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Online and Paper Evaluations of Courses: A Literature Review and Case Study

Educational Research and Evaluation Volume 19, Number 7, ISSN 1380-3611


This paper reviews the literature on comparing online and paper course evaluations in higher education and provides a case study of a very large randomised trial on the topic. It presents a mixed but generally optimistic picture of online course evaluations with respect to response rates, what they indicate, and how to increase them. The paper presents a case study of 1 university and finds that means for paper course evaluations tend to be higher than for online evaluations, that the standard deviations of online evaluations are typically larger than for paper evaluations, that online evaluations take longer to complete than their paper counterparts, that students prefer online evaluations, and that factor analysis shows similar and different numbers of factors for the 2 types of evaluation, even with the same instrument and the same population. Caution is advocated in assuming that the same online and paper evaluations yield similar results.


Morrison, K. (2013). Online and Paper Evaluations of Courses: A Literature Review and Case Study. Educational Research and Evaluation, 19(7), 585-604. Retrieved December 6, 2020 from .

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