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Center for Teaching Advancement and Assessment Research

Center for Teaching Advancement and Assessment Research

116 College Avenue
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
Phone: (848) 932-7466
Fax: (732) 932-1845

SIRS Procedures


  • Prior to semester start (ongoing): Departments enter the “Instructor of Record,” including TAs and co-lecturers, into the Course Scheduling System. All information entered into CSS will form the basis for the online surveys. Please refer to the Scheduling department for your campus for CSS availability dates and procedures.
  • February 2021: For online surveys — CTAAR sends list of course surveys (based on CSS) to departments for review and corrections. The Excel sheets are only for reference - administrators must verify course and instructor information online in Blue (using the “SIRS Preparation” task)
  • Please note - for surveys that should run earlier in the semester (e.g., 7-week courses) please contact us at least two weeks before the survey should begin to request an online survey or a paper survey packet.
Online Surveys (Blue)
  • February 8, 2021: Department administrators may access Blue/DIG to make any changes to the surveys that previously would have been entered into the spreadsheet (for example, alternate survey dates, alternate questions, or additional instructors who were not included in CSS). In many cases, departments may not need to make any changes, but should still review the surveys in Blue to be sure everything is in order, and “publish” their surveys (to confirm the survey details). Information and instructions for admins using Blue to verify course information are available here.
  • For departments using Midcourse Surveys (optional)
    • February 25, 2021: Deadline to check course and instructor information and publish in Blue (“Data Preparation” task), only for courses for which midcourse surveys are desired, or first-7-week courses.
    • March 1 - 5: Faculty can add questions to the midcourse surveys (as applicable)
    • March 6 - 12: midcourse surveys will run for those courses indicated and published from DIG
    • March 14: Results for midcourse surveys will be distributed directly to faculty and department admininstrators
  • April 1: Deadline for departments check course and instructor information, and publish surveys (in Blue, “SIRS Preparation” task). For courses that end early in the semester, departments must publish the survey in Blue at least two weeks prior to the the end of the course.
  • April 10 - 19: (may vary, approximately 12 days before survey starts) CTAAR informs faculty and instructors of their individual survey details. Faculty may optionally add questions to SIRS or adjust their own survey dates.
  • April 20: Surveys begin (unless otherwise indicated)
  • April 20 through end of survey: Students who have not responded will receive email reminders (exact dates vary)
  • May 6 : Surveys end (unless otherwise indicated). Note that this is the first day of exams, if you want your survey to end earlier please adjust the dates in Blue.
  • May 14 - approximate last day to submit grades to the registrar (refer to the registrar’s schedule for exact dates)
  • May 17, 2021: SIRS results distributed through Blue to most faculty, instructors, and department administrators.
  • May 24, 2021: RBS School 22 SIRS results available (delay to accommodate varied course schedule).
  • June 2021: Law Schools 23 and 24 SIRS results available (delay to accommodate varied course schedule).

General Information

Lecture and recitation or lab courses: The Student Instructional Rating Form is designed so that one survey will be used for each instructor. Therefore, the lecturer in a lecture class with recitation periods should have a survey in the lecture hall, and separate survey packets will be prepared for each recitation section, so that the recitation instructors can distribute surveys to the students in each of their own sections. 

If one instructor teaches both the lecture and the lab or recitation meetings and would like to collect feedback from the students in each meeting separately, a manual change must be made to “split” the surveys to explicitly target the respective meetings. Please contact CTAAR for assistance.

CTAAR will set up online surveys or distribute survey packets in this fashion unless the department requests a different procedure. Please let us know by the deadline if you would like to follow a different procedure in your department. 

Team-taught courses: If a course is taught by a team of faculty members, we will include each member of the team in the survey. Please notify CTAAR if you if you want to run the surveys as each lecturer completes their component of the course (staggered dates).

Note that there is an organizational change in how Blue works for courses with multiple instructors. One survey will be created for the course. Blue will repeat most questions once for each instructor, while certain “course-wide” questions will only be asked once (shared by all intstructors). On paper (and previously in Sakai online surveys), each instructor has their own distinct survey.

Crosslisted courses may have a single, combined survey or separate surveys for each section, depending on the preference of the instructor. If the instructor does not inform us of his or her preference, we will generally combine sections according to the following guidelines:
- Undergraduate sections will be combined with other crosslisted undergraduate sections
- Graduate sections will be combined with other crosslisted graduate sections
- Undergraduate and graduate sections will generally remain separate, unless enrollment in one of the crosslisted sections is less than 6 students.

Summary data: CTAAR will calculate department and level averages for paper and online surveys separately, to allow for possible differences introduced by the survey format.

Follow-up procedures: When we receive all of the completed student rating forms for a department, we compile and return the results to the department after the university grading period closes. We do not interpret the student responses. Any instructors who feel that their survey has scanner or student errors should communicate this to his or her department chair. The department chair should inform us of any surveys that should be re-scanned or re-processed

Online Surveys

Email Notifications: CTAAR will send each instructor an email notification approximately one or two weeks before the start of their survey. If you would like to alter the survey dates or add questions, use the link in the email to edit your survey in Blue.

Status Updates: Instructors may log in to Blue to monitor the progress of their survey on the Response Rate Dashboard.

Completing online surveys during class time: Students may complete the survey using their mobile phone or any computing device. We recommend giving out the link during a mid-class break; this can bring response rates up to the same levels as a paper survey (which would by necessity be distributed in class). For convenience, instructors may project a QR Code for Blue in the classroom, students can use the camera in their phones to quickly scan the code instead of typing the survey link.

General Instructions for Completing the Student Instructional Rating Forms: Students can go to to complete all their course surveys. Please remind your students that:

  • The name of the instructor appears on each question of the survey. Students should double-check to make sure they are responding to the correct instructor before completing the survey.
  • Response fields for each question read from left to right, with the lowest scored response to the far left and the highest scored response to the far right - these are clearly labeled (see the sample online SIRS form). Students should make sure they mark the response they intend.
  • In cases where we mistakenly put the name of the wrong instructor on a course survey, students can notify us by email through a link on the survey itself. We will correct the name on the form as soon as possible, and send all responses to the correct instructor.
  • More Information:




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