ACE Supplement

ACE Supplement Survey on the Transition to Virtual Instruction

At the end of Spring 2020, the university invited all enrolled students to give their feedback on the transition to virtual instruction during the second half of the semester. 

Among the 1700 students who responded, nearly 75% described the support they received for the transition as very good or adequate, while 20% described it as inadequate or extremely inadequate (those remaining indicated “no opinion”).  Students also were invited to respond to the following two open-ended questions:

  1. What was most important for helping you learn in your courses?
  2. As you think back over your experiences since moving to virtual instruction, do you have suggestions for ways you could have been better supported to continue learning in your courses?

The ACE Supplement Survey was devised by the ACE Task Force, sponsored by the Provost's Office, and managed by the Office of Assessment.


A team of reviewers from the Office of Assessment, the Center for Teaching, and University College reviewed responses and identified the following themes in student comments on what was helpful or what would have been more helpful:

  • Direct Interaction with Faculty
  • Clear Expectations, Regularly Communicated
  • Availability and Responsiveness to Students
  • Demonstrated Concern for Students
  • Recognition of Homework and Exam Challenges Faced by Students
  • Preferred Modes of Instruction: Synchronous vs. asynchronous, faculty-directed vs. entirely student self-directed
  • Appreciation of Faculty Effort Under Emergency Conditions
  • Student Perceptions:  Need for More Instructional Support for Faculty 

Read the full ACE Supplement Report

Central Findings

For students, there is no substitute for meaningful engagement with faculty. Students highly value interacting with faculty and knowing that their questions and concerns are being heard. Students greatly appreciate input from faculty to guide their learning and to help them assess how well they have understood the course material.

Good instructional practices for in-person classes are also important in virtual instruction. Faculty efforts to directly engage with students, communicate clear expectations, and respond to student concerns were highly valued by students.

Non-academic challenges faced by students (such as quality of internet access, home conditions, and work schedules) play a significant role in student ability to meet academic responsibilities.

Students understood that conditions were far from ideal during Spring 2020, and they recognized that some challenges were due to the suddenness of the transition. At that time, students were hoping that by Fall, faculty members would be able to invest more time in adapting classes as needed for blended or virtual instruction.

Additional Reports

Instructional Resources

Calvin Hall

For more information, contact the Office of Assessment, which fondly remembers its space in Calvin Hall.