Course Experience Survey (CES)

The Course Experience Survey (CES) is an online tool that allows the University of Victoria to hear about the student learning experience. By compiling the information submitted in the CES, the university is able to gather feedback and comments on courses and instructors to help improve the student experience. If you would like to learn more about the CES from an instructor's perspective, please visit the faculty & instructor CES resources page.

Why is it important for me to complete these online surveys?

Your feedback is vital to the instructor for making adjustments to teaching and course design; to the department for assuring the quality of instruction and for assessing the instructor with respect to contract renewal or tenure and promotion; and to the university administration for strategic planning with regard to meeting its commitment to high quality teaching across the campus.

How will I access the online surveys?

Links to your CES surveys will be emailed to you. See the "Accessing the survey" tab for more details.

Can I do some of the survey and save it part way through and go back?

Yes, as long as the CES is open the online system will allow you to do some of the survey, save it and go back to it later or complete it and make adjustments later.

How long do I have to complete each survey question?

If you spend 15 minutes or longer on any one question, the survey will time out. If it does time out it will only save the bulleted responses you made and not the typed responses you did in the survey.

What is the best way to complete the typed responses in the survey?

You can write your responses in a Word (or equivalent) document and then copy and paste your answer into the survey. This is a good idea to do in case the system happens to time out on you after 15 minutes.

How long will the survey be available for me to complete?

The survey invitation is emailed out in the last 1/6th of the course. During the Fall and Winter terms you will have until 11:59 PM on the last day of classes to complete the survey. During the Summer term you will have until 11:59 PM on the day before the last day of classes to complete the survey unless your instructor has made plans for an adjustment.

Are my responses confidential?

Yes. Instructors receive only summary reports with the written statements and only after grades have been submitted. The summary reports do not include any identifying student information. Even in small classes there will no longer be hand written comments. In this sense students can have great confidence their answers are confidential since their handwriting can no longer be recognized.

From a purely technical perspective, the CES system does maintain a linkage within the survey database, which enables automatic inclusion/exclusion of responses based on course enrolment. But because we do not have any people handling individual student surveys, the survey results are effectively anonymous. That is, no instructors, deans, chairs or departmental academic staff has the ability to access individual student surveys. A small number of system administrators do theoretically have the ability to access individual student surveys. However this is strictly forbidden, just as it is forbidden for them to view any confidential information they are entrusted with. Employees in these roles are entrusted with a wide variety of highly confidential information such as personnel records. These employees sign a confidentiality agreement with the university before being hired.

How will I know how to access these online surveys?

Links to your CES surveys will be emailed to you. In most courses, your instructor will show you in class how to access the CES on your laptop, tablet, or smart phone and will leave the class temporarily to give you the opportunity to complete the survey online during class time. In some courses you may be directed to complete the surveys outside of class. If you are in an online class the CES link will also be delivered to you by email.

What will the email look like?

Sample of CES Online Student Email

What email address will the survey be sent to?

The email will be sent to your preferred email. Please ensure that your preferred email address in MyPage is accurate.

How can I ensure that I receive email invitations to complete my course experience surveys?

First, make sure that your preferred email address in MyPage is an address you are actively monitoring.

Next, check your “safe senders list" to ensure that the CES email address in your email system isn't being flagged as spam.
Add “” to your Gmail contacts
Add “” to your Hotmail Safe Senders
Add “” to your Yahoo contacts

How do I access the CES if I didn't receive an email?

If you have not received an email you can go directly to your online CES dashboard. Once you sign in with your UVic Netlink ID you will be direct to your open evaluations.

What if I am not in class when the CES is being conducted?

You can log in to your CES dashboard during the time your survey is open to you and complete all the surveys that are available for you to complete. Every course is available for a certain time period (usually the last 1/6th of the course).

The Course Experience Survey (CES) online form provides a space where you can provide feedback to your instructor that is constructive, respectful and effective.

Sometimes your instructor will give you specific questions he/she would like you to address (e.g. if he/she has tried something new and would like your perspective on how well it worked).

If there is nothing specific they need your help with, try asking yourself (and answering) the following questions:

  • What did my instructor do that really helped me learn in this course? (He/she needs to know this so as to continue helping students in the future.)
  • Was there anything that my instructor did/did not do that could have helped me learn more effectively?
  • What specific suggestions do I have that would help my instructor improve his/her teaching and/or the design of this course for future students?

When you provide feedback always:

  • Give a clear example from the course to illustrate your point (e.g. refer to a particular lecture, topic or assignment).
  • Phrase your feedback in a positive way (e.g. “In the lecture on ground water pollutants I think I would have learned more if you had written down the key points on the board or stated the learning outcomes for the class ahead of time”).

Suggested CES Statement for an Instructor’s Syllabus/Course Outline

Developed by the CES Faculty Advisory Committee, August 2014

Course Experience Survey (CES)

I value your feedback on this course. Towards the end of term you will have the opportunity to complete a confidential course experience survey (CES) regarding your learning experience. The survey is vital to providing feedback to me regarding the course and my teaching, as well as to help the department improve the overall program for students in the future. When it is time for you to complete the survey, you will receive an email inviting you to do so. If you do not receive an email invitation, you can go directly to your CES dashboard. You will need to use your UVic NetLink ID to access the survey, which can be done on your laptop, tablet or mobile device. I will remind you nearer the time but please be thinking about this important activity, especially the following three questions, during the course.

  1. What strengths did your instructor demonstrate that helped you learn in this course?
  2. Please provide specific suggestions as to how the instructor could have helped you learn more effectively.
  3. Please provide specific suggestions as to how this course could be improved.