Documentation:Learning Environment/Student Survey Results/OL Student Course Evaluation and Exit Surveys

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Survey Results

Previous Course Evaluation and Exit Surveys were reviewed to determine answers to some of the questions posed in the "What do we need to find out?" section of the information gathering process.

Do Open Learning students want to interact? Or do they prefer individual work?

Comments from Course Evaluation Survey vary – generally, students want more interaction with their peers and with OLFM. However, some say they didn’t sign up for an interactive format Comments from Survey Respondents (Course Evaluation Survey):

  • Better feedback
  • Lots of silos in Blackboard
  • more online blackboard sessions - really enjoyed that interaction
  • nice to hear what someone is trying to teach you sometimes rather than just reading the information.
  • Scheduled web seminars and if this existed already, supplied meeting times and information on this would have been invaluable to me.
  • Some type of interactive content or perhaps some links to interesting videos or websites.
  • Talking to an actual person who would actually help me with me technical problem formatting the assignment.
  • The online BB Collab was great, however, if we could have video interaction while using the website. This would help with student interaction while presenting, because the video would help with ongoing feedback for viewers.
  • useful media but was out of date; no real interaction with other students (online chat & status never worked); library access not easy and requires another set of pins;
  • Webcast lectures would make it so much easier to retain the information.

What are students' needs (functionality-wise)?

Themes generated out of the Course Evaluation Survey results (looking at comments specific to BBL):

  • Additional Resources
  • Better layout/themes
  • Introduction to system/training on how to use it
  • IT support
  • More accessibility
  • More interaction
  • More media
  • More streamlined and organized
  • Outdated or missing links/materials
  • Up to date/system that works

What does not work well in Blackboard?

From Exit Survey:

Access to Library materials and includes useful media appear to be areas of greatest concern overall.

Exit Survey Results -courtesy of Melissa Schuurman

208 BBL comments from CE Survey (FY2012-FY2015) that are specific to BBL – top 3 issues in each category:

Blackboard Specific

  • Better layout/interface: 51 (24.5%) of the comments from respondents referred to the need for a better layout and set up of the course in Blackboard. Students are finding it hard to find where everything is and that the course layout is not very user-friendly
  • More streamlined/organized: 33 (15.9%) of the comments from respondents referred to Blackboard being more organized, streamlined and easier to navigate. Students are having issues having to double-back to find information, finding it in multiple locations, or going through multiple pages to get to things
  • Up to date/system that works: 28 (13.5%) of the comments from respondents referred to issues with the system itself, the system would crash or they would get logged out of a session after 15 minutes and would lose their place in the course.
  • Other issues:
    • Intro to system/training - 28 comments (13.5%)
    • IT support – 10 comments (4.8%)
    • More accessibility – 5 comments (2.4%)


  • Outdate or missing links/material: 31 (14.9%) of the comments from respondents referred to outdated or missing links/material. Students said a lot of the web resources were either no longer available or no longer relevant
  • Additional resources: 17 (8.2%) of the comments from respondents referred to having more additional resources in the course – additional learning resources, web resources, training, exercises
  • More interaction: 10 (4.8%) of the comments from respondents referred to wanting more interaction in the course – interaction with OLFMs and with other students
  • Other issues:
    • More media – 4 comments (1.9%)

How are students dealing with different types of course delivery?

OL Student Selection of Method of Delivery

From study of students who chose print method of delivery:

  • When given a choice, 80% of student chose the web version of a course and 20% chose the print version
    • Of the 20% who chose print, 10% (2% of the population) said "No" when asked if they have reliable access to the internet at home or outside your home for personal purposes like working on coursework?.
  • Comments on why students chose the print method of delivery for this course, as it relates to …Computer or Internet Access and Comfort Level
    • 6% specified uncomfortable using the internet to take a course (1.2% of population)
    • 4% specified they don’t have access to internet at home (<1% of population)
  • How comfortable are you using the internet to take a web or online course?
    • 7% are “not comfortable at all” (1.4% of population)

From study of students who chose web method of delivery:

  • What do Web Group Students need?
    • Flexibility
OL students have demanding life style, which only permits them to study at their own pace
“…The work at your own pace is most desirable.”
“I prefer self-paced because my work schedule is variable and I need the flexibility.”
“It had 6 months to complete… I work full time and have a family. A full paced course would be harder.”
    • Convenience and Accessibility
    • *Web Group Students need to access all materials from any computer so that they can study whenever and wherever they are
“I like that all the resources are at my fingertips where ever I am.”
“I like that I pace myself through the course and that it is available to me wherever Internet is … It is easier to follow the flow or progression of the course..”
“I can do it from anywhere and anytime. Being a single mom of two girls this is great. You never loose the papers.”
  • What is the least concern of Web Group Students?
    • Communication
      • Communication is not essential to Web Group Students.
        • 63% have minimal contacts with instructors, and more than one-third have none.
      • Students contact faculties only when they have questions.
“I generally work at my own pace and do not rely on the tutor as much as I should. I contact my professor(s)only as a last resort when I am really lost.”
“Not a lot of communication, just feedback on assignments unless I ask questions.”
  • What is the choice of course delivery method?
    • Given that Online format is paced and Print format is inconvenient
    • Also, 90% of students have positive prior experience of web delivery method
    • Therefore, students preferred Web format to Online / Print format regardless of the cost
“Costs for web courses seem to be high but the value provided has been worth every penny in my experience.”
  • Will the Web Group Students choose the same format for the next course?
    • The majority (74%) will choose web delivery format for the next course if an option is given.
    • Prior experience is strongly associated with awareness of choice and course delivery method
    • Positive prior experience of web format has driven up the awareness of format choice; hence, the likelihood of choosing web format for the next course is high
    • The web format is not for everybody – one size doesn’t fit all
    • For those who don’t want to choose the web method of delivery again, learning style was major concern

