Most educational institutions seek feedback from their students in some form. Some do it with course or instructor evaluations. Others do it with more general surveys. Especially for big universities, it can be a challenge to implement survey processes that spur both high response rates and usable data. That challenge was the hurdle Newcastle University was facing when it decided to adopt Achievability’s EvaSys survey software for HEI’s.
The Problem: For years, Newcastle University had used surveys and evaluations to collect feedback from students. The institution was adamant that students should retain a platform to make their voices heard. However, Newcastle University also began to realise that its system for collecting this student feedback was flawed—or at least outdated. Across the university, the faculty in every department had its own processes for conducting surveys. This inconsistency meant surveys were going out at different times throughout the academic year. It also meant some surveys were digital while others were paper-based. There was little rhyme or reason to the system, which made things confusing for students and did little to inspire high response rates or engagement. The inconsistency affected everything about the survey process, from how the data was collected and collated to the people and departments who got to see it.
The Solution: Newcastle University wanted a more consistent, efficient, and scalable means of collecting student feedback across all departments. After researching several possible solutions, the institution adopted EvaSys, the specialist survey automation software for the education sector from Achievability. The software allowed the university to do several things to improve its survey process. First, with EvaSys, Newcastle University bid farewell to paper evaluations and switched to online only. This shift streamlined the data collection and analysis process. It encouraged students to engage more with surveys and evaluations, prompting thoughtful, in-depth feedback rather than arbitrary answers or ratings. EvaSys helped the university establish consistent across-the-board policies for feedback, from when surveys should be conducted during the academic year to who sees the results.
Summary: Switching to EvaSys has helped Newcastle University redouble its commitment to student-driven evaluation and feedback. Dr Richard Harrison, the Head of Learning and Teaching Development for Newcastle University, stated that the new evaluation system allowed the institution to ‘reflect on our teaching and learning in a more focused way,’ thereby providing stronger support to students and staff alike.