Technology Survey at Sarah Lawrence (SLC)

Back in October 2007 I saw a Technology Survey referenced within a message on a listserv – (Project Pulse/SAREO – UMass Amherst, Office of Information Technologies Survey – Draft Fall 2006). Struck by the idea I began editing the draft to fit within Sarah Lawrence’s scope and use of technology. The possible benefits of the data seemed to opportune to overlook such a great idea.

And so it became a project, a project among many, that took on life but had little support due to the high number of day to day needs staff spent their time on and due to other more pressing projects. Happily, it never died.

During a 2008 summer discussion of projects on tap Brenda Grell (Instructional Technologist in Academic Computing) offered to help me with the survey… And so we began a long and satisfying journey.

The original survey was extensive; though, as we reviewed it we quickly realized we needed to re-write and/or edit many questions. One example was a question that dealt with gender. A number of students commented that the question was problematic to them or that it would be to their friend(s).

Original question:

What is your gender?
Female
Male
Other/Refused

Revised question:

What is your gender?
Female
Male
Other
Prefer not to answer

By changing the question slightly, students were very happy with the options and felt that the it was now inclusive of every student all the while still providing an option to not answer (instead of forcing someone to choose a gender). Things like this were rare but we believed it to be important to comb through every question with this same type of attention.

Brenda and I have been working with Greg (Information Systems) to launch the survey using an in house survey platform – LimeSurvey. Our initial intent was to release it just after spring break but schedules and software bugs delayed the launch. Brenda has been the point person with LimeSurvey inputting the content and building out the logic to the survey. (She has become the go-to person regarding LimeSurvey on campus.) We didn’t want someone to see a question that is not relevant to them. We wanted it to be as fast as possible while still asking every relevant question.

She has also been pro-active with faculty and students testing the survey throughout the development within Lime Survey. We can attest to a number of small issues found thanks to the help of these students and faculty members. I highly recommend testing this type of survey as much as you possibly can before going live.

So, 2 years and one semester later we are launching the survey to the student body for just under 10 days. After the survey is closed we will correct any troubles found, export the data, and then send out the survey to the faculty and staff for the same amount of time. For the student body we offered a number of Amazon.com gift certificates as incentives to complete the survey:

Three (3) gift certificates for undergraduates (due to the large size) – $50, $25, $25
Two (2) gift certificates for graduate and CCE students – $25, $25

After the survey is complete I will post details on how the survey was received.

I would like to thank the unknown person that sent the survey to the listserv, Greg, Sha, Tom B., ACD, HD, IS staff,  everyone that supported the idea and tested the survey, and most importantly Brenda. Without everyone’s efforts this survey would not have become what it is today.

Update One

  • The survey was initiated at 4:00 pm (04/27/09) with small batches of emails going out to the 1561 students. In less than one hour the statistics are wonderful! As of 5:00 pm here are the survey statistics: 108 responses for this survey (76 full responses, 32 responses not completely filled out)

Update Two

  • Survey statistics as of 9:15 am (04/28/09): 292 responses for this survey (266 full responses, 26 responses not completely filled out)

Update Three

  • Survey statistics as of 9:00 am (04/29/09): 321 responses for this survey (293 full responses, 28 responses not completely filled out)

Update Four

  • Survey statistics as of 9:00 am (04/30/09): 331 responses for this survey (302 full responses, 29 responses not completely filled out)

Update Five

  • Survey statistics as of 9:00 am (05/01/09): 335 responses for this survey (306 full responses, 29 responses not completely filled out)
  • Reminder email sent at 9:53 am to students that did not take/complete the survey.
  • Survey statistics as of 5:00 pm (05/01/09): 401 responses for this survey (367 full responses, 34 responses not completely filled out)

Update Six

  • Survey statistics as of 10:00 am (05/04/09): 429 responses for this survey (393 full responses, 36 responses not completely filled out)

Update Seven

  • Survey statistics as of 10:00 am (05/05/09): 431 responses for this survey (395 full responses, 36 responses not completely filled out)
  • A reminder was sent out between 10 am and 1 pm to remind student there are only two days left to complete the survey.
  • Survey statistics as of 5:00 pm (05/05/09): 508 responses for this survey (462 full responses, 46 responses not completely filled out)

Update Eight (final day)

  • Survey statistics as of 9:00 am (05/06/09): 528 responses for this survey (481 full responses, 47 responses not completely filled out)
  • A final reminder was sent out between 10 am and 11 am.
  • Survey statistics as of 5:00 pm (05/06/09): 582 responses for this survey (531 full responses, 51 responses not completely filled out)
  • Upon arriving to work on 05/07/09 I will close the survey.

Update Nine (Survey Closed)

  • Survey statistics as of 9:00 am (05/07/09): 591 responses for this survey (543 full responses, 48 responses not completely filled out)
  • Survey will be closed by Greg in IS this morning. Winners of the raffle will be determined and contacted and the survey will receive minor tweaks to improve user experience.
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