Course Evaluation Survey

Some students are having issues with Blackboard, largely due to lack of training and introduction to the system. For those who do not have strong computer skills, this is even more of a challenge. The students need support to use the system; some say they didn’t receive any support or help.

  • Comments from Survey Respondents (Course Evaluation Survey) for “Intro to system/training”:
A general information center that could help me find the right person for my questions
Clearer information for online courses on how to access accounts and how to go through course in the package sent not just online more communication by email or print
further instruction to access blackboard on my personal computer at home
getting up to speed with all of the support material takes time, there is almost too much information and it can be overwhelming to decide where to focus your efforts
how and what to post on blackboard forum not clear and inconsistent;
I was overwhelmed by the instructions of how to use blackboard, discussion, post your comment, course material...
Instructions on where to post comments/discussions was not clear (or even provided) at the beginning.
may be useful to provide a brief description of navigating through the various sections (e.g. where to find the exploration & application activities
more direction on how to proceed when I had problems with the blackboard system
More tech support/instructions on using blackboard/submitting assignments online/etc
more time and guidance for blackboard etc.
my lack of ability to handle the computer format of the course,
Perhaps this could be better explained at the start.
short intro
The amount of information relevant to course navigation and policies was overwhelming and it took a lot of time to become comfortable with the platform.
The online system took some getting used to its navigation.
The system used to upload completed assignments was extremely confusing and difficult to navigate.
  • Comments from Survey Respondents (Course Evaluation Survey) for “IT Support”:
blackboard Help
everytime I went to log in I had a problem getting into blackboard in the end tech support said I needed a new computer
I could have used better support in this regard.
I couldn't access blackboard learn and tech suervices were unable to help and would not advise me of a next step. I contacted my facilitator but she was not helpful either.
i was locked out of my course and despite multiple attempts to email for help with acquiring new login information never got a response
IT support
It's aimed more at students who are based in North America. I also experienced delays and difficulties when downloading reading materials and accessing the Blackboard portal.
Never received help on blackboard
Online delivery through Blackboard which I could not master. Very hard to get support in trying to master the online delivery aspect to the course.
There was a hiccup in the computer system and I was registered under an old version of the course. When I called for assistance, I was not given the support I needed until 2 weeks later. I could have used better support in this regard.

How effective is the technology/learning activities we are currently using?

Themes that came out of the comments from the Course Evaluation Survey:

  • Students would like more options for additional resources/activities
  • Students are having issues navigating our system, not very user-friendly
  • Largely, our system is effective for students who are able to quickly learn it/adapt to it – for those who do not have as much experience using computers and online systems, it is much more challenging

How does the learner access the material?

  • Through LMS
  • Receive printed external/internal materials from us (through Warehouse)
  • Sometimes the course will use publisher online resources (3 ways: extra practice, part of learning activity, or part of an assignment) – students access these through the publisher websites (access code that comes with textbook and course ID set up by either Curriculum Services or OLFM)

What access do students have to technology?

  • Almost all students have access to technology – In the Course Modality Survey that OL conducted last year, only 3% of students who responded were enrolled in print courses said they didn’t have access to a PC/ high speed internet
  • Same survey, large majority of print group students have reliable internet access, and they are comfortable using the internet to take a web/online course

Do students want time sensitive feedback regarding specific content activity/assignments?

  • Yes, based on the comments from the Course Evaluation survey, students want better feedback and better responses to their inquiries and questions.
  • Some students have a restrictive time frame to complete course activities/assignments (either enrolled in paced course or other personal deadlines set)

Why do students go inactive? Is it technology driven?

  • There are a few instances where the student had issues with our LMS and was unable to complete the course
  • Course Evaluation Survey: “Is there a specific reason why you did not complete the course?” Based on 12,690 responses
Work Interfered 18%
Family Responsibility 13%
I did not get the support I needed 8%
The course was too difficult 7%
Not enough time 5%
I lost my motivation 5%
The course is not what I expected 4%
I need more time and will take an extension 3%
I did not put in enough effort 2%
Other 35%
  • Comments from students that did complete the course that selected Other (technology related) – 5 out of 363 comments:
everytime I went to log in I had a problem getting into blackboard in the end tech support said I needed a new computer
i was locked out of my course and despite multiple attempts to email for help with acquiring new login information never got a response i would like my 600 back for money wasted on tuition and materials for this course
There was no structure or layout for this course provided
Too hard to find time. Time difference made it difficult to contact people. Website wasn't effective.
your web site is impossible to figure out. especially when i'm away for three weeks and when i return i need to know new passwords that i did not change. i could only log into the site twice. how could i finish? your site is hard enough to figure out let me take this class over free of charge without obstructing me with your website and i will succeed