Be your own detective: Taking the time to investigate online evaluation tools will pay off—literally.

2-22-2016 9-28-56 AM



“Data! Data! Data!” he cried impatiently. “I can’t make bricks without clay.”

~Sherlock Holmes (courtesy of



You’re on a mission to research and purchase an evaluation tool for your institution, and you’re desperate to find something fast and without hassle. With a budget and must-haves in hand, you go in search of the best tool to fit your needs.

Here are some key questions that are being asked today from top educational institutions looking to ensure that they measure twice but only cut once:

Does it integrate with your current LMS?

Ensuring LMS integration will take the pain out of administering your student population and ensure that smooth user experience for each student.  These are important facets to ensuring great adoption of the evaluations.

Is it ADA compliant?

It’s important to get feedback from all students, and if they can’t access their evaluations, they and you are getting cheated. Be sure the solution you choose is compliant and meets industry standards.

Can administrators, faculty and students access surveys and reports using their smart device?

Today’s comfort level and daily behavior is all around mobile devices – phones and tablets.  Providing valuable insight onto the palms of their hands will yield a more relaxed user experience.

What’s included (or not included) in the price?

A simple search on the internet will yield a variety of such evaluation instruments, and you may be tempted to choose the first one on the page. It has all the bells and whistles, the price seems fair, and implementation looks painless. Before you jump into the deep end, however, take the time to learn what’s really included in the cost so you’re not unpleasantly surprised a few months into your contract. Sometimes features like allowing students to see results or exporting your data from the system come at an additional fee.

How and who will help me through implementation, on-boarding, and maintenance?

When considering a solution and cost, get to know the team behind the product.  Do they seem knowledgeable about evaluation trends and how they might affect your institution? Whether you’re using the tool for promotion and tenure, experiential learning, or for simple campus services surveys, be sure support is on board with your needs and can address them with intelligent action and planning. It’s also critical to ask about a training plan and the type of support your team can expect. Will someone visit your campus for training, or is everything done online? Can you speak to a person when you need some extra help, is it billable, and what kind of help documentation is available?–All pertinent and fair questions to ask.

There are plenty of solutions out there, but make sure you play the role of detective first. Gather your data, take the time to compare features and pricing, and then pat yourself on the back as you build a campus community that’s engaged with evaluations–all while using a solution that compliments your budget, not breaks it.