David raised an interesting point in a recent blog post where he wondered about the possible correlation between academic participation in a course and the response rates in end of term student evaluations.
I used the average level of course coordinator ‘views’ of the discussion forums to distinguish between below average and above average instructor participation. With these two groups I compared the number of distinct students submitting feedback against the total number of students in the course.
While there are probably some variables that I have neglected to account for, there appears to be a 4% increase in response rates for courses where the academic participation on the discussion forums was above average. The same trend applied when I used the number of instructor discussion posts and replies as the method of distinguishing between below average and above average instructor participation. I found this result a little surprising. I would have expected a great variation than 4% considering that active participation in discussion forums by the instructor would tend to hint at a greater effort of relationship building. I guess the fact that the 4% variation is across the entire student cohort regardless of campus and the next step would be to look at the response rates of online students only.