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Another post about evaluations

Here's a question for all of you who are students ...

In my college, course evaluations are done via WebCampus/Blackboard. The site is set up per class through an admin assistant, so the instructor never has access to it. After we turn in final grades, we get a print out with our scores and any comments (so the nice thing for students is we have no way of telling who wrote anything since there's no handwriting). The downside is, since they're not done in class any longer, my student participation rates in evals has dropped dramatically. And if we get less than 25% of our students responding, we can't report our scores on our own annual evaluation, which makes it difficult to justify my self-evaluation of my teaching.

I have been told the solution is simple - provide extra credit points to students who complete the evals. I am supposed to have the admin assistant provide me with a list of who completed the eval after the evaluation period closes, after finals, before I do final grades, and add in extra points. I have been told this is fine, that's what other profs do and it has bumped up their participation rates. I think it sounds really coercive. When we did traditional evals, the admin assistants came into the classroom to hand out and collect the paper evals and we had to leave the room, so we would not know who had completed one and people could choose not to participate. With the whole extra credit scheme, that not knowing is gone.


I'm torn. I need my students to participate because I need the scores (plus right now, I think only people with an axe to grind complete them), but I really don't like the idea of intimidating them into completing it. How would you guys feel about knowing your prof got a list of people who completed evals (not linking what was said to names, just who completed one)?

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