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)
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 is 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 (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)
Subunits 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 (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.