A "Green" Initiative: Course Opinion Surveys Go Online

No more pencil and paper!

No more pencil and paper!

Starting this semester, online course opinion surveys will be completed online. The Dyson Digital Digest sat down with Assistant Dean of Instructional Technology Beth Klingner, PhD to get answers to questions students may have.

Q:  Why did Dyson decide to move to online surveys?
A: Dyson is making this move to online surveys for a variety of reasons.  One reason is that the online surveys will be much more efficient – allowing for a speedy turnaround to faculty as soon as final grades are posted.  Another critical reason is that Dyson is making every effort to be “green”.  Our previous Scantron system used thousands of pages each semester – that once scanned, were left abandoned in filing cabinets.  Online surveys will allow faculty to access more comprehensive reports that can be archived and accessed anytime, anywhere.  Some of the other academic areas at Pace have already been using online surveys and have been pleased with the improved process. 

Our evaluation partner, IOTA Solutions, was granted “true green” status: Conservatree.com estimates that Colleges and Universities across the U.S. conducting their evaluations via online surveys have saved 1754 trees or the equivalent of 73 tons of paper (14.5 million standard sheets) in the past 3 years alone.

Q: Why is it important for me to fill out the surveys?
A: Students often underestimate the impact of their comments on course opinion surveys.  This is your opportunity to say what’s working well and what needs changing in a particular course. These results are critical for faculty preparing future courses and for departments assessing their programs.  Rather than going to Ratemyprofessor, you should participate in this official process so that your voice will be heard.

As an added incentive, four lucky student survey-takers will win iPod nanos from Dyson College! The winners will be chosen at random by a third party.

 Q: Where will I take the survey and how much time will it take?
A: The advantage of having online course surveys is that you as students can fill them out anytime, anywhere you have Internet access during the evaluation period (December 8-15).  And it will take only about 10 minutes to complete the survey. 

Q: What if I have questions while I’m taking the survey?
A: If you have any technical problems, are unable to access the surveys, or the courses or instructors shown are not correct, please immediately fill out the trouble ticket at: http://www.iota.cc/troubleform.asp?who=DYSON. Your problem will be addressed quickly if you are able to provide clear, specific information for the technical team to act upon.

Q: Will my answers impact my grade in the course?
A: Student responses will have absolutely no impact on final grades for two reasons: 1. the surveys are completely anonymous; 2. faculty will not be able to see their course survey results until after final grades have been submitted.

Q: How do I know my answers will be kept anonymous?
A: In order to complete the surveys, you will go to the Web site http://PaceEvals.com and enter your Student U Number and name. This is to ensure that only students in a given course can evaluate it. However, this information does not pass into the evaluation form.  Your student number is temporarily associated with a random number while you complete the evaluations, then that random number is deleted.  Student information is never stored on any accessible server.  Unless you identify yourself by typing your name in a comment box, your ratings and comments are anonymous and cannot be associated with your name. The evaluation process, your responses, and all forms are hosted on a non-Pace University site, accessible only by a third-party vendor who has guaranteed confidentiality of all records as part of the contract with Dyson.