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Student Evaluation of Teaching (SET) Overview

American University has partnered with eXplorance, Inc. to provide an online survey tool called Blue® for its Student Evaluation of Teaching (SET).

Blue distributes the evaluations, collects responses and provides reports. Blue operates on calendar-based triggers to send email notifications to faculty and students to complete their SET tasks. Instructors can expect these notifications 30 days prior to their section ending.

With the introduction of Blue, instructors are now able to oversee and manage their survey settings, while students benefit from a more flexible and accessible response collection system.

Issues with Blue, or the SET system as a whole, should be directed to the Office of the University Registrar at:

For detailed instructions on entering personalized questions or changing the default dates the survey is available, please read the SET Instructions.

Timing and Response Rates

  • Evaluation settings are managed in Blue through Subject View Management (SVM) tasks. SVM allows instructors to change the date the survey is available to students, as well as view response rates.
  • The duration of the section (in calendar days) determines the default start and end dates for the survey. Standard evaluations are available for approximately one week.
  • By default, most surveys will close on the last section meeting date prior to final exam week.
  • Surveys must close prior to final grades being submitted.

Adding Questions

  • Instructors can add personalized questions BEFORE the survey goes live to students using Question Personalization (QP) tasks.
  • You cannot add additional questions after the survey goes live.
  • See the Bank of Items for a list of statements that can be added during Question Personalization.

Administering Surveys

  • We strongly recommend instructors allow students to respond to the SET during class time. Instructors who used class time had the highest response rates in the pilot.
  • Instructors should inform students in advance that time will be allotted during class, and students should be encouraged to bring laptops, tablets, or other Internet-enabled devices.
  • Instructors must leave the room while students are responding to the surveys.
  • Students will receive automated e-mails with direct links to their surveys; active surveys can also be accessed from the Blackboard homepage, or directly in the Blue portal,
  • Students can complete the SET on any web-enabled device (including phones), but should consider the need to leave narrative comments, which not all devices accommodate for equally well.
  • Students are able to save and close without submitting the survey. So long as they have not submitted, they can go back in and edit.
  • Students will continue to receive reminder e-mails about un-submitted surveys until the survey closes.

Your feedback helps us improve the quality of our courses and instruction. Completing online surveys will take 5-10 minutes and is completely anonymous.

You will receive an email when a survey becomes available for completion which is usually two weeks prior to the last day of classes for the term. After you click the link, you will be asked to enter your username and password. After successfully authenticating, you will be presented with all sections with active surveys. You can also access the list of surveys to complete by selecting the "Student Evaluation of Teaching" module on the Blackboard homepage.

You will receive email reminders for surveys that have not been completed.

SET Survey Distribution Schedule

The default dates for the distribution of SET surveys to students are administered by the Office of the University Registrar. The information it contains is for informational purposes, and does not reflect any subsequent changes to dates that are submitted by individual instructors as part of the SET customization process.

The Default SET Distribution Schedule can be viewed in Microstrategy, one of AU's Reporting and Analytics tools.

All listed sections and faculty members are considered eligible for surveying. A section on this list may end up not being surveyed if its enrollment is below 6 students at the time of surveying. Those entires, accordingly, are marked in red.

Surveys become available at noon on the listed "Blue Start Date", and unavailable at 11:59 PM of the "Blue End Date".

Sections with multiple teaching assignments will have multiple respective line items on this table for the purpose of searchability — students within the section still only receive one survey. Sections not found on this table are considered ineligible for surveying, often due to the section not being assigned a faculty member or being labeled as one of several types of independent studies. 

Additional Resources