Student Surveys

Student Survey Procedure

Policy Code: SS2014

Purpose

Student surveys provide the University with important feedback from the student body for planning, delivering and improving the services accessible to students throughout the University. This procedure ensures that surveys designed to provide student feedback on the provision of University services follow the appropriate planning, design and implementation steps to enable: 

  • coordination of the timing and quantity of student surveys, thereby managing the student survey load and avoiding student survey fatigue;
  • avoidance of excessive student surveying through the provision of shared data and survey analysis;
  • quality assurance on the questioning, sampling, delivery, data collection, privacy and storage of surveys;
  • identification of surveys where Human Research Ethics approval is required.

Scope

This procedure applies to all Federation University Australia staff distributing a new or existing general student survey to Federation University Australia students studying at Federation University Australia campuses.

A general student survey is a student survey where the purpose is to generate feedback on the provision of a service provided to students.  This includes student surveys conducted by third parties, including benchmarking surveys, on behalf of Federation University Australia.  It is applicable to all surveys where the survey is distributed to the student body or a cohort of the student body, including by post, email, social media, learning management system, face-to-face or distributed by hand-out.

Student surveys which are primarily governed by other University policies and/or procedures include:

This procedure does not apply to student surveys:

  • that are not distributed to students, such as optional feedback forms provided in a static location, e.g. on a service counter;
  • that are conducted as part of the Australian Government QILT survey suite;
  • that are marketing surveys targeted at prospective students, i.e. students that are not actively studying nor have accepted an offer to study at a Federation University campus.

Legislative Context

  • Federation University Australia Act 2010
  • Information Privacy Act 2000 (Victoria)
  • Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (2007)

Definitions

A complete list of definitions relevant to this procedure is contained within the Student Survey Policy.

A further list of definitions specifically relevant to this procedure is included below:

Term Definition
Survey Developer The Federation University Australia staff member responsible for the delivery of the student survey.
Survey Coordinator The Federation University Australia staff member responsible for approving the delivery of the student survey.
research survey A student survey that is deemed to require ethical approval from the Human Research Ethics Committee
general student survey A student survey with the purpose of either evaluating the performance of student related services or for planning the future delivery of student related services.
HREC Human Research Ethics Committee
QILT Department of Education and Training funded Quality Indicators of Learning and Teaching

Actions

1. Proposing a new Student Survey

  ACTIVITY RESPONSIBILITY STEPS
A. Determine the purpose, outcomes, data and timing of the survey Survey Developer
  1. Identify the purpose and required outcomes of the survey.
  2. Identify the data required to achieve the outcomes of the survey.
  3. Identify the date that the outcomes are required by.
B. Engage stakeholders Survey Developer
  1. Identify other possible stakeholders, i.e. other units / teams within the university who may:
    1. have existing survey analysis that could satisfy the outcomes of the proposed survey;
    2. have similar interests in the survey analysis or may benefit from receiving the completed survey analysis.
  2. Consult with the identified stakeholders who may provide input to the questions required to achieve shared outcomes.
C. Complete Student Survey Proposal Form Survey Developer
  1. Complete all questions on the Student Survey Proposal Form.
  2. Submit the Student Survey Proposal Form by emailing it to surveys@federation.edu.au

2. Approving the student survey proposal

  ACTIVITY RESPONSIBILITY STEPS
A. Review the Student Survey Proposal Form Fed Uni Survey Coordinator
  1. Review the proposed purpose, outcomes, data and timing of the survey with the Survey Developer.
  2. Review the survey proposal against the guiding questions for a Research Survey below:
    1. Is the data being collected expressly for a purpose other than maintaining standards or identifying areas for improvement?
    2. Is the data being collected for the purpose of research?  See the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research 2007 for further information.
    3. Is the data being collected and analysed linked to individuals?
    4. Does the survey potentially infringe the privacy or professional reputation of participants, providers or the University?
    5. Does the survey involve targeted analysis of data involving minority/vulnerable groups whose data is to be separated out of that data collected or analysed as part of the main QA/evaluation activity?
    6. Will the results be submitted for publication, included in a student Thesis or publicised external to the University?
  3. Consider the survey as classified as a Research Survey if the answer to any of the above questions in (2) are in the affirmative.
B. Provide feedback on the proposed survey. Fed Uni Survey Coordinator
  1. Advise the Survey Developer if the survey is considered a Research Survey.  Suggest how the survey could be developed as a general student survey, and/or advise the Survey Developer to contact the Human Research Ethics Committee to proceed with the survey.
  2. Identify if survey analysis exists that could satisfy the outcomes of the proposed survey.  If so, discuss with the Survey Developer the opportunity to utilise this analysis to either eliminate or reduce the need for data collection.
  3. Suggest alternative survey dates to the Survey Developer where the proposed survey timeline conflicts with core university surveys, e.g. eVALUate and QILT surveys, or is proposed for identified times of high student workload.
  4. Advise the Survey Developer if the proposed survey is likely to gain approval to proceed, and where approval is likely to be denied, provide reasons why the survey may be declined.
  5. Provide the Survey Developer with the opportunity to amend and resubmit the Student Survey Proposal Form where any changes are suggested to the proposal.
C. Amend the survey proposal Survey Developer
  1. Make amendments to the Student Survey Proposal Form if required as advised by the Fed Uni Survey Coordinator.
  2. Submit the amended Survey Proposal Form to surveys@federation.edu.au
D. Approve or decline the survey proposal Fed Uni Survey Coordinator
  1. Determine if the proposal to conduct the survey will be approved or declined. To approve the proposal, the following items must be provided to the Fed Uni Survey Coordinator’s satisfaction:
    1. The survey must not classify as a research survey.
    2. The outcomes of the survey should not readily be satisfied with data already available.
    3. The implementation phase of the survey should not impinge on the delivery of the University’s core surveys (e.g. eVALUate, QILT) or other surveys and activities planned during or surrounding the proposed timeframe.
  2. Advise the Survey Developer in writing of the outcome of the application via email: 
    1. Where the survey is approved, provide any restrictions that accompany the approval. (E.g. timeframe for conducting the survey.)
    2. Where the survey is declined, provide all reasons for declining the survey and provide recommended changes, if any, which can be made in order for the survey proposal to achieve approval status.

