This is an archive of the 2013 version of ocTEL.

Readiness to study online questionnaires

My heart sank when I saw this task as I hate online questionnaires with a passion, but I actually quite enjoyed it when I got down to it.  Because we were being asked to look critically at the questionnaires the level of tedium which I normally experience was much reduced!  I completed the questionnaires for Penn State, San Diego Community College and Illinois Online Network.

All three questionnaires focussed on similar themes, namely the student’s motivation and reasons for doing the course, their attitude to completing assignments and meeting deadlines, also to commit the time required.  Most mentioned the suitability of the learning environment too, also IT resources available and the student’s level of comfort with using IT to learn and communicate with others.

Where the questionnaires differed greatly was in the amount of time required to complete them and the amount of useful analysis provided when the questionnaire had been completed.  Penn State’s questionnaire took me nearly 10 minutes to do and gave me a useless score (51 out of what?) but some detailed feedback on my answers.  San Diego’s questionniare took only 5 minutes and again gave me a confusing score (over 45 marks out of how many?!) but assured me I was ready to study and provided some good guidance on what I would need to do to successfully complete the course.  I think all round this was the best of the 3.  The Illinois questionnaire was by far the quickest to complete (1 minute or less!) but gave much less detailed feedback, a verdict of only 11 words!

I could definitely use this kind of questionnaire in teaching information skills to give students before a lecture or workshop in order to get them thinking about their own needs for the session, give them some idea of what to expect and assess their level of knowledge.

Behavioural and Social Sciences Subject Librarian at the University of Huddersfield.

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