Perseus SurveySolutions Teaches Community College How to Acquire Student Feedback Quickly and Efficiently
"[SurveySolutions] creates a feeling of innovation - the first survey impressed the socks off of them!" - Paula Bennett, secretary, Planning, Research & Grants Development Department
San Joaquin Delta College (SJDC) needed to gauge employee/student satisfaction as SJDC prepared for the accreditation study. They wanted to achieve this through survey research to include online students, faculty and staff. The various surveys would be used to evaluate performance, departments' supply needs, and participation in programs, to name a few. Traditional surveys were no longer a total solution because now the College needed to reach its growing online enrollment groups to get their feedback quickly and efficiently. Web surveys from Perseus were the answer.
San Joaquin Delta College is an accredited public, two-year community college. It was founded in 1935. The main campus is located on 165 acres at 5151 Pacific Avenue in Stockton, California. Courses are also offered throughout the college district in the communities of Tracy, Lodi, Manteca, Rio Vista, Sutter Creek, Jackson and San Andreas.
The College's primary mission is to provide rigorous, high-quality degree and certificate curricula in lower-division arts and sciences and in vocational, technical, and occupational fields. The college's commitment is to prepare students with the knowledge, skills, and competencies they will need to excel in their educational, professional and personal endeavors. Over 17,000 students are enrolled at SJDC.
The Planning and Research Department at SJDC provides analysis, data, statistics, etc. to the college community, including the board of trustees. Additionally the department is responsible for the coordination, preparation, and execution of the accreditation study, as well as its reporting to the accrediting commission. The department is the college's resource center.
Paula Bennett works as a confidential secretary in the Planning, Research & Grants Development Department. She provides clerical and technical assistance to the department, its director, and the entire college. She had nothing but the most minimal background in HTML, but to her delight, found it wasn't needed to create professional-grade surveys with Perseus SurveySolutions Pro.
- Windows 2000 client machines
- Unix web server (used for html pages only)
Surveys were needed to gauge employee/student satisfaction as SJDC prepared for the accreditation study. Additionally, they needed to obtain instructor evaluations for online students, service surveys for an open house event, and student satisfaction surveys with individual online classes and instructors. The various surveys would be used to evaluate performance, departments' supply needs, participation in programs, etc.
SJDC has in the past used Scantron surveys (some have still been used concurrently with SurveySolutions web surveys because of equipment shortages). The 'comment card'-type surveys and the student evaluations of instructors have been Scantron surveys and were administered in class when used in the past - but now the College needs to reach its growing online enrollment groups to get their feedback quickly and efficiently.
Generally, there wasn't a great deal of need anticipated for further customization of html, but it was desired for certain surveys. The results of some surveys would be released to everyone; other survey results would be distributed to a more limited set of online students. Survey results might need to be analyzed and presented using Microsoft Excel in many cases.
The former Dean of Planning & Research directed Paula to the Perseus website where she linked to a demonstration of Perseus SurveySolutions Pro Software. She tried the demonstration version of the software, and was hooked. It was then shown to San Joaquin Delta College's IT director, Lee Belarmino, who also liked what he saw. They purchased right away.
In Paula's words: "With the college's effort to educate more people to computers... and to change from the paper society... not to mention the amount of time it takes to design and analyze scanable surveys - it was just the way to go!"
"I'm learning a new trick with each new survey."
At present Paula is currently the only person creating web surveys, managing responses, and presenting results for the college with SurveySolutions, and is pleasantly surprised how easy it is to do.
Paula has administered several SurveySolutions surveys with the program for the college: employee/student satisfaction; instructor evaluations for online students, a service survey for an open house event, and most recently student satisfaction surveys with individual online class/instructors.
The various surveys have been used to evaluate performance. The instructor evaluations are a part of their contract with the college district. The service survey for the open house was used to compile information on how the different division/departments would participate in the open house event and what their general supply needs would be.
The web surveys are distributed by sending an email to respondents with the link to the survey in it. Surveys are given a cutoff date, and this is communicated with ease via the Survey Invitation Wizard. The results are collected by email; SJDC is at present using the Perl script on the Perseus server (the use of which is always free, secure, and anonymous) to handle the survey responses. In some cases, a link to an online survey is incorporated into a web page of an online class; the respondent is then redirected immediately to the virtual class on submitting his/her survey.
The accreditation employee/student satisfaction brought in over 400 responses. The open house received about 60 to 80 replies, and the student satisfaction survey response rate varies by course. The current student satisfaction survey is directed to online students in business division programs.
Paula is getting the information she needs in, as she states, "more than timely" fashion. Most often results are stored in an Excel format, but Paula has done some charting and analysis within SurveySolutions on occasion, using the easy-to-use Results Management and Charting & Analysis modules.
The results of the accreditation survey have not only been shared with the campus constituents, but used as part of the self-study evaluation for the accrediting commission of California colleges to reaffirm SJDC's standing.
The divisions that have used online student surveys have benefited because they are able to get input from the online student so effortlessly - and it's saved the division tremendously in paper and postage trying to reach that group.
If Paula needs to do more (expand information gathering, conduct more sophisticated surveys, etc.), she's sure other Perseus SurveySolutions products (Enterprise, Portal, or MobileForms) can help her achieve whatever more intricate information-gathering task the future might bring.
Learning to use Perseus has been easy and fun for her, "I'm learning a new trick with each new survey," she says. Paula finds Perseus SurveySolutions Pro to be very cost-effective for San Joaquin Delta College, "and basically labor free" [though we don't promise that!].
You can visit San Joaquin Delta College's website here: http://www.deltacollege.org.