Learning Environment Survey (LENS) FAQ - For Instructors

This is a FAQ for instructors where they can learn more about LENS.

Where can I learn more about LENS policies?

The Faculty Senate LENS policy guides how LENS is set-up and administered. You can review the full policy here.

What is on the LENS?

The Faculty Senate website has information about LENS. You can find a copy of the LENS there.

When do students complete LENS?

LENS will be launched as intended via policy at a set number of days before a course end date, with the survey run date relative to the length of the course.

Courses that run between:

  • 17 and 40 days have a 5-day completion period
  • 41 and 60 days have a 7-day completion period
  • 61 and 80 days have a 10-day completion period
  • 81 days or longer have a 14-day completion period

NOTE: This staggered release will start in Summer 2024. 

How will I know when the LENS starts for a class?

Instructors will receive an email from the Provost Office (provost@surveys.uwlax.edu) three days before students are notified that the LENS will open for your course. The Faculty Senate committee felt a three-day lead time would be sufficient to prepare students for receiving the notification and encourage participation in completing the survey.

How do I increase response rates?

You are encouraged to discuss the importance and structure of the LENS with your students prior to its administration. If you are interested in increasing student responses to the LENS, it may help to discuss with your students the value of their feedback on the LENS. You could also give them examples of what constructive and helpful comments look like. It is recommended to provide time in class when students are asked to complete the survey. 

It is important that you are not in the room during this time to avoid introducing additional bias to the process.  

If you offer time in class, 10 minutes at the end of a course period can work and then you can excuse yourself. If students start the survey and cannot complete it at the time, they are able to go back to it any time to save progress before the survey closes.

Can I monitor student completion rates?

Yes, during an open survey period, you can monitor response rates in real-time via the links in the emails, via “Course Evaluations” from any Canvas course navigation, or from the Explorance Blue dashboard.

Website:  https://uwlax.bluera.com/uwlax/  (login with NetID and password, with Okta authentication).

How do students receive the LENS?

Students will receive an email from Explorance Blue the day the LENS opens for each of their classes. Students can then click the link from the email to complete the LENS. Alternatively, students can navigate to “Course Evaluations” from any Canvas course navigation menu to see a list of active surveys to complete. Students will receive incremental reminders to complete the LENS by the end date, so long as LENS is still incomplete. Once LENS is complete, email reminders stop. Students can save and return to surveys; saved but not submitted surveys will show in this list and in email reminders.

Canvas screenshot of locating Coruse Evaluations

Where and when do I access LENS reports? 

Reports will be available the day after grades are due each semester. An email notification of the report release will be sent from the Provost Office (provost@surveys.uwlax.edu) on the day the report release. A link in the email will go to the Explorance Blue dashboard; you can also access this dashboard at any time to see a history of any released reports.

Website:  https://uwlax.bluera.com/uwlax/  (login with NetID and password, with Okta authentication).

What is a full vs summary LENS report? 

This is a table comparing LENS full and summary reports


Full LENS Report

LENS Summary Report


Includes all student comments and detailed response data for every question; responses are reported for each course

Contains data on the motivation question and then, for each LENS area/question, a single indicator of how many responses relate to the target response/s, as set by Faculty Senate policy; data from different courses per term are not combined but multiple sections of the same course by the same instructor in a term get combined


Primarily for instructor use in improving instruction

Used in department- and university-level personnel review, including retention, promotion, tenure, post-tenure review, merit, and annual reviews


Instructor; department chair; department administrative support

Instructor; department chair; department administrative support; Deans; Provosts, IAS or Faculty promotion committees for personnel decisions


Automatically shared the day after grades are due via email to instructor, chair, and department administrative support; also accessible via Explorance Blue; full reports are not broadly distributed

Automatically shared the day after grades are due via email; also accessible via Explorance Blue; manually added to be included in department and university-level personnel review documentation


Instructor, department chair, and department administrative support have access via Explorance Blue for many semesters; may be accessed by others on a need-to-know basis

Instructor, department chair, and department administrative have access via Explorance Blue for many semesters; may be accessed by others on a need-to-know basis

Response Threshold

Results are reported regardless of number of respondents or class size

Data from courses with fewer than five respondents are excluded

What software is running LENS?

Explorance Blue is the software UWL selected to administer LENS and has been incorporated into Canvas for ease of use.

Can I see a sample report?

The Full LENS Reports have been distributed to any instructor that taught in Fall 2023. The LENS Summary Report have been distributed to instructors starting in April 2024. If you did not receive these distributions, please contact your department chair to see if there is a department member willing to share a report. 

How do team taught and courses with TAs get LENS?

The LENS is intended to ask students to comment on their perceptions about the learning environment created, not the individual instructor or instructors. Therefore, students in a team-taught or Teaching Assistant, graduate students with teaching responsibilities, assigned course will only get one LENS for the course and the results will be shared with any instructor assigned to the course.

How do cross-listed courses get LENS?

All data about courses is imported from WINGS into Explorance Blue. Therefore, a student in a cross-listed course will get a LENS for the course they registered for. The instructor, however, will see a single report that groups all cross-listed courses together.

What courses don’t get the LENS?

The policy indicates that the following courses are excluded:

  • UWL 300
  • collaborative programs
  • concurrent enrollment courses
  • distance education courses not taught by UWL instructors
  • independent study/internship courses.

If you believe a course you teach falls into one of these categories and received the LENS, please contact your department chair with any change requests.

KeywordsExplorance Blue, responses, results, reports, data   Doc ID136015
OwnerStephanie S.GroupUW-La Crosse
Created2024-03-13 11:26:46Updated2024-04-03 11:40:57
SitesUW-La Crosse
Feedback  0   0