Exploring Implementation:
Two Key Structure Options

You need a flexible software solution, where you can implement any survey procedure automatically. Since surveys can involve a variety of different aspects of teaching (e.g., programs of study, student service and course surveys for lectures, seminars, lab exercises, alumni surveys, etc.) you will need several different survey concepts. With Scantron’s Class Climate you can organize surveys in a variety of ways, just as you need them.

Central Approach (Top Down)

Top-Down Class Climate Approach

Using passive survey accounts
(a service model)

This procedure is especially well suited to comprehensive course surveys. Central evaluation coordinators take on all of the tasks associated with the survey. Survey invitations can be automatically delivered to students via email or distributed in class. If distributed in class, instructors simply hand out passwords or QR codes to the mobile/online survey or the paper questionnaires and receive an email with a PDF report of the results. To guarantee confidentiality, a student can count the completed paper questionnaires, and seal them in an envelope before returning them to the collection point.

A special feature links the metadata from the course management system and the organizational structure with the report data for further analysis, building a large pool of reference data. For mobile and online surveys, this link it built into the survey itself. For paper surveys, special printing on the survey form provides the link.

Comparisons, norm reference data, and profile lines all help instructors to welcome the survey and reflect on their results. By determining centrally which courses should be evaluated you can assure the comparability of the survey results.

Using evaluation templates with optional instructor questions in a top-down model

To guarantee that centrally-organized evaluations still have subject-matter relevance for departments and instructors, the top-down method includes evaluation templates. A robust system, like Class Climate, provides the ability for instructors to add optional questions to the appropriate master template. Instructors can add their own questions using the Instructor’s optional questions process. The evaluation coordinator sends an email requesting these additional questions. The email contains a link to a template where instructors find their course data and supplement, correct, or expand the template with their own questions.

This procedure joins the interests of instructors and the university. The university gets standard, core quality measurement questions answered. Instructors get to dig into subject-matter or teaching-style evaluation. Participation in these optional questions is voluntary. Our experience shows that roughly half of instructors being evaluated take advantage of it. Those who do not complete a template receive the standard questionnaire to distribute to their classes.

Decentral Approach (Bottom Up)

Class Climate Bottom-Up ApproachSubunits are a way to provide departmental flexibility by decentralizing the creation and management of evaluations and evaluation templates. You can create subunits for college departments, university colleges, instructional programs, and much more. Using subunit administrators allows a number of survey stakeholders (supporting a single subunit or a group of subunits) to work independently in their environments to prepare and conduct surveys. At the same time, the main administrator retains control over the system. As with any of the user roles provided in Class Climate, you can configure the access rights for subunit administrators.

In general, the decentral approach assumes that instructors are taking an active role in the evaluation procedure, usually via the subunit administrators. This model is called “confidence-based” and puts a lot of responsibility in the hands of the instructors. Class Climate offers certificates of participation and evaluation certificates including scores for instructors voluntarily taking part in the evaluation.

TIP: Our experience shows that only a minority of faculty members make use of this option. A good compromise is to use a central approach for most instructors in connection with decentral accounts for those departments able to support subunit administrators or where instructors interested are in the possibilities.

Using active survey accounts

Using active survey accounts, instructors, student associations and student services such as cafeteria, the bookstore or library, or alumni associations (to name a few) conduct their own surveys. They use the Class Climate web interface to:

  • create a mobile, online, paper, or hybrid (both mobile/online and paper) survey
  • print questionnaires
  • scan the questionnaires using a central scan station

For example, the campus bookstore could conduct a customer satisfaction survey using Class Climate. They may want to provide a paper form at the time of sale, set out a poster with a QR code that links to the online form (automatically adapted for mobile device display) so customers can use their smart phones to take the survey, or they may want to print the online survey URL on the bottom of receipts. Or they may want to do all of these things—Class Climate will collect the responses to the same result reports automatically, no matter how the survey is delivered.

Class Climate creates reports and makes these reports and the raw data available to survey account owners via email and a web account. Using the same web account, they can export the raw data to CSV or SPSS.

Using evaluation templates with optional instructor questions in a bottom-up model

Just like you can in a centralized, top-down structure, you can use templates and optional instructor questions in a decentralized approach as well. Sub-unit administrators can define departmental templates containing questions all surveys sent by the department must use. Instructors can then supplement these predefined questions with additional questions as desired. This procedure guarantees that results are comparable and at the same time offers a maximum of individuality.

Instructors can also combine the reports that accompany the questionnaires. The instructors (set up as active users) receive their questionnaires with their personal reports and raw data.

How Can Scantron Help?

Scantron is a long-time leader in assessment solutions and services. We’ve served the education market from kindergarten to professional career development for more than 40 years. Our course evaluation solution, Class Climate, provides the best in course and instructor evaluations, and delivers broad-based survey functionality as well.

