To conduct student surveys, we could theoretically ask a question in class and ask our students to raise their hand to answer – and then start counting. This would probably leave out a big chunk of our students though, meaning our online students. We do agree at this point that technology can only help us reach higher, faster.
Horizons University has actually been relying for years now on online and paper-based surveys combined to investigate in all fields and contexts: informal surveys, feedback surveys, pre-acceptance assessments, outbound surveys and so forth depending on the context and strategy. The names may vary, but the willingness to gather, analyze and enact through swift decision-making remains intact. But why, one could argue, conducting multiple surveys, so frequently?
The aim is to obtain the full picture and evolution of the organic development of a given situation or context, not a one-shot view. The latter may work if you aim for a short-term objective, but the world of education is constantly evolving, making focusing on long-term objectives a must. For example : our inbound survey helps us understand what students know before taking a course or a program, thus assisting us in tailoring our offer to them: this is what our DBA foundation seminars are about since they cover common topics that can be tailored to the specific need of a DBA student to help him/her succeed during the program. Our outbound survey helps us assess how they have progressed, thus unveiling a given program strong and weak points, efficiency and consistency as well as the student’s capacity to evolve. By asking students directly, we build a rich and reliable network of results, valuable data that shows us which way to go – or not to go – and how to better understand the need and specificities of our students.
If we look closer at our surveys, they show us that not only we can grow thanks to them, but ultimately, our students too: the questions we ask them are one additional educations means that will help them understand how they learn and why, empowering them to make the right choices, changes and decisions.
What type of surveys do you conduct as part of your QA process? Do you allow third party surveys? If so, have you defined a legal framework for them? We look forward to hearing from you and learning from your experience!