3. Reviewing the student survey proposal outcome

  ACTIVITY RESPONSIBILITY STEPS
A. Review the survey proposal outcome Survey Developer
  1. Review the approval decision provided by the Fed Uni Survey Coordinator.
  2. Proceed to ACTION 4 if approval has been given.
B. Re-submit the Student Survey Approval Form Survey Developer
  1. Make the recommended changes and resubmit the Survey Application Form and survey questions where the survey approval is declined and recommendations have been made for changes.
  2. Procedure recommences at ACTION 2.
C. Appeal the approval  decision Survey Developer
  1. Request that the decision is reviewed by the Director of Strategic Planning where a survey is still declined following the resubmission and the Survey Developer wishes to escalate.
  2. Provide to the Director of Strategic Planning a copy of the Student Survey Proposal Form, reasons why the survey was declined and reasons for appealing the decision.
D. Determine final decision on appeal Director of Strategic Planning
  1. Review the appeal, the reasons why the survey was declined and the reasons for appealing the decision.
  2. Make a final determination to approve or decline the survey proposal.
  3. Communicate the decision to the Survey Developer and Fed Uni Survey Coordinator.

4. Developing the Student Survey

  ACTIVITY RESPONSIBILITY STEPS
A. Determine the method of collection and distribution Survey Developer
  1. Determine the medium in which the survey questions will be developed and the method of distribution.  (E.g. developed in SurveyMonkey and distributed via email).
B. Identify the target recipients. Survey Developer
  1. Identify the target recipients for the survey.  (E.g. Students commencing in a Mathematics program).
  2. Determine how the contact data for the survey recipients will be obtained.  (E.g. existing Campus Solutions query, Student HQ etc.)
C. Include the mandatory survey elements Survey Developer
  1. Access the document Mandatory elements of a Federation University Australia general student survey and include all required text in the survey.
D. Develop survey questions. Survey Developer
  1. Determine the survey questions by aligning each with the proposed purpose and outcomes of the survey.
  2. Develop the questions in line with the Federation University Australia Student Survey Quality Guidelines.
  3. Produce a full draft copy of the survey.

5. Approving the Student Survey

  ACTIVITY RESPONSIBILITY STEPS
A. Submit a draft copy of the survey for review Survey Developer
  1. Send a draft copy of the survey to the Fed Uni Survey Coordinator at surveys@federation.edu.au
B. Approve or decline the survey Fed Uni Survey Coordinator
  1. Determine if the survey will be approved or declined for distribution. To approve the survey, the following items must be provided to the Fed Uni Survey Coordinator’s satisfaction:
    1. The survey must include the mandatory text items from the Mandatory elements of a Federation University Australia general student survey
    2. The questions must align with the purpose and outcomes of the survey.
    3. The questions should be of sound structure and where appropriate, follow the conventions outlined in the Federation University Australia Student Survey Quality Guidelines.
    4. The survey should be of appropriate length to achieve its purpose and outcomes.
  2. Advise the Survey Developer in writing of the outcome of the approval via email: 
    1. Where the survey is approved, provide any restrictions that accompany the approval. (E.g. changes to questions.)
    2. Where the survey is declined, provide all reasons for declining the survey and provide recommended changes, if any, which can be made in order for the survey to achieve approval status.

6. Reviewing the Student Survey approval outcome

  ACTIVITY RESPONSIBