate with your IDEA coordinator about the above items for your courses so that the correct information is entered into the master document. Your chair can let you know who your IDEA coordinator is if you are not sure.

  • Data from Banner about courses is imported into IDEA, powered by Campus Labs.
  • The St. Thomas IDEA Administrator then uses the master document and the data from Banner to create Administrations, or “survey groups”.
    • Survey groups are groups of courses that share the same end date and form choice
  • Once a course is added to a survey group, the OSF (Objective Selection Form) is available to be filled out by the instructor. An email will be sent out to instructors once this happens.
  • Surveys typically are open for 10 business days the week before finals. If a term does not have a set finals week, the survey will be open 10 business days prior to last day of the class.
  • If an OSF is not completed before the survey closes, then all selections for relevant course objectives will default to “Important.”

Email Communication:

Typically, all emails are set to send at 6am CST

To faculty:

  1. OSF Available: Faculty will receive an email once their courses have been added to an Administration and the OSF is available to be filled out. This is generally a week or two after the 10th day of the term.
  2. Survey opening in 1 week:
    • For the Fall and Spring terms, faculty will receive an email to alert them that their course surveys are opening in one week.
    • For JTerm & Summer, faculty may not receive this email due to timing constraints but we will do our best to send this communication.
  3. Survey open: An email will be sent the morning when the survey opens
  4. Survey closing: An email will be sent the morning of the day when the survey closes which is normally at 11:59 p.m.
    • This is the last opportunity to complete your OSF
  5. Reminder to do OSF: An email will go out to all faculty who have not completed their OSF a day prior to the close of their survey.
  6. Faculty reports available: An email will be sent when faculty reports are available, which is typically three business days after grades are due.

To Students:

  1. Survey is open: Sent the morning the survey opens
  2. Reminder to do survey: Sent normally 5 business days into survey window
  3. Survey closing: Reminder that one or more of your surveys are closing that day


  1. Faculty Reports available: A manual email will be sent from the IDEA Administrator the day or day prior to when faculty reports are available to view.

Selecting Learning Objectives on the Objectives Selection Form (OSF)

The selection of Learning Objectives is an essential part of the IDEA Student Ratings of Instruction System.  The Objectives Selection Form (formerly the FIF) is completed for the Diagnostic Feedback and Learning Essentials instruments to provide information about learning objectives that are emphasized in the course.

When you go to complete your OSF, you will see that all the possible learning objectives are set (by default) as (M) Minor. The IDEA Center recommends selecting 3 to 5 objectives as Essential and/or Important.

If you forget to select your objectives, you will receive an email reminding you to log into the Campus Labs Faculty Dashboard to select your learning objectives for the course(s) you are teaching that semester. If you fail to complete your OSF by the end of the evaluation period, all thirteen learning objectives will default to Important.

Faculty should become familiar with the changes to the learning objectives. The 13 Learning Objectives document is a crosswalk of the previous IDEA learning objectives and the new (as of 2016) learning objectives on the Diagnostic Feedback and Learning Essentials instruments.

How to Select Learning Objectives on the OSF

1. To access the OSF and complete the process of selecting your learning objectives, please log in to the Campus Labs Faculty Dashboard at https://stthomas.campuslabs.com/faculty/

Adding Custom Questions

Individual faculty are able to add custom questions to specific courses as needed on all instruments except Instant Feedback. For example, you may want to collect student feedback about a particular resource used in the class. Custom questions must be added before the administration period of the survey begins.

Preparing Your Students

Research and best practice consistently show the single greatest influence on increasing participation in student ratings surveys is for faculty to express and demonstrate how the results are important and used in making meaningful change. The next most influential factor is to set aside time in class to complete the surveys, regardless of delivery modality. Emulate the “captive audience” nature of in-class paper ratings by asking students to login and complete your IDEA survey during class. Students can use their mobile phones, laptops, or desktop computers in a lab.

If you plan to provide class time for students to complete the IDEA evaluations for your course, you may wish to inform your students of the date on which you plan to do so before they receive a message from Institutional Effectiveness directing them to the survey.  You may also want to remind them to bring an appropriate electronic device (laptop or smart phone) to class in order to complete their evaluations for your course.

Response Rates

Response rates for online surveys are a legitimate concern, and there are a number of ways that faculty can improve response rates for online course evaluations. 

What Students See

How students access their evaluation(s)

How many questions will appear on the screen/mobile phone before students have to click on next?

  • 19 for the Diagnostic Feedback
  • 13 for the Learning Essentials

Your Reports

Faculty members have access to the following reports:

  • Quantitative and Qualitative Results - Results are provided in easy-to-read formats separating the quantitative results from the qualitative results.  Faculty access their reports online through their Faculty Dashboard.
  • Segment Comparison - The segment comparison report allows faculty to compare themselves to other courses in their program, department, college/school, or institution. Each question that has a calculated mean will be listed with the statistics available for the course and then the option to add a segment on for comparison purposes.

For additional information on how to print reports and use the comparison tools see IDEA Reports.

How to Access Your Reports

Reports will be available three days after final grades are due to the registrar (final grade due dates are listed on UST's academic calendar).

To access your course evaluation results, please log in to the Faculty Dashboard at https://stthomas.campuslabs.com/faculty/ using your St. Thomas username and password.

Interpreting IDEA Reports

This guide will help faculty interpret the IDEA Diagnostic Report. This report can be accessed by faculty when they log into the Faculty Dashboard and select the View Reports button. Please review the PDF below for more information on how to interpret the IDEA report.

How to Print/Save Your Report

Faculty have a print option available in the individual course reports screen. This can be found in the top right corner of the page for an individual course report. The print option includes: quantitative and qualitative results together in one view and include the summative/formative tabs.

  1. Log into your CampusLabs (IDEA) dashboard
  2. Choose course you would like to view/print
  3. The print option is found in the top right corner.

Faculty and administrators have a print option available in the individual course reports screen. The print icon can be found in the top right corner of the page for an individual course report.

It is possible that your reports have not been released by your site administrator yet or your class did not meet the minimum threshold. 

What are thresholds and how does a threshold impact viewing a report?

If 3 or less students are enrolled in a course, then the results will only display IF 100% response rate is achieved (i.e., if there are a total of 2 students enrolled, both must respond; if there are a total of 3 students enrolled, all three must respond).

Once enrollment is 4 or higher, the threshold stays at at least 3 responses before that faculty can view the report. In other words, if there are 4 students enrolled and 1 responds, no report will be generated for that course. If there are 10 students and 1 responds, no report. There must ALWAYS be 3 responses in order to view a report if the threshold is enabled.