Guidelines for Departmental Administration of Forward FOCUS

Guidelines for Departmental Administration of Forward FOCUS

Spring 2024

For spring 2024 semester, departments and programs will have the option to choose Forward FOCUS as their departmental course evaluation. Please note the survey instrument a department elects will apply to all instructors (including graduate teaching associates and assistants) in a department. Faculty administering it must share the results with their department. Individual instructors cannot opt to use an alternative evaluation; however individual instructors in departments using SRTI may also administer Forward FOCUS to assist in course redesign.

Department heads/directors will receive email notification from the Office of Academic Planning and Assessment on asking them to confirm whether they would like to use Forward FOCUS or SRTI as their departmental course evaluation in September.

See additional information on our our FAQ page and the main Forward FOCUS page.

For further questions about departmental course evaluations and SRTI, please contact ASER (formerly OAPA) at


Key Considerations for use of Forward FOCUS for departmental course evaluations

  • The Forward FOCUS is not centrally administered nor does the CTL have direct access to student responses. 
  • Departments decide and communicate to all instructors, including graduate teaching associates and assistants, timelines for implementation of the Forward FOCUS and how results are to be sent to departments.
  • Faculty using Canvas as their course learning management system must use the Google Forms version of Forward FOCUS.
  • Faculty must use the Forward FOCUS without modifying or deleting questions; however, departments can decide to add specific questions to all instructors' surveys. Departments must coordinate this process. In addition, questions can be added to the SRTI from Forward FOCUS or other surveys. Email for information.
  • Instructors must take action to make the survey available to students and collect responses. 


Directions for faculty using Forward FOCUS

The Forward FOCUS is available in Moodle or Blackboard, and in Canvas as a Google Form [choose "make a copy" into your UMass Google Drive folder].

Canvas directions to use FOCUS (Google Forms version):

  1. Sign into your Umass Google account. Make a copy of the survey as a Google Form.
  2. Open the form you created. 
  3. Select the Responses tab. 
  4. On the Responses tab, click the 3 vertical dots. 
  5. On the dropdown menu, uncheck "Get email notifications for new responses."
  6. Add your course number to the survey title, filename for the form, or within the survey. 
  7. Provide your students with a link to take the anonymous survey and reminders to complete it.
  8. Repeat steps 1 -7 for each course in which you wish to use Forward FOCUS.

If you have further questions about how to make the Forward FOCUS available to your students in Canvas, contact

Moodle directions to import FOCUS

  1. Log into UMass Moodle in the Cloud ( Click My courses to see the list of your courses and navigate to the course for which you want to administer the Forward FOCUS survey.
  2. Now that you have opened your Moodle course, select the More tab.
  3. From the dropdown menu, select Course reuse.
  4. On the Course reuse page, select CTL Forward FOCUS and click continue.
    If you have more than 10 courses listed, you may need to search for “CTL Forward FOCUS survey”.
  5. The Import Settings page will open. Uncheck every option except: Include activities and resources. Click Jump to final step.
  6. The Perform Import page will open showing the progress of the import. When the import is complete, click the Continue button.
  7. The Forward FOCUS survey will now appear on your Moodle course home page.
  8. Make the survey available to your students for a specific time period and remind them to take the survey.

Blackboard directions to implement FOCUS

  1. Follow the step by step-by-step instructions in the Blackboard written guide to make the survey available to your students.

Sending responses to your department

  1. After responses have been collected, the instructor must close the Forward FOCUS survey and then send responses to their departments. Please contact your department to ask in which format they would like the FOCUS results.
    • Note for department chairs and SRTI coordinators: Instructors can download responses as an excel file or a PDF.  Please note that by default, the downloaded responses will NOT include the instructor name, course number, or course title. See directions below to add instructor information to the FOCUS survey PDF on Moodle, and share with faculty if you would like them to do this.

For assistance downloading or printing responses to FOCUS, please email

Wondering how to make Forward FOCUS available to teaching assistants? Please see our FAQ page or contact IDEAS at

Forward FOCUS PRior to SPRING 2021

Transition to Moodle in the Cloud

Because all Moodle courses were transitioned to Moodle in the Cloud in Summer 2021, Forward FOCUS responses prior to Spring 2021 (e.g., Fall 2020) can no longer be accessed online. This does not apply to instructors who used Blackboard or another survey platform to administer Forward FOCUS in their courses prior to Spring 2021.