Class Climate uses recognized open-source server components. The database uses MySQL (MS-SQL available). The web server uses Apache™ (or IIS). Class Climate also runs on the Microsoft Windows® platform to take advantage of integrated document capture and scanner control components.
Class Climate is a web-based solution. There are two ways to host it:
- On our cloud servers
- On your web server(s)
Our Professional Services team is ready to help you get set up on any of these options (see the Product Training, Implementation, and Professional Services brochure for a complete list of the services we can provide). If you choose to host your own server, they can help you integrate the Class Climate server into an existing IT landscape in just a few hours. After you determine access rights, each authorized user can then work with Class Climate independent of his or her local operating system.
The PDF questionnaires and reports generated by Class Climate are compliant to PDF/A-1 and are therefore suitable for document archiving.
The user interface, especially the online survey pages, complies with industry-standard accessibility requirements and also supports screen readers.
Five different installation types are available, from installing all components onto a single server, to setting up a distributed environment with dedicated machines for each system component. All Class Climate components can run in web mode; only the scan station must be installed on a workstation to allow for scanning questionnaires.
Complex Dedicated Servers
From the very beginning Class Climate has focused on implementing data security guidelines while taking individual university regulations into consideration.
NOTE: Some security settings can be protected so that only certain roles can make changes in Class Climate. Work with our implementation team to configure these options to conform with the data protection rules of your institution.
Access to the Class Climate server is controlled by a filter admitting only those who belong to the network (for example limiting the user group to those with valid IP addresses within the organization).
In addition to this technical gateway restricting access, each user has a user name/password combination. Communication with the Class Climate server takes place using a high-quality encrypted connection, protecting student privacy. Advanced security features like Captchas protect Class Climate against automated attacks.
What about how students respond?
Scantron provides a variety of ways to deliver surveys so that students feel their feedback is confidential. Regardless of the delivery method you choose, response data is stored in the central database, protected by Class Climate’s security settings as described above.
The best method to deliver paper surveys is for instructors to receive an envelope with instructions, a cover sheet (if you choose that method) and questionnaires.
Instructors hand out the paper questionnaires in class and give the envelope and the cover sheet with instructions to a student. That student—not the instructor—collects the completed questionnaires, counts them, and seals them in the envelope. The student then takes the envelope to the mail office or to the evaluation center.
Students see this procedure as preserving confidentiality, as possible abuse is prevented (sorting out questionnaires with low scores, trying to identify handwriting of students, etc.).
When you conduct mobile/online surveys, obviously instructors do not receive cover sheets or questionnaires. Instead, you have several options to invite participants:
- PSWD cards
Instructors receive a list of transaction authorization codes (called PSWDs), each of which gives authorization to complete a given questionnaire in a survey. If you have chosen to use a single-password system, they receive a single PSWD.
Instructors can print a sheet with rows of PSWDs in business card format, and then distribute the cards in class. A PSWD card contains all the relevant information, such as course title, access URL and code. This prevents possible confusion when a student has a number of PSWD cards. Students find this “fishbowl approach” especially trust-building, as it makes it impossible to discover the identity of participants in the survey.
If email addresses for class members are available, then you can send PSWDs to students via batch mailing. Also, you can set up and send timers for invitations, reminders, and survey closure with report submission in advance. The system is then able to run scheduled events automatically.
- Mobile Devices
All Class Climate’s online surveys are already “smart”; that is, they can identify what device is being used to access them and adjust the display automatically. PSWD cards (described above) can include a QR code that students can snap to go directly to their protected survey, or they can click the invitation link in their device’s email reader.
- LMS Links
If you are using an LMS, you can work with Scantron to configure an LTI connector to link Class Climate to your LMS interface. When students log in, they will immediately see a list of links to evaluations they need to complete. As they complete each evaluation, that link disappears from the list.
NOTE: As some surveys can be quite long, Class Climate enables respondents to save their responses, so they can continue the questionnaire later.
Hybrid surveys enable you to let students determine which type of response they prefer. There are different methods to distribute hybrid invitations:
- Send an invitation to participate in the survey via e-mail.
This invitation includes a link to the online evaluation and an attached PDF questionnaire. The student can either click the link and complete the evaluation or print the PDF and fill out the form. Then the student can return the form to the instructor or to some other identified location, such as the department office.
- Distribute paper questionnaires in class to students.
The questionnaire must include the URL and a PSWD (or a QR code for mobile participants) for the online evaluation.
If a student already participated in the online evaluation but still returns the paper form, the paper response is automatically excluded from survey results. If the student returned the paper form and it has been scanned, then tries to complete the online evaluation, the online response is automatically excluded from results.
Questionnaire Editing Options
Creating and editing questionnaires is simple and easy. Use the Question Library to include pre-defined, commonly used questions, or create specific questions for each evaluation. Group questions by topic and include design elements to brand questionnaires to your institution’s look and feel. Class Climate provides two key ways to create and edit questionnaires. Either option helps you create attractive, usable forms for online and mobile, print, or hybrid delivery methods.
VividForms Editor (included)
The VividForms Editor provides a browser-based environment for creating questionnaires and enables you to put together a complete questionnaire within minutes. You simply decide the question types and their content—Class Climate generates the layout automatically.
Evaluation coordinators can use the VividForms Editor to create templates that lecturers can supplement with individual questions at a later date. A web browser enables access to the VividForms Editor and allows lecturers to expand the template by adding questions or, depending on the setting, creating completely new questionnaires.
Vivid Forms Designer (available as an add-on module)
Need a more complex design tool? Visually create complex forms using this drag-and-drop design tool. Includes predefined templates for multiple columns, free-form layout for both portrait and landscape orientation, graphical items (such as lines and images), and other advanced design options. See our VividForms Design brochure for details.
 You can purchase envelopes from Scantron that are pre-configured with a window to show the form header for easy visual reference.