JMU Leads the Way with Flexible Course Evaluations

Posted on: June 10, 2021

A global audience learned about JMU’s innovations in customizing course evaluations thanks to a virtual talk by Donna Davis, JMU Libraries’ Course Evaluation Administrator, in May 2021.

Donna’s creative customization of course evaluations caught the attention of Blue, JMU’s course evaluation platform. Blue invited her to host a webinar, alongside a colleague from Tufts University, to showcase her work with faculty in the JMU School of Theatre and Dance and the JMU Kinesiology department.

The project started when four instructors of JMU’s keystone theatre course shared a vision with her for making online evaluations as flexible as paper evaluations. According to Donna, what she built for them offers several benefits: “Instructors still have control over the evaluation; they can release it when they want within a desired time window. Plus, they have the ability to add other questions to find out about students’ feelings. The students tend to be more open online than they are on paper, providing richer feedback. And student anonymity is protected.”

For the kinesiology course, which was a combined lab and lecture, Donna configured “triggers” within Blue to streamline the process. Donna’s work simplified what could have been a complex online process, with multiple instructors for two different types of classroom experiences in one course.

Donna wants JMU departments to know “they don’t have to stay in the ‘Blue box’ – they can adapt the tool to their own needs,” a lesson that the worldwide community of Blue administrators learned by attending Donna’s online talk.

Want to work with Donna on configuring Blue course evaluations for your department’s needs? Contact Donna Davis at or 540-568-7697.

At JMU, Blue is integrated into Canvas and MyMadison as “Course Evaluation Task” for students, faculty and staff.

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