Welcome to the Student Course Perceptions Project

In 2014, the University of Waterloo's Associate Vice-President, Academic made a commitment to update the mechanism the university uses to capture feedback from students about the quality of their learning experience. The resulting surveys fulfil a number of important functions at Waterloo, including:

  • Collecting formative and summative data to help improve the design and delivery of courses and the student learning experience;
  • Providing students with an avenue to voice their learning experiences.

In conjunction with other sources of information, they also provide useful information that can be used for matters of merit, including reappointment, tenure, and promotion (see UWaterloo policy 77).

The resulting Waterloo Student Course Perceptions survey instrument is: 

  • Informed by the key institutional teaching and learning priorities at UW;
  • Designed to measure key aspects of student learning identified in the literature;
  • Designed to measure course features that are observable by students;
  • Designed to measure various course formats and/or delivery methods.
  1. Oct. 29, 2020Launch of new student course perceptions survey postponed

    Given the complexity of the current teaching environment, Deans Council and the Faculty Relations Committee have agreed that the launch of the new Waterloo Student Course Perceptions (WSCP) instrument should be delayed until the majority of instructors are back to teaching courses in person, on campus.

    The WSCP team is pleased with this decision. The response to our recent update was one of overwhelming support, along with some concern about the proposed plan to launch the new student course perception instrument in this academic year.

    As an institution, we are facing unprecedented circumstances that could not have been anticipated and that are continually changing, forcing us to adapt as necessary. We understand that teaching courses remotely poses new difficulties and challenges institutionally, for students and instructors alike.

    One of the advantages of delaying the launch of the new instrument is that the WSCP team will have more time to connect with the campus community as it continues its work, including the following: 

    • Development of a second tier of questions focused on Faculty-specific concerns. We have already begun this consultation process, and the work will continue over the coming months with the aim of completing this process by the time we are ready to launch, so that the second-tier questions can be pilot tested
    • Development of user guides for instructors and administrators, including Chairs and those on tenure and promotion committees
    • Development of educational materials for students  
    • Consultations with various interest groups on campus
    • Comparative analysis between old metrics and the 2018 pilot test
    • Continued collaboration with the Complementary Teaching Assessment Project Team (CTAPT) as part of the University’s project to develop methods that ensure that teaching effectiveness at Waterloo is understood and assessed holistically 

    Questions and concerns can be directed to Sonya Buffone, Project Manager and Senior Research Associate: sonya.buffone@uwaterloo.ca

  2. Sep. 29, 2020New Waterloo Student Course Perceptions Survey

    An update from Dr. Sonya Buffone, WSCP Project Manager and Research Specialist.

    We are pleased to announce that Senate has endorsed the Deans’ decision to begin implementing the new Waterloo Student Course Perceptions (WSCP) survey to replace the existing “course evaluation” surveys in winter 2021.

    Student input is an essential component of any university’s continuous improvement efforts, both in terms of providing formative feedback to instructors and in terms of providing summative feedback that contributes to decisions related to performance reviews, tenure, and promotion. The new SCP survey was designed to improve upon an assortment of Faculty-specific course evaluation tools that have been in use at Waterloo for decades.

    The WSCP team recognizes that the SCP process puts instructors in a vulnerable position, particularly if the data collection tool is not carefully designed and monitored, and if interpretations of the resulting data are not informed by mindful consideration of variables that can be problematic. The new WSCP and related user guides are being designed with an eye to monitoring both instrument design and the way results are interpreted. This update aims to share with the campus community our progress to date and our plans for continued monitoring and development of the new survey.

  3. Aug. 4, 2020Recommendations from UW Senate (May 2020)

    In January 2020, Deans council and the Provost approved a series of recommendations proposed by the Course Evaluation Project Team (CEPT). In May 2020, University of Waterloo Senate passed the motion to move forward with implementation of the new Student Course Perceptions instrument in 2021. The following is a summary of key recommendations (see detailed recommendations).

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