There are Several Good Reasons for Online SRI Surveys

December 11, 2013

By Jake Glover 

This is an update of my blog post from December 9 with corrections.

More and more institutions are making the switch from paper-based to online Student Ratings of Instruction (SRI) surveys and for good reasons. In a world where a majority of people talk, shop, and conduct numerous aspects of day-to-day life over the Internet, one of the first benefits of online administration of SRIs is that it meets students where they are. According to the Pew Research Center, 85% of adults 18 and over are regularly online. As we approach the day where there are more mobile devices than people, online SRI surveys are a natural method for collecting input. IDEA’s recent partnership with CampusLabs now means SRIs can be completed using mobile devices, making online access that much more convenient.

Online SRI surveys can result in significantly less time, inconvenience and unforeseen hold-ups in getting responses processed resulting in better opportunity to make informed and timely program and course level adjustments to improve student learning.

Online survey administration readily standardizes the administration process which holds benefits at the organization level be it department, program, college or an entire institution through reductions in the hours required to administer, collect, and tabulate surveys (this is especially true for written responses for schools who include space for them).

This same standardization benefits participants by offering greater opportunity to participate through extended survey access and frequent reminders.

One of the challenges to online SRI centers around response rates. Many institutions have found success by implementing some of the ideas found in this document. Other good suggestions can be found in this IDEA blog post.

Finally, one of the hallmarks of the IDEA SRI system is the high quality information regarding the teaching and learning dynamic happening on campus from one semester to the next. Research has shown few meaningful differences between online administration and those done on paper. By switching to an online format many institutions are finding workable solutions and reaping benefits from their online SRI surveys.

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