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Strategies to encourage student participation

There are a number of strategies that you can use to encourage participation in course evaluations.

If you have any questions or suggestions that you would like to share, please mercury [dot] info [at] mcgill [dot] ca (contact us).

New announcements and graphics are available to help you encourage student participation in course evaluations!

University-wide email reminders

Email reminders with a direct link to Mercury are sent on behalf of the Deputy Provost (Student Life and Learning) to all students with course evaluations to complete. Once students complete or decline their course evaluations, they stop receiving these reminders.

  • 6 email reminders for the default course evaluation period
  • 4 email reminders for the condensed course evaluation period
  • 2 or 3 email reminders for courses with custom evaluation periods (the third reminder is sent if the evaluation period is longer than 21 days)
  • 1 email reminder is sent during the evaluation period to instructors

University-wide announcements during default and condensed periods

  • A pop-up window appears when students log in to Minerva
  • Announcements on myCourses
  • Widget on myMcGill Portral
  • Announcements on the McGill App
  • Public Display Boards
  • Computer Labs on Campus
  • McGill's Twitter and Facebook pages
  • Student association Facebook pages
  • Links to Mercury are also accessible from McGill, TLS and Faculty homepages

For Instructors and TAs

Be sure to visit our Teaching for Learning @ McGill Blog for "10 Ways to Encourage Course Evaluation Participation."

Communicating the Value of Course Evaluations

  • One of the biggest incentives for students to complete course evaluations is evidence of their importance to instructors. Instructors should communicate the value of course evaluations both in class and in course outlines. Highlighting changes made to the course based on previous course evaluations results lets students know that their feedback is taken seriously.
  • Let students know if you have granted permission to disseminate your numerical course evaluation results. Students are more likely to complete the evaluations if they know that they and future students will have access to the results at a later date, provided that enough students respond. Instructions to grant or deny permission are available here.
  • When instructors gather and respond to formative feedback received during the semester, students are more likely to recognize the value of course evaluations. Suggestions for mid-course evaluations are available here.

Reminders and announcements to students

  • Instructors can include the evaluation period dates in their course syllabus and on the calendar in myCourses.
  • Instructors can monitor response rates and post a message on myCourses. See a video example of one instructor's experience.
  • Instructors can add the Course Evaluations widget and add a direct link to Course Evaluations in the myCourses Navigation Bar. Instructions are available here.
  • Instructors and departments can send reminders by email.
  • Departments can post a message on their website and/or office bulletin.

Completing Course Evaluations

  • Instructors can ask students to bring their laptops, smartphones, or tablets to class and allow time to complete the evaluations during class. It is most effective to do this at the beginning of the class, or during conferences, tutorials, or labs. Instructors and Teaching Assistants must leave the room during this process.
  • If instructors have access to computer labs, they can reserve a time during the evaluation period for students to go and fill them out. Instructors and Teaching Assistants must leave the room during this process.

For Academic Unit Heads

  • Heads of academic units can communicate the value of course evaluations to all instructors and encourage them to grant permission for students to have access to the numerical portion of course evaluations.
  • Heads of academic units can also communicate directly with students by visits to classes or emails to encourage them to provide feedback through course evaluations. See example from the Dean of Engineering (Fall 2014)
  • Encourage a friendly competition among the instructors in your unit to achieve the highest response rates.

For Student Leaders

As student leaders, you are well-placed to help encourage student participation in course evaluations. Some strategies that you can use include:

  • Making in-class announcements about the importance of course evaluations. This can be particularly effective in large, 100- and 200-level classes.
  • Sending emails from your student association listserv about the importance of course evaluations.
  • Posting reminders on your association's Facebook and Twitter accounts; graphics and sample messages are available below.
  • Encouraging instructors to:
    • allow students time during class, conferences, tutorials, or labs to complete their evaluations;
    • give an incentive to the class (e.g., an additional review session) if the class response rate exceeds an agreed-upon target;
    • promote course evaluations through their myCourses page - instructions are available here;
    • grant permission to disseminate their numerical course evaluation results to the McGill community.
  • Holding a raffle for members of your association who completed their course evauations by the deadline - each person's entry could be a screenshot from Minerva that shows they have completed their evaluations.
  • Changing computer lab banners to Mercury graphics and setting the browser default homepage to the Mercury news announcement.


Some important information that you may wish to inform students about:

  • The system is available 24/7 in Minerva; the evaluation period dates can be found here.
  • Course evaluation results from previous terms are available in Minerva.
  • Students may opt of evaluations for one of more courses by clicking "Decline Course Evaluation"; then they will no longer receive email reminders for that course.
  • Students may choose to answer only those questions they wish—it only takes a few minutes to provide this important feedback.
  • At McGill, course evaluations results are used in hiring, performance evaluations, contract renewal and the tenure process.

Announcements, Memos, and Graphics

Members of the McGill community are strongly encouraged to use multiple tools that are available to them to encourage students to complete their course evaluations. Below are announcements, memos, and graphics in various formats that can be used during the evaluation period to encourage course evaluation participation.

Sample Powerpoint Slide [.ppt] (format 16:10)
Sample Announcement/Email to Students [.txt]

For Instructors [.doc]
For Teaching Assistants [.doc]


Facebook Cover Photo for Pages and Profiles

Download: English (.png)

Download: French (.jpg)

Facebook Cover Photo for Groups

Download: English (.jpg)

Download: French (.jpg)

"I just completed my Course Evaluations!" Graphic

Download: English (.jpg)

Download: French (.png)

"Did you know?" Graphics

Coming soon!