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Q Guide Transitions to New Platform

The Q Guide, a feedback system for Faculty of Arts and Sciences classes, is currently being renovated with new features and a new look.
The Q Guide, a feedback system for Faculty of Arts and Sciences classes, is currently being renovated with new features and a new look. By Ryan N. Gajarawala
By Kevin R. Chen and Juliet E. Isselbacher, Crimson Staff Writers

Harvard’s Office for Undergraduate Education has completed a transition to a new version of its course and instructor evaluation platform, known as the Q Guide.

Harvard began the transition to a new evaluation system by undertaking a “discovery phase” during the 2016-2017 academic year, according to College spokesperson Rachael Dane. During this phase, Harvard decided to move to a vendor solution rather than continue with the “home-grown” system it developed for itself in 2004 and 2005.

The Faculty of Arts and Sciences selected the vendor Explorance for the new evaluation system. FAS ran a pilot of 17 courses on the new site in the spring of 2019 and transitioned all courses over to the new evaluation platform in the fall of 2019.

The University’s Office of Institutional Research, which administers course evaluations for FAS, provided the business requirements for the new site, while Harvard University Information Technology handled the technical aspects of developing the site.

All questions that are currently available on the Q Guide will also be available on the new site, for the time being.

In the fall of 2019, Dean of Undergraduate Education Amanda J. Claybaugh wrote in an email to College affiliates that her office would be reviewing the questions asked on the Q Guide.

“We’re eager to hear what you think about these issues,” she wrote in her message.

The new site will not feature information on course affordability, which was removed from the Q Guide after the fall of 2017.

The Committee on Undergraduate Education introduced two new Q Guide questions on the amount of money students spent on course materials in the spring of 2017. The changes came after students criticized Economics professor N. Gregory Mankiw for requiring the purchase of a $132 textbook with a required online access code. The Undergraduate Council subsequently lobbied for transparent information on affordability.

Meanwhile, in October 2019, Harvard Law School student government representatives began working with administrators to change Law School course evaluations to mirror the system employed in FAS’s Q Guide.

— Staff writer Kevin R. Chen can be reached at kevin.chen@thecrimson.com. Follow him on Twitter @kchenx.
—Staff writer Juliet E. Isselbacher can be reached at juliet.isselbacher@thecrimson.com. Follow her on Twitter @julietissel.

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