The World Wide Web is used for many aspects of higher learning. Everything from ordering text books, to registering for courses, and even applying for campus jobs can be done online. There are even Internet based courses available at most colleges in order to accommodate busy professionals interested in earning a degree. Despite the wide variety of college related tasks that are performed online today, there remains a surprisingly large number of colleges that continue to conduct course evaluation surveys on paper.
Why Paper Isn't the Way to Go for Course Evaluation Surveys
The word of the day is "disadvantageous." Using paper for these surveys is disadvantageous to colleges and universities for many reasons. The following reasons are chief among them.
The Great Paper Problem
Think about it. Most students take more than one course. With only one survey per student you're talking about thousands of surveys to conduct. Most students will take more than one survey during the average college term.
That's a lot of paper to handle, score, and dispose of when the time comes. Can you imagine how green your campus could claim to be by making one small shift to an online survey tool rather than traditional paper surveys?
The Time Factor
Face it, paper surveys are time consuming. It's not just about passing around the papers, but also about collecting the paper surveys, tallying the paper survey results, and providing the appropriate feedback across several courses taught and the professors who teach them.
Online survey software does all that for you.
Simply get the students to complete their feedback online, and the tool does all the sorting, sifting, etc. for you. It can even generate reports based on the feedback received.
The Cost Considerations The art of collecting and gathering data via paper means is expensive -- especially compared when using survey software to do the same job. The bottom line is that someone must handle the paper, scan the surveys, gather the data, and compile the reports. These steps are all time consuming, especially when they involve the results from several thousands of students.
Again, online survey software does all this for you, no labor involved other than a few computer keystrokes.
Benefits of Survey Software
Now that you understand the disadvantages of paper, it's time to explore the benefits of using software for your evaluation surveys.
Perhaps the most important of which is instant feedback. We live in a fast-food world and everyone loves having fast access to information about potential strengths and weaknesses of certain classes or professors during the semester when there is an opportunity to change.
The other benefit is that students complete web-based surveys on their own time rather than at the end of a long lecture when they're really in a hurry to make their next classes. This means they can provide more thoughtful and meaningful responses to the survey questions giving you more actionable results.
The bottom line is that we have the technology. Why aren't we using it for the purposes of better feedback, not to mention saving quite a few trees in the process?