Migration to a New Course/Faculty Evaluation System (Watermark)

This past year, the State of Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR) implemented a Texas Risk and Authorization Management Program, known as TX-RAMP. This program is designed to provide a standardized approach for security assessment, authorization, and continuous monitoring of cloud computing services that process, store, or transmit the data of a state agency. The State of Texas requires that all cloud-based services being used by state agencies become TX-RAMP compliant.

For the past several years, HSC has utilized a cloud-based program called CoursEval by Anthology Inc. to provide students with the means to evaluate all courses and faculty and as a mechanism to report those results. The CoursEval program is managed by Testing and Evaluation Services (TES). During this past fiscal year, TES was notified by Anthology Inc. that the CoursEval program is not TX-RAMP certified, and the company has no plans to seek TX-RAMP certification for this product. As a result, TES will be implementing Watermark, a new course/faculty evaluation solution that is TX-RAMP certified.

What does this mean for our academic partners?
• The Watermark solution integrates with Canvas to provide students with a more seamless evaluation experience. We are hopeful this may increase evaluation participation among students resulting in a higher level of evaluation report reliability.
• The Watermark Evaluation Reports will look different from what faculty and administration have been accustomed to in the previous product; however, the reports are easy to read and provide comparable, if not enhanced, feedback.
• The evaluation report portal is user-friendly.
• TES is migrating all prior data from the CoursEval platform to the new Watermark platform to ensure that faculty and administration can access current and historical reports within the same system. During this transition, there may be periods of down time where comprehensive evaluation reports are not accessible. If faculty anticipate needing evaluation reports during this transition period, they are encouraged to preemptively download evaluation reports from CourseEval prior to the sunset of the software (October 31, 2023).

We expect to begin using the Watermark system in November 2023. The current product, CoursEval, will end on October 31, 2023; therefore, we anticipate a few weeks without either evaluation system. Some required evaluations may be facilitated by TES using Qualtrics during this brief span of time. Other course evaluations may be slightly delayed as we begin using the Watermark system. TES will communicate directly with faculty members whose courses may be impacted during this time period to discuss the evaluation plan for their course.

TES is committed to fully supporting our students and academic partners during this transition to a new course/faculty evaluation platform. We are confident Watermark will be a great answer to our course/faculty evaluation needs. You are welcome to contact Rebel Jones, Director of Testing and Evaluation Services, (Rebel.Jones@unthsc.edu) if you have any questions about this migration to a new evaluation solution.