Fall Student Survey Results – A Sneak Preview

by Clare Creighton

Each fall, our Fall Student Survey team works with campus partners to develop a survey administered to all undergraduate Corvallis-based students. This effort began in April 2020 when we wanted to understand how the remote learning and pandemic conditions were impacting students. Over time, the survey has evolved to help us get a general pulse of the student experience and timely information on a few key topical areas relevant to OSU initiatives and efforts.

For Fall 2023, the survey was opened on October 23, ran for approximately two weeks, and closed on November 9, 2023.

This year we asked questions in a few key blocks:

  • General overview questions that ask students about how they’re doing, their level of concern with different elements of the student experience, and their perception of their success this term.
  • A block of questions about their experience with on-campus and off-campus work/employment (hours, goals, desires)
  • A block of questions about the email communication students receive from OSU was devised in consultation with the Beaver Hub implementation team to gauge the impact of Beaver Hub on how students experience communication from OSU.
  • A block of questions about perceptions of generative artificial intelligence (AI) and its role in students’ academic experiences.
  • Results from the full survey will be presented at an upcoming FYI Friday presentation on March 8, 2024 (via Zoom). Registration for that event is online (OSU Login). Following the presentation, the report will be released in a Box folder to internal OSU audiences.

    The Final Question

    In anticipation of that, however, I wanted to share a bit about my experience coding the final question “What else should we ask about”? Because this is an open-ended question, students can use this space in a number of ways. Here are a few trends, along with some insights those trends offer for future survey construction.

    First, many of the respondents provided example topics on which they’d like us to ask questions. This was valuable data that showed us some of the issues important to students. Additionally, some of the topics were particularly grounded in the timing of the survey (e.g. referencing October safety announcements).  These results provided a useful reminder to ground interpretation within the context of when the survey was run and cues us to keep timing and current context in mind when drafting surveys and evaluating the results.

    Second, a number of respondents used the open-ended question to provide answers for the questions they wish we had asked. While it’s challenging to code responses for essentially a “wild-card” question, we gathered insights from a range of topics we might not have thought to ask on a survey of this scale. Quite a few students wanted to give input on programs, services, or other ways they experienced OSU. I appreciate noting for myself that students are interested in opportunities to provide feedback on programs and services and recognized that they may not always be clear on where they have opportunities to do so outside of this survey – an area we can improve on locally within each program and more broadly across the OSU experience.

    Third, some students gave feedback on the survey itself or indicated places of confusion with the available responses. There were a few places where questions or answer choices that make sense to us, did not fit the wide array of choices students need/want. In the next round of the survey, we can take into account student perspective more fully by planning time for student review of the format, options, and wording prior to the survey launch.

    I hope you’ll join us for the FYI Friday session to learn more about how student perspectives are shaping our understanding of the student experience. For questions about the Fall Student Survey effort, contact Maureen Cochran, Senior Director of Strategic Initiatives and Assessment, Division of Student Affairs.

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