SurveyMonkey at College: Assessment Beyond the Obvious

Huffed and He Puffed...

Join us in welcoming back one of our guest bloggers–Dr. Erin Albert, author and college professor extraordinaire. She’s here to share how surveys have helped her students at Butler University collect and assess data for research projects. But as you’ll soon read, Dr. Albert’s students were able to stretch the creative boundaries with their projects thanks to the data they collected.

Here’s what they did!

Assessment strikes at the heart of colleges and universities today. Measuring progress–both inside and outside of the classroom of students–is key to improving quality and outcomes to many faculty and administration at institutions of higher education in the U.S. and abroad. SurveyMonkey is a tool that obviously and easily can be used to measure progress in classes and learning at colleges and universities.

As an assistant professor at Butler University College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences (COPHS) in Indianapolis, I’ve used SurveyMonkey in higher education in several ways around assessment of projects, classes and follow up with our students and across colleges–beyond the obvious choice of mere assessment of courses and lecturers. Here below are a couple of examples where we have creatively used the SurveyMonkey tool for assessment:

1.  Hybrid learning–in RX526–Pharmacy, Policy and the Law this spring (a required course for our pharmacy majors), we decided to “hybridize” the classroom and utilize technology to make the didactic lectures on demand, online, and utilize the live class time for guest lecturers and team policy projects.

However, in order to prepare the class for the experiment, we conducted a pre-class survey to assess whether or not students had previously taken a hybrid class previously, and assessed perceptions of online learning.  After the class at the end of the semester, we utilized SurveyMonkey yet again for a post-course survey, to see how or if students liked this new method of learning, whether or not they’d recommend it to future classes, and whether or not the students perceived higher levels of personal accountability under hybrid learning for the class.

2.  Senior book publishing projects–From 2007-2013, we have offered several book-publishing projects for students inside and across colleges at Butler COPHS.  Students in COPHS are required to complete a senior project prior to graduation at Butler. Of the four book publishing projects offered to some students in the past, three have made it to publication.

In 2013, we involved students from four of our colleges to collaborate on a children’s book publishing project around asthma, (He Huffed and He Puffed But…A Tale of a Wolf with Asthma)–COPHS, the College of Business, Jordan College of the Arts, and the College of Education. Now that several publications and projects have been developed, we’re currently assessing all previous students involved in these book publishing projects through SurveyMonkey to see how we may improve the book publishing project process moving forward, and most important, what skills students felt they developed while working on publishing a book in interdisciplinary projects.

These are just a couple of ways we’ve assessed students at Butler with SurveyMonkey as the tool to improve our processes and projects inside and outside the classroom. The obvious choice for SurveyMonkey in higher education is assessment of a course; however, the assessment process can also include creative projects and utilizing technology in the classroom to experiment with different methods of teaching and learning in order to help faculty maximize coursework, and students learn skills for the real world in different ways.

While Dr. Albert teaches at Butler University, the opinions expressed in this blog post are hers alone.

If you’re looking for research and educational survey templates to help your students, just click here to get started.

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