Class Climate provides world-class support for course evaluations. It’s built-in structure mimic department and course structure for most institutions—and can be customized to fit as necessary. Libraries make it easy to design and re-use questions year-over-year for longitudinal tracking. Core questionnaires that allow for instructor customization ensure that the needs of both administration and individual faculty or departments are met. Automated reminders and connectors to many common learning management systems make it easy to increase and track responses. Quality dashboards provide immediate, at-a-glance quality tracking and comparison.

Class Climate provides the greatest possible degree of automation for comprehensive course evaluation. The potential value of this solution to you can be seen in these critical areas:

  • Digital document capture
    “Scanning, not typing” means a drastic cost reduction in capturing data while minimizing errors. Within a few hours you can accurately analyze tens of thousands of survey questionnaires.
  • Instant feedback for optimum self-reflection
    Instant feedback means a new quality in evaluation for instructors. They can reflect on the feedback and make changes while they are still involved in the on-going course. Norm reference values and comparative profile lines motivate instructors to optimize their teaching.
  • Batch processing
    To systematically categorize hundreds or thousands of surveys, Class Climate imports existing data from course catalogs and faculty registers. The support provided by this metadata framework enables you to create reports, set up norm reference value data and make comparisons across subsets (programs of studies, departments, instructors, courses, etc.).
  • Organizational overview and central process control
    Class Climate provides a kind of “process control center” for the central evaluation coordinator. This perspective can give university executive officers, as well as department heads valuable insights. Optional QM views provide a high degree of openness. “Learning from the best” is supported, as is the identification of quality weaknesses.
  • Empowerment
    Class Climate provides both decentral, instructor-oriented surveys using active survey accounts as well as central evaluations. Both procedures can be combined, yielding interesting possibilities such as giving university service organizations their own survey accounts (e.g. cafeteria, administration, library). And Class Climate can resolve the issue of ensuring relevance of centrally conducted course evaluations to a particular discipline. Faculty members are systematically involved and instructors with active accounts using the VividForms questionnaire designer can evaluate any aspect of the courses they are interested in—internet access is all it takes.

Class Climate provides specific advantages for everyone in the organization involved in evaluation:

  • Students can expect that their judgments are analyzed and forwarded to their instructors quickly. Class Climate also takes security issues for students seriously. Class Climate promotes the dialog between teacher and student.
  • Instructors spend a minimum amount of time and receive optimum feedback for self-reflection. Class Climate enables them to supplement the survey with their own individual questions. They receive reports that enable them to compare themselves with other reference groups.
  • University executive officers establish an efficient service infrastructure and emphasize the service aspect of the central evaluation. University executives can also show that they take the needs, and anxieties, that often accompany an evaluation seriously.
  • The Computer Center appreciates the web-based approach, which means that a client installation is not needed. As a result, the university-wide roll-out is smooth and trouble-free. Security and data protection aspects are high priorities for Class Climate. In addition, we offer hosting services for institutions who prefer to leave the IT work to us.
  • Third parties: Student organizations, the administration, thesis students, research project members, PhD students, library, cafeteria—Class Climate is a web service that can be used anywhere in the organization where survey data needs to be gathered. Departments of social science especially appreciate this sophisticated mechanism for survey data capturing.

Class Climate users have been involved in its development from the very beginning. The requirements originated in practice and were decisive in developing the features that Class Climate now provides. Users of the system provide feedback on features, requests, and ideas for improvement are discussed intensively and have led to the development of standard software for course evaluation. This can also be seen in the detailed product documentation, training materials, and coherent support concept.

Scantron’s Professional Services team is here to help!

  • Professional development enables you and your staff to navigate the software and interpret the results more effectively. Scantron Corporation has a fully staffed corporate development department through which we offer an array of product training and staff development classes and seminars for Class Climate. The team is dedicated to building capacity for change within organizations and institutions through a series of training and consulting activities.
  • Get your first evaluation or survey project up and running faster with Scantron Implementation Services. We provide dedicated experts with extensive experience in course evaluation management to help you implement your system and begin processing your surveys quickly and efficiently for a more rapid return on investment. The Scantron implementation team works with you to create a manageable schedule customized to ensure your success in the evaluation process. Depending on your needs, consultations can be performed onsite or via the phone or web.
  • Scantron offers a wide array of Professional Services to customize, enhance, and support your Class Climate capabilities. Save yourself time by letting Scantron do the work for you. We listen to your needs and then work with you to create the applications you require.
  • Scantron’s world-class Print Services are available to print your custom forms and fulfill your large-volume needs with mailing and data processing services.

Whatever the evaluation or survey assistance you need, Scantron has the products, tools, services, and expertise to help you ensure that you have the right program for your students. Our web-based software, combined with our length and breadth of experience, help you get the most out of your evaluations and results. Contact us today and see how Scantron can meet you where you are and help you get to where you want to be.

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