December 10, 2023

NSSE Survey 2019: The Value of Surveys in Higher Education

Author: David Hubler
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By David E. Hubler
Contributor, Online Learning Tips

On February 14, first- and fourth-year AMU and APU students will receive an email invitation to participate in the 2019 National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE). Qualified students will have until May 20 to participate in the survey.

Note: If you qualify to take the survey but have trouble locating your invitation, you can also visit NSSE’s website, click on “don’t know your login ID,” and then complete the survey.

NSSE examines and measures college students’ learning and development based on their responses to the survey. APUS was built for students and with their needs in mind first. Thus, student input is critical to building the university around student input.

APUS and other participating institutions of higher education will use the collected data to improve student experiences in both brick-and-mortar and virtual classroom colleges.

“It’s all about helping us better define our quality. It’s the quality of the student experience, the quality of the curriculum,” said Dr. Christina Dryden, Associate Dean, Curriculum and Assessment. “It’s really about their experience. It’s about their interactions with the faculty, the interactions with the staff, and this survey information helps us make changes.”

Survey Examines Good Practices in Undergraduate Education

At its core, the survey examines the good practices in undergraduate education and the classroom experience: What sort of assignments do students receive? Do they write papers? How do they collaborate with their peers?

Without that kind of information, Dr. Dryden adds, “we’re just doing guesswork about what we think students might want. That’s why it’s so important for students to fill out the NSSE survey.”

Between February 14 and May 20, NSSE will send all students as many as five invitations urging their participation. The emails include a link to the online survey and instructions for completing it. The survey takes only about 25 minutes to complete.

Our History at APUS with the NSSE Survey

APUS has participated in NSSE almost since its inception in 2000. “We’ve used NSSE many, many times over the years,” Dr. Dryden said. “They have validated [the survey] and have changed the questions and changed how it is administered. It really is trying to help universities and colleges make improvements.”

For example, when APUS participated in the 2016 NSSE, a focused topic was “Experiences with information literacy.” That survey revealed that AMU/APU students “very often” or “often” completed an assignment using the library’s electronic collection of articles, books and journals.

That information provided insight into library usage as well as data that supported the university’s continuing purchase of various databases, books and journals. Also, survey results about learning support areas prompted APUS to put more emphasis and announcements on what online library services are available.

NSSE Will Send APUS Peer Group Information and Comparative Data

APUS will receive peer group information as well as comparative data based on the responses of all respondents.

“That allows us to compare our students’ experiences with a group of peers – competitors, other bigger for-profit online institutions,” Dr. Dryden said. “We can also say, ‘Here’s how we compare to our peers and identify our strengths and weaknesses.’”

To encourage greater participation, APU and AMU students who complete the survey this year will automatically qualify for a chance to win one of the 240 gift cards, each worth $25, that the university has purchased. Chances of winning depend on the number of students who fill out the survey.

Ready to contribute your thoughts to the 2019 NSSE survey? If you qualify to take the NSSE survey as an APUS student but have trouble locating your invitation in your inbox, remember that you can also visit NSSE’s website, click on “don’t know your login ID,” and then complete the survey.

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