General Guidelines

1. Which courses are surveyed in the University?

All courses at UNB are surveyed through the online SOS system except for the following:

•   Courses with less than 4 enrolled students (after the final drop date has passed)
•   OALP courses
•   Report and thesis courses (course numbers 4996, 4997, 6995, 6996, 6997, 6998, 6999, etc.)
•   Courses defined by each academic unit as approved by the Dean (Generally Non-credit, Credit extension, Coop, Lab Only, Practicums, Seminars, Internship, Clinical etc.)

2. What are the seven (7) University-Wide Core Rating Questions?
  1. PREPARATION: The instructor was well-prepared to deliver the course
  2. CLARITY OF PRESENTATION: The instructor presented the course content clearly
  3. STIMULATION: The instructor stimulated my interest in the course content
  4. APPROACHABILITY: The instructor was approachable
  5. AVAILABILITY: The instructor provided opportunities for me to seek assistance
  6. FEEDBACK FOR STUDENT WORK: The instructor provided feedback that helped me learn
  7. GLOBAL (OVERALL): The instructor is an effective teacher
3. Is the paper-based survey still conducted?

As of the Summer term of 2020, the Senates Teaching Excellence and Policy (TEP) Committee approved the pilot of the new online survey throughout the university and eliminated the paper-based survey.

This decision was in line with the Senate approved motion in March 2017 to transition the paper-based and optional online survey to a fully online system

4. How are the results of the Student Opinion Surveys used?

The results of the Student Surveys are used in several important ways:

  1.   The results provide instructors with valuable information about their own courses. The surveys provide feedback to instructors about students’ perception about what they are doing well and what they might improve;
  2.   Student survey results are examined whenever an instructor is formally assessed for promotion and tenure. They are also used to help assess Contract Academic Employees;
  3.   The results of the student surveys are also used when provided by the instructor to help identify excellent teachers whose skills or accomplishment warrant further recognition by the institution either by informal commendation or through formal teaching awards
5. What is the online SOS?

The Student Opinion Survey, or the SOS, is UNB’s online end-of-course evaluation system.  It is powered by the BLUE software and is designed to manage the instructor/course survey data at UNB. 

6. How secure is the online survey system?

BLUE software’s confidentiality settings ensure the anonymity of the respondents while preserving administrative access to key information and data necessary for reporting. Any student identifiers are removed and deleted (to eliminate any form of tracking) before placing survey information into the instructor’s file. The data collected from the online surveys will be stored in a secured server. Only the course instructors of record, their supervisors (Chairs and Deans) and administrators (VP Academic, VP SJ, and AVPA-LE) will have access to the results of the online surveys. Only the instructors will have access to the open-ended question responses.

Instructors

1. When can the students fill in the survey forms?

The default Student Opinion Survey (SOS) period is during the last 3 weeks of classes unless the instructor selects a dedicated day within the 3-week period for the survey.

2. When is the Instructor Question Personalization (QP) Period?

For standard Fall, Winter and Full Summer term courses, the Instructor QP Period is a 2-week period which opens 5 weeks before the last day of classes.

3. Can I add more than 6 Instructor-Chosen questions in the Questionnaire?

NO. As per the Senate approved SOS Framework, instructors can only add 6 questions selected from a pre-determined Instructor Question Bank.

4. Can I change my selected Instructor-chosen questions after I submitted the form?

YES. Instructors can change and update their question selections as long as the Instructor Question Personalization (QP) period for the course is still open.

5. Do I have to enter the instructor-chosen questions separately for each course that I am teaching?

NO. You can copy your question selection from a course to the other courses you are teaching.

6. I missed to customize the SOS Day for my course and the default survey period was applied. Can I still change the survey period for my course?

NO. Unfortunately, once the period to customize the SOS Day is over, and the survey period is open, you can no longer modify the survey schedule for your course.  

7. What is the Response Rate Dashboard?

The Response Rate Dashboard is a tool that provides information to monitor the ongoing surveys and analyze the level of response. It provides response analytics such as task status (invited, completed, in progress, etc.), response progression (no. of responses per days), and response count peak hours and peak days, etc.

8. How can I access the Response Rate Dashboard?

To access the Response Rate Dashboard, follow the instructions below:
1.   Click the Response Rate Dashboard link in the Track your response rate email.
2.   Select Instructors from the Select User Group field.
3.   If you are already logged in your my unb account, the dashboard should open automatically.
4.   If you are not logged in, type in your unb credentials (username@unb.ca and your unb password).

9. Why were full year courses included in the Fall semester evaluation?

•   If a full year course has a different instructor for the Fall term and Winter term, both instructors must be evaluated. The course should get evaluated in the Fall and in the Winter for each instructor.

•   If a full year course has only one instructor for both the Fall and Winter terms, the course should not be evaluated in the Fall term and only on the Winter term.
The SOS Coordinators must review this information during the Data Verification Process period.

10. When will the results of the SOS be available to the instructors?

Results of the online SOS will only be released to the instructor after final grades have been submitted, verified, and released to the students. Instructors can access the reports through the link in the software automated email.

For those courses with outstanding grades due to deferred exams, etc., all results will be released 2 weeks after the end of the exam period.

11. How can I access the final SOS Reports?

Instructors can access their final individual SOS Reports in three (3) ways:

A. Through a link in the automated report availability email

  • Instructors will receive an automated email with a link once the final SOS reports for the term become available. Reports can be accessed by clicking on the link.

B. Through a widget in D2L Brightspace under MyCourses

  • The Student Opinion Survey (SOS) Reports widget is available in D2L Brightspace under any one course in My Courses. When the SOS reports for the term become available, the link for the individual reports will be displayed under the widget. Access to the reports can be made here.

C. Through the Blue Software

  • Instructors may log-in the Blue software at https://unb.bluera.com/unb using their UNB credentials. UNB credentials will not be asked if already logged in the UNB system. The list of available SOS Reports under the new online SOS system can be found here.

SOS Coordinators

1.  What/who is the SOS Coordinator?

SOS Coordinators are individuals designated by each academic unit (department and the faculty for non-departmentalized faculty) who are responsible for the data verification of the SOS data (course and instructor information) in the SOS system as provided by Colleague. They also act as the mediator between the SOS Administrator, Registrar’s Office, and their academic unit. 

The list of SOS Coordinators can be found on the SOS Webpage.

2. What is the Data Verification Process (DVP)?

A process wherein each SOS Coordinator verifies and updates the information (i.e. course name, course title, assigned instructor, etc.) of the courses under their academic unit for a given term prior to the students being invited to participate in the surveys. It is also in this process where courses that are not to be surveyed are excluded from the survey.

The course data is imported from the Colleague system so if there are incorrect course information, the SOS Coordinator must correct the information in Colleague. 

3. When is the Data Verification Process (DVP) period?

For standard Fall, Winter and Full Summer term courses, the DVP is a 2-week period which opens 7 weeks before the last day of classes.

4. Who decides which courses are evaluated at a given academic unit?

All courses at UNB are surveyed through the online SOS system. Some courses are permanently excluded from the survey due to their nature. These include:

•   Courses with less than 4 enrolled students (after the final drop date has passed)
•   OALP courses
•   Report and thesis courses (course numbers 4996, 4997, 6995, 6996, 6997, 6998, 6999, etc.)
•   There are also courses that are excluded from the survey which are defined by the Department or Faculty as approved by the Dean. These include: Non-credit, Credit extension, Coop, Lab Only, Practicums, Seminars, Internship, Clinical courses etc.

During the DVP period, the SOS Coordinators must confirm with their Department Chairs or Deans whether a certain course is to be excluded from the survey.

5. What is the Data Integrity Gateway (DIG)?

DIG is a tool/interface in the Blue software where the DVP process is completed. It enables the SOS Coordinator to perform the tasks related to the SOS data preparation such as excluding courses from the survey, cross-listing/merging courses or sections for survey purposes, and publishing courses.

6. Should I publish the course in DIG if it’s set to Evaluate NO?

All courses that are included in the DIG process must be published. This includes courses that are set to Evaluate NO. Publishing the course will indicate that the review and verification is done, and the course is ready for the survey or ready to be excluded from the survey.

7. There appears to be a course in my DIG review list that is not under our academic unit (department/faculty). What should I do with this course?

This will only happen if the course is cross listed with a course in your academic unit (Department or Faculty). For survey purposes, you need to cross-list this course with the course in your academic unit.

Students

1. How do I access the survey?

Students can access the survey in two ways:

A. Through a survey link in the survey invitation email

• At the start of the survey period, students will receive an automated email notification that the survey period is open. This email contains a link to the survey. Email reminders will be sent throughout the survey period. The email is from UNB Student Opinion Survey Administrator.

B. Through a pop-up window in D2L Brightspace

• When the survey period is open, there will be a pop-up window when students log in to D2L Brightspace. Access to the survey can be made here.

C. Through a widget in D2L Brightspace Homepage

The Student Feedback widget is available in the D2L Brightspace Homepage. When the survey period for a course is open, link to the SOS will be displayed under the widget. Access to the survey can be made here.

2. What are the survey period dates?

For standard Fall, Winter and Full Summer term courses, the default survey period is during the last three (3) weeks of classes and ending at 11:59PM on the last day of classes. An instructor may opt to select a day for the survey (12MN to 11:59PM) within the default three-week period.

You may consult with your instructor to determine if the survey period for your course will use the default or 1-day survey period.

For summer session courses and courses with non-standard start and/or end dates, please refer to Section 6. Timing and Duration of the SOS Administration Guidelines for the survey period dates.

3. I missed the survey invitation email – will I still be able to complete the survey for my course?

Yes, you can still complete the survey as long as the survey period for the course is still open.

•   If you have not deleted the survey invitation email, search for the email from UNB Student Opinion Survey (SOS) Administrator <surveys@studentfeedback.unb.ca>. You can access the survey by clicking on the link in the email.

•   The SOS system will send up to 3 reminder emails throughout the survey period until you have completed the survey. You can use one of these reminder emails to access the survey.

4. Can I redo a survey if I make a mistake and evaluate the wrong course or instructor?

If you have not submitted the form yet, you can change your answers and submit the survey. You can use the link in the email to access the survey form or link in the D2L pop-up window.

If you have already submitted the form, unfortunately, you cannot redo your survey. Please make sure that you are evaluating the correct instructor/course before submitting the survey form.

5. Why did I not receive an invitation email to survey my instructor/course?

There are some conditions which may result in you not receiving an invitation email to survey your instructor/course. These include:

• Some courses do not get surveyed (e.g. practicum, co-op, directed study, clinical, internship, seminar, etc.). Consult your instructor to ask if their class is being surveyed.
• The course has less than 4 enrolled students.
• You are using the wrong email. The survey link will only be sent to your UNB email account. You can also check your spam or deleted emails in your UNB account.
• You may not be registered for the course. Check your registration status.

6. Why are some of my courses missing from my survey list?

Some courses will not follow the default survey period (last 3-weeks of classes) and may only have a 1-day dedicated SOS day as selected by the instructor. In this case, the course will not appear in the survey list until the day of its survey schedule. You will receive an invitation email when the course has reached its SOS schedule.

7. Can surveys be submitted after the deadline?

Unfortunately, surveys cannot be submitted after the survey period is over.