Published October 22, 2020
It’s clearly been a formidable task for UB to transform from traditional in-person learning to a hybrid model during these times of COVID-19. But results of an early survey of UB students indicates that despite these challenges, UB students are continuing to receive a world-class education.
The survey, distributed by the Office of Academic Affairs to all UB undergraduate, graduate and professional students three weeks into the semester, found that the majority of UB students who completed the survey were very satisfied with their learning experiences. The results were positive for both undergraduate and graduate students, and across all modes of instruction, notes Graham Hammill, vice provost for academic affairs and dean of the Graduate School.
Results from the 5,336 students who completed the survey show:
“The survey results show that despite all of the difficulties presented by COVID-19, the UB faculty continues to provide students with a high-quality education,” Hammill says. “The surveys help us understand what is working, as well as the challenges students are facing, so we can continue to improve.”
The Office of Academic Affairs decided to conduct the survey “to formatively assess the effectiveness of our educational delivery during the ongoing pandemic,” says Carol Van Zile-Tamsen, assistant vice provost for educational effectiveness. “Since we are using a variety of instructional modes from in-person to fully online, it is important to ensure that students are having a consistent and high quality experience.”
A follow-up survey is being conducted this week.
The survey capabilities of SmartEvals, UB’s course evaluation platform, allows individual instructors to see the aggregated results for their own students, Van Zile-Tamsen says, which will allow them to more quickly respond to any issues that students might bring up through the surveys.
Academic Affairs also will distribute the traditional end-of-the-semester course evaluations, she says.
Academic Affairs is not the only unit gauging student satisfaction with instruction and other issues. Van Zile-Tamsen notes that Student Life conducted its regular six-week survey with new, first-time students to collect information on their adjustment to UB and the college environment. In addition, UBIT surveyed all students at the beginning of the semester on their technology needs, and soon plans to distribute its annual student technology survey.
Van Zile-Tamsen says the Office of Educational Effectiveness also recently surveyed all instructors to collect information on their experiences this semester with the variety of instructional modalities “to gauge how things are going and determine if any additional teaching resources and supports might be helpful.”
The results of that survey have been shared with the Center for Educational Innovation and UBIT, she says, adding that instructors will be surveyed again at the end of the fall semester.