Course/instructor online evaluations

Students and instructors may access course evaluations through the Instructor Evaluation system (Evaluate) web site.

At the end of each term, the University of Waterloo asks its students to evaluate its courses and course instructors. The information collected from these evaluations provide constructive feedback to instructors about their teaching and the course and provides University of Waterloo administrators with a data source to draw from when evaluating instructor performance.

In Spring 2015, the Arts faculty started a volunteer-based pilot program to replace the traditional paper and pencil course evaluation process with an online process. Starting with the Fall 2019 term, all courses in Arts use the online evaluation system.

Students complete evaluations online through the Instructor Evaluation system ( This online means of evaluation allows students to complete their course evaluations on a computer, phone, or tablet - in class, on campus, or at home.

Going paperless allows for improved efficiency when collecting and distributing results and allows instructors to easily view and compare their results over time.

This is being done for several reasons:

  • Functionality: Instructors will have electronic access to their own data including historical information. They will be able to track their own results over time and across different courses.
  • Efficiency: It takes weeks to distribute, collect, enter, and organize thousands of paper evaluations each term. The Instructor Evaluation system allows instructors and students timely access and electronic data will be ready for distribution once instructor grades have been submitted to the Registrar’s Office.
  • Environmental savings: For decades, thousands of paper forms have been used. The online system is paperless.

Procedure for online evaluations through the Instructor Evaluation system

Students have a two week period of time at the end of term to complete their course/instructor evaluations. Although students have the ability to complete their evaluations outside of class, instructors are encouraged to provide class time to complete the online evaluations. Instructors should advise students in advance when class time will be provided to ensure that students have some means to complete the evaluation. Students should also be reminded that evaluations remain anonymous.

What does this mean for instructors?

For courses evaluated during the normal end of term period, each instructor will receive an email a few days prior to the online Instructor Evaluation system going live and will be asked to remind students to prepare for an evaluation by bringing along a device (laptop, tablet, phone, etc.) on a given date. 

The email sent to instructors will include text that instructors should use as they introduce the evaluation. Instructors must inform students that the online evaluation is completely anonymous and the results of the evaluations held confidential and not released to instructors until final grades have been submitted to the Registrar’s Office.

Students should be informed that course evaluations are an important element in measuring teaching performance as well as the overall course.

Let your students know that you value their feedback, that you take the comments seriously and that constructive feedback is helpful to you as you refine your course and teaching.

These scores are used for instructor review and are maintained as a permanent record of an instructor’s teaching performance. Consequently, evaluations must be taken seriously.

Instructors who make these points tend to receive more and better responses from their students. 

Instructors should set aside 10-15 minutes of class time for students to complete the evaluation. Students can complete the online form using their computers, tablets or phones. They will have until the last day of classes to complete the evaluations but it is expected that most of the forms will be completed during the 10 - 15 minutes set aside in class.

Setting aside time in class and frequent reminders to students to fill out the evaluation helps with the overall response rate.

What does this mean for students?

At the appropriate time, students will receive an email providing a link to the Instructor Evaluation system. To gain access to the evaluation(s), students will need to enter their WatIAM userid and password. Students may complete a course specific evaluation only once but can access the forms at any time from during the two week online evaluation process. Students who have not completed all evaluations available for their courses using the online system will receive reminders asking them to do so. The Instructor Evaluation system closes at the end of the last day of classes.

Instructor access to the Instructor Evaluation system

Instructors have access to the results of their evaluation(s) through on the usual schedule, after all the instructors in the Faculty have submitted final grades to the Registrar's Office. Instructors will need their WatIAM credentials to log in. Instructor accounts will include access to student comments for all courses they have taught along with the evaluation results.

Arts is excited to implement this new course/instructor evaluation process. For the first time instructors will be able to track and analyze their historical results over time. The goal is to provide instructors with ongoing and timely feedback from their students. 

Frequently asked questions

Can an additional instructor be added to a course (e.g. a lab instructor) so they can also view the evaluations?

Can I export comments students have provided on the course evaluations?

Can I logon to the Instructor Evaluation system from home?

When can students complete course evaluations?

Can an additional instructor be added to a course (e.g. a lab instructor) so they can also view the evaluations?

In the case of sections taught by multiple instructors, if the Registrar's data lists all instructors then evaluations may be set up to allow students to score each instructor and their associated segment of the course separately. Currently, only the instructor being evaluated is able to view the evaluations for a given course. Online department reports for Chairs may be available in a future release.

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Can I export comments students have provided on the course evaluations?

A function has been developed to let instructors export all comments, as well as comments pertaining to a specific questions. There will be two buttons at the bottom of the course evaluation web page to allow you to access this function. 

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Can I log in to the Instructor Evaluation system from home?

Yes, you are able to log in to Evaluate from home. If you are experiencing difficulty, try using a web browser other than Internet Explorer and ensure that you are using the latest version of your web browser. 

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When can students complete course evaluations?

Students are normally able to access their online course evaluations during the last two weeks of the term. Unlike the paper evaluations, students are able to complete their course evaluations within and outside of class time, on their computers, phones, or tablets. However, course instructors are still encouraged to set aside 10-15 minutes in class for students to complete the evaluation.

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