Student Perceptions of Teaching

Student Perceptions of Teaching (SPOT) is the university’s centrally supported method for gathering student feedback on courses and instruction.

The SPOT form is designed for use across all university departments; as such, it focuses on issues with broad pedagogical significance. It is not intended to stand alone in providing evidence regarding teaching effectiveness. Rather, it provides one form of information regarding the quality of courses and instruction.

When making judgments about teaching effectiveness, multiple indicators should be used.  For example, course-specific questionnaires, peer review of teaching materials, peer observation of teaching, and instructor self-assessment are indicators that compliment student feedback for purposes of instructional development or evaluation.

Timing and Email to Students

The online SPOT system is used to collect student feedback at the end of each term. During the Fall and Spring Terms, it opens about 14 days before Reading Day; during Summer Sessions, it opens about 7 days before the last day of class. It will remain open through the end of reading day (or the last day of class in summer). Responses can be edited as long as the system is open.

An email is sent to each student when SPOT opens. They are asked to login and complete a form for each class. Students receive one emailed reminder every three days until they complete the SPOT form for all of their classes or the closing date is reached (this means a student may receive as many as four email reminders over a two-week period).

The Online Form

The SPOT form has 12 standard items. These items were developed by a committee of representatives from the teaching and learning center, the assessment office, and university colleges and departments. In addition, each college may include a limited number of college-specific and/or department-specific items.

Course-specific items are not included. For instructors who want course-specific feedback, we suggest using a paper/pencil survey or online survey tool such as Qualtrics.