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Outcomes Surveys

Surveys are an important means of gathering data to measure institutional effectiveness and student achievements. They provide indirect measurements of student learning by relying on self-reported data and implied success.

The Survey tool can be used to conduct online surveys targeting students and other members of an institution, easily integrating with the student information system and other e-Learning tools. In addition, the Survey tool can extend the reach of an institution by targeting members of the community, business leaders, parents, and other stakeholders delivering surveys to users who do not have Blackboard accounts.

Institutions can design surveys that include a set of advanced features. Surveys can contain a number of different questions types, including Likert scale, multiple-choice with support for open entry fields, short answer, and matrix questions. Users also have other design options, such as the ability to create sections, insert page breaks, or insert a fully formatted content area that can include multimedia.

Deployment is flexible, allowing users with the appropriate privileges to deploy the survey to different lists of people regardless of whether the recipients have an account on the system. Standard deployment options, such as allowing anonymous responses, are available, and a survey can be deployed more than once over time. Multiple deployments of a survey can then be compared in reports to see the results of the same survey from deployment to deployment.

How to Add a Survey

  1. From the Outcomes Home Page, navigate to the place you want to deploy the survey from.
  2. From the Plan, Measure and Improve panel, under Measurements select Surveys.

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  3. Click Add Survey.
  4. Type the name of the survey and optionally, type the description.
  5. Select the following desired properties:
    1. Public: Making a survey public adds the survey to the Instruments Catalog.
    2. Allow Copy: This option is made available when Public is selected. Checking this option allows other Outcomes Assessment users to copy the survey.
    3. Allow Deployment: This option is made available when Public is selected. Checking this option allows other Outcomes Assessment users to deploy the survey in other places.
    4. Allow Backtracking: Checking this option allows users taking the survey to access a previous question before submitting.
  6. From the Status drop-down list select:
    1. Draft
    2. Awaiting Approval
    3. Approved
    4. Complete
  7. Click Submit.

Anonymous Surveys

Surveys can be set to be anonymous, meaning that respondents are not identified in the system. Anonymous Surveys may increase the response rate, especially for Surveys that ask for private information such as health status or reporting risky behavior. Anonymous Surveys have limited reporting capabilities because the person record data used to deploy the Survey is dropped after the recipient responds to the survey. Because there is no person record data associated with responses, comparisons grouping person attributes such as ethnicity and socio-economic status are not disclosed.

To learn more, see these topics: Adding Visual Elements, and Outcomes Question Types, Tags, and Goals.

Viewing and Deploying Surveys

After a Survey is created within a Unit, other Unit level users can view it if the survey has been made public and the viewer is a member of that Unit.

Showing Descendents

Expand the view of listed surveys by clicking Show Descendents to view all surveys in all sub-contexts of the given Unit including Workspaces.

When the expanded view of surveys appears, the context that created or owns each survey is presented. This informs viewers of the level in which each survey exists. Information on surveys that are deployed by users who do not own the survey is included in the expanded views. The number of deployments is included in the expanded view, and clicking on the count will take the user to that survey’s context and the associated deployment page.

Using the expanding view for listing all surveys within a given Unit and its sub-Units is valuable for viewing how master surveys are shared with other contexts and so that the owning Unit can access reporting data as well as any sub-Unit deploying the survey. For example, a Director of Assessment defines a Student Satisfaction survey from the Institutional Research Unit, makes it public, and selects Allow Deployment. The Student Satisfaction survey becomes deployable in other places. Other users can subsequently create a new deployment by selecting Deploy from Catalog. When a user in the Institutional Research Unit selects the expanded view of surveys, all the surveys owned by that Unit and its sub-Units appear. Any sub-Unit that deployed the Student Satisfaction survey appears in the list with the owning Unit appearing beneath.

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Deploying Surveys

Deployments distribute Surveys to selected recipients at specific times. Surveys can be redistributed by creating new deployments instead of creating new Surveys. Each deployment can target different sets of recipients, be distributed using different methods, display customized messages to recipients, and send automatic reminders to recipients who have not responded.

To add a deployment to a survey, access a survey's contextual menu and select Deployments.

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Surveys are deployed to recipients selected from various groups, lists, and files. Recipients are selected using one or more of the following options:

  • A group including all persons directly affiliated with a place
  • One or more existing Distribution Lists
  • One or more uploaded files containing lists of recipient email addresses

Surveys deployed using affiliations can be managed from a Unit, such as a college or department, and deployed to a course or to Sections of a course. The Unit defines the survey, makes it public, and allows it to be deployed. This will grant permission to sub-units to deploy the survey from the Instrument Catalog to recipients that are affiliated with the Sub-unit without creating a Distribution List.

Distribution Lists created for deploying a Survey set the workflow for that survey. Distribution lists can be created by an administrator and shared, or they can be created during deployment.

Files containing lists of recipient email addresses can be uploaded from your computer or from the Content Collection. The email addresses in these files may or may not already exist within the system. Each email address must be on a separate line in the file.

With sufficient privileges, the person deploying the survey can preview the recipients included in each affiliation group, Distribution List, or uploaded file. Affiliation group recipients can be viewed only before the deployment has started because the members of the group might have changed since the deployment started.

As recipients are added, the calculated total number of recipients can be refreshed. When the deployment is started, it will be distributed to approximately the number of recipients listed. The actual number of recipients may vary because duplicate recipients occurring across the recipient selections might be removed during processing.

After the deployment has been started, the survey is distributed to the selected recipients by course announcement, system announcement, or email. Recipients then complete and submit the deployed Survey.

While the deployment is active, additional recipients can be added to that deployment at any time using a Distribution List or uploaded file. Additional recipients cannot be added to that deployment using affiliations.

The deployment should be stopped after a period of time so that reporting and analysis can occur.