5 Ways a Survey Solution Connects You With Students & Each Other

March 18, 2020 Watermark Insights

Open lines of communication on campus are always vital. Gathering course evaluations can improve course quality and allows students to share their thoughts with faculty, ultimately ensuring that the educational process stays on course. Your higher education institution can also benefit from collecting feedback from faculty and staff, using it to gain valuable insight that can drive institutional success.

In addition to ensuring that core processes like course evaluations can continue whatever the circumstances, the right survey solution can help you keep your finger on the pulse of student, faculty, and staff sentiment in real time. Here are the five ways an online survey solution benefits higher education institutions and keeps your campus connected.

1. Administers Surveys and Course Evaluations Online

Many institutions have historically used paper-based student evaluation of teaching (SET) systems to gather student and faculty feedback. A significant disadvantage of a paper-based system is the cost of printing. These surveys may also result in poor data quality when students fill in inaccurate answers in the course and instructor ID fields. Institutions may have to result to time-consuming manual processes to ensure accurate response data. These paper-based processes are invariably less efficient than digital solutions — and when students aren't physically on campus, they’re simply impossible. 

A digital solution ensures that you can support critical processes like course evaluations online, where physical proximity to campus isn’t possible. An online solution helps faculty and administrators connect with students to meet their needs. You can also ensure data accuracy by creating a simplified and repeatable course evaluation process, even for complex surveys. Additionally, switching to online surveys and course evaluations reduces paper costs and contributes to your institution's image of being green. 

2. Integrates Seamlessly With Your LMS to Ease Participation and Boost Response Rates

Achieving good survey response rates is critical for ensuring you receive enough data to inform decisions. Integrating your survey solution with your institution's learning management system (LMS) allows students and faculty to complete surveys from anywhere and on any device, encouraging higher response rates and greater survey participation. With an online survey solution, you can reach students, faculty, and staff where they already spend much of their time — in your LMS. This becomes especially important when you don’t have the benefit of in-class reminders to encourage survey participation. 

A course evaluation and survey solution should seamlessly integrate with your LMS so that those receiving a survey or completing a course evaluation can complete it directly in the LMS using the device of their choice. LMS integration allows you to give frequent reminders and prompts within the system students and faculty use most and track response rates in real time to encourage participation.

3. Gets Immediate Insights to Guide Decision-Making

Gets Immediate Insights to Guide Decision-Making

Survey results matter — and the sooner you receive them, the faster you can use the data to guide decision-making. Paper-based survey solutions, personal follow-ups, and manual reporting slow down the decision-making process, keeping you from maximizing the use of your data. With a digital survey solution, your institution can gather student feedback for course improvement and use faculty evaluation data to connect with faculty, inform promotions and reviews, and evaluate teaching methods.

A survey solution should offer fast and easy online reporting tailored to distinct roles and processes, so you can act on new information as quickly as needed. Be sure your course evaluation and survey solution:

  • Delivers one-click access to results on any device.
  • Lets you aggregate and disaggregate results according to key criteria.
  • Makes it easy for administrators to compare results against defined benchmarks.
  • Provides the ability to dig deeper into written responses with text analytics.
  • Protects access to results so that only the right people see the right information.
  • Enables faster and more accurate accreditation reporting.

4. Empowers You to Act Quickly With Simple Set-Up

When your institution wants to move to an online survey solution, you may have little time to spare. Whether you administer student and faculty surveys at the end or in the middle of a term, implementing a new solution should be easy and quick. Another significant consideration for which solution to implement is the intervention it requires from your IT department. If integration and implementation require a lot of involvement from IT, a solution can stretch your resources thin. 

The right survey solution gets you up and running quickly and makes it easy to create surveys that keep you in tune with students, faculty, and staff. Look for a solution with fast implementation that is easy for administrators, faculty, and students to use.

5. Protects Privacy and Keeps Data Secure

It’s always important to keep student and faculty data secure — especially when seeking feedback about potentially sensitive topics, like criticizing a teacher. Providing anonymity in student surveys maintains privacy, making students feel more comfortable sharing their true thoughts about a teacher or course. 

Choose a survey solution that allows you to assure students, faculty, and others that their anonymity is protected and their data is secure. The survey solution should also offer role-based permissions to control access to results. In addition, look for a survey solution that allows you to:

  • Restrict results if a minimum response threshold isn’t met.
  • Reopen or reset responses while maintaining the anonymity of the response.
  • Control which question results are shared with instructors/administrators.

How Watermark Can Help 

How Watermark Can Help

A digital survey and course evaluation solution can provide substantive insights to inform key campus initiatives. Choosing the right survey solution is critical for collecting feedback, simplifying administration, and gathering the insights your institution needs to drive improvements. 

With Watermark Course Evaluations & Surveys, your higher education institution can gather student and faculty feedback and seamlessly incorporate it into your institution's bigger picture. Our solutions enable you to administer student surveys online and boost response rates. With integrations with your institution's current LMS, such as Blackboard, Canvas, D2L, and Moodle, Course Evaluations & Surveys makes surveys more accessible for students, and reporting more manageable for administrators. 

Learn how other campuses use the digital solution and how Emory University moved from paper-based SETs to digital using Course Evaluations & Surveys. If you’d like to learn more about Watermark’s course evaluation and institutional survey solution, request a demo today.

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