Chapter 5: Reflections
The value of StudentSurvey.ie for enhancement and impact
The purpose of StudentSurvey.ie is to inform, support, and encourage enhancement discussions and activities throughout institutions, and to inform national policy.
Within institutions, enhancements are being made as a result of StudentSurvey.ie, and staff and students, because of their understanding of the local context, are best placed to measure and understand the impact of those enhancements through interrogation of their institutional data. The Trends Over Time Research 2016-2021 included case studies from institutions highlighting how they have used StudentSurvey.ie and PGR StudentSurvey.ie to effect change. The case studies demonstrate the importance of collecting information showing how participating institutions have used the results of StudentSurvey.ie and PGR StudentSurvey.ie to achieve impact and to enhance the experience of students in their institutions.
Institutions have used the StudentSurvey.ie responses, both qualitative and quantitative, to inform institutional decision-making. The potential use of the survey is vast, and the case studies describe actions like:
- SETU - enhancing the provision of services in the Library (read more here)
- SETU - enhancing the provision of Maths Support and Academic Writing (read more here)
- SETU - informing programmatic review (read more here)
- SETU - enhanced work-readiness profile of the graduates (read more here)
- RCSI - influencing institutional strategy (read more here)
- RCSI - enhancing collaboration between the Quality Enhancement Office and the SU (read more here)
- TCD - informing the work of the Postgraduate Experience Working Group (read more here)
- TCD - using StudentSurvey.ie to Enhance Lifecycle Activities (read more here)
- TUS - Supporting Transition: Enhancing Feedback in First Year Using Digital Technologies (read more here)
- TUS - providing stimulus for Learning Enhancement Projects (LEPs) (read more here)
- TUS - enhancing the provision of services in the Library (read more here)
- UCC - focus on Collaborative Learning (read more here)
- UCD - increasing awareness of the survey and of key findings in the data analysis (read more here)
It is hoped that this body of case studies will continue to grow in order to provide examples and effective practices to support others who are looking to make the most of the valuable dataset StudentSurvey.ie has created. Success of decisions can be measured by analysing the results of subsequent surveys. Capacity to analyse their StudentSurvey.ie data remains variable, but improving, across and within the institutions.
The StudentSurvey.ie Analysis and Impact Group has created:
- The StudentSurvey.ie Trends Over Time Research 2016-2021 (more here)
- The five reports on the analysis of qualitative data generated by the free text response questions in StudentSurvey.ie and PGR StudentSurvey.ie (more here)
- The StudentSurvey.ie Report Templates and Guide (more here)
- The StudentSurvey.ie Discussion Paper on Evidencing Value through Impact (more here)
- Led sessions at the Practitioners Forum 2020 (more here; scroll halfway down the page) and Practitioners Forum 2022 (more here)
- The StudentSurvey.ie Workshops on Impact (in-person and virtual workshops offered)
- Multiple enhancements to the existing In Touch data visualization dashboard
- A new landing page for the In Touch data visualization dashboard (for HEI use only)
- The Good Practice for StudentSurvey.ie ACUnits guide (more here)
- StudentSurvey.ie User Guide - The In Touch Dashboard (more here)
The group is still working on:
- The StudentSurvey.ie Report Automation Tool and Guide
- Next steps for the qualitative data analysis
- A redesign of the In Touch data visualization dashboard
- Engaging academic management in workshops and other development opportunities
- Developing supports for the analysis of PGR StudentSurvey.ie data
At a national level, there is an increasing number of examples of effective uses of StudentSurvey.ie data, e.g., in Annual Institutional Quality Reports to Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI), in strategic dialogue with the Higher Education Authority (HEA), by the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning, and in National Student Engagement Programme (NStEP) activities. Finally, the results of StudentSurvey.ie and PGR StudentSurvey.ie are considered by the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science in a number of fora. In 2021-2022 these included submissions to:
- The COVID-19 Tertiary Education System Steering Group
- The Student and Learner Wellbeing and Engagement Working Group
- The Consultation on Impact 2030: Ireland’s Research and Innovation Strategy
- The Consultation on Ireland’s International Education, Research and Innovation Strategy
StudentSurvey.ie was a partner in an international collaboration across over 12 countries that run surveys like StudentSurvey.ie. Anonymised national data were pooled to examine questions of shared interest across all jurisdictions. A focused analysis of the results of StudentSurvey.ie was included as an additional contribution to the collaboration. The results of the collaboration have been published in a book called Global Student Engagement (get your copy here). One chapter focuses on StudentSurvey.ie. The results of the global collaboration also make up one of the chapters.
StudentSurvey.ie results have been presented at the European Higher Education Society Conference in September 2022.
There are many more possibilities for further analysis of the data than those which can be carried out by participating institutions and/ or the central StudentSurvey.ie project management function. Contact the Project Manager at email@example.com to discuss these possibilities or to propose ideas for future research. Additionally, the anonymised StudentSurvey.ie dataset (anonymised at the level of individual respondent and individual institution) is archived with the Irish Social Sciences Data Archive annually and may be accessed by request.