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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

Frequently Asked Questions (for students) - Online SIRS

Why am I getting so many email reminders?
We know the system sends out too many emails, and we are working on an update to fix it. The current system sends a separate email for each of your instructors, every time a reminder goes out. We tried a new system that sends one message per student in Spring 2014 but ran into some problems, we hope to have it working again soon.
Can I stop the email reminders?
Yes, but not with one click. The system will stop sending you email reminders when you complete all your surveys. However, each instructor's survey is independent of the others, so they won't completely stop until you submit all the surveys.

If you are not ready to complete your surveys, you may want to filter your email messages. If you are using ScarletMail (or any gmail account), open one of the survey reminders then click the triangle in the upper-right corner and choose "filter messages like these". For other mail systems, you can usually find the filters in the "options" area and manually type in the "from" address of the message.

You can also "opt out" of the surveys for the current semester. By opting out, you permanently waive your right to provide the university with your opinion of the course and instructor, and the university will interpret this as an indication that you are satisfied with the quality of instruction. To opt out of a a survey, go to the survey and click "submit" without answering any questions - this effectively discards your survey response for that course, and cannot be undone. Opt-out is for each survey individually (so you may choose to selectively opt out of the surveys for some courses, but retain your right to comment on other courses). To stop all the emails, you must either opt out or respond to all your surveys.
I didn't get any survey email, how can I participate?
Go to and log in with your NetID, and you'll find all your surveys. If you have never used your NetID yet, you need to activate your NetID to set a password. You should also make sure that the email address that the university has on file is correct, you can do that on the "Manage NetID" page (the Official Rutgers Email Address or Display Address is what the system will send your mail to).
Why don't I see surveys for all my courses?
Some courses continue to use the paper surveys in class, others may use the eCollege survey system, and some courses may not have a survey (for instance, independent studies or courses with only one student enrolled). Also, not every survey will run on the same date, so they won't all be listed at the same time. You can view a full list of surveys in the online system, for the current semester, including the dates when they will be available.
Why am I getting surveys for someone who is not my professor or for a course that I'm not taking?
Sometimes we put the wrong professor's name on your survey - but it's definitely the survey for your course. Just let us know on our problem report page, and we'll fix it as quickly as possible. You can go ahead and fill out the survey, and put a note in the comments saying who your professor really is, but you should also let us know so we can fix it before the survey ends.

In other cases, you may have more than one instructor who is teaching different groups of students in the same class - for instance Chem 161 has many recitation instructors who you may or may not work with. You should fill out the surveys for the TAs or instructors who you have, and you can ignore or "opt out" of the other surveys (to opt out, simply submit a blank survey).
Will my professors know that I responded?
No. Your instructor will only know the total number of students who responded, but will never see who chose to participate or not. Please see our privacy policy for full details.
Will the survey affect my grades?
No. Your instructor must submit final grades before the Registrar's deadline. We do not release the survey results until after that date.
My professor wants to see a receipt that shows I completed the survey, how do I get one?
The survey system will never reveal your participation unless you choose to print your own receipt. To print a receipt, go to and make sure your name is showing in the "Users present" box, and that your survey says "completed", then print the page (if your name doesn't show on the printed page, try using a different web browser). You must print all receipts before the survey ends. After the survey ends, it will disappear from the system and and we will not be able to generate a receipt due to the anonymity of the surveys.
I made a mistake filling out my survey, can it be corrected?
You can go back and change your responses up until the survey due date. After the due date, we cannot change your response since the survey is anonymous and we can't tell which response is your in order to correct it. However we do have a process in place where your instructor can request corrections after they get the results, but only if the mistake really stands out (like you gave an excellent teacher awful ratings, or commented on the wrong course). You may want to let your instructor know that you made a mistake so they know to look out for it and request a correction later. But in many cases the error falls within the expected margin of error, and will average out over time.
Why do I need to log in? Does this violate my anonymity?
Log-in information is confidential. It is used only to determine which surveys you can take, and to prevent you from responding more than once to the same survey. All reports generated by CTAAR only include anonymous, aggregate data. See the privacy policy for more information. Instructors will only see anonymous data, and only after final grades have been submitted.
Who reads these?
Most instructors read their own surveys and take the student comments very seriously, particularly if the comments are well thought out, honest, and constructive. Results are also read by department chairs and promotion committees. And many students will look at the SIRS Results before chosing which courses to take.
How are the results used?
University-wide, the survey results are used as part of the faculty promotion and tenure review process, they are also posted at the SIRS Results web site for students to review. While the use of the survey data varies within individual academic units, it is often used as part of a review process for improving the curriculum, implementing changes to teaching strategies, or reappointment review for part-time lecturers and teaching assistants. Many faculty and instructors use the survey data, in particular the comments, to assess and improve their own teaching methods.
Who gets to see the comments?
CTAAR sends the comments directly to the instructors and to the academic departments. The comments are completely anonymous and grouped by question. Comments are not published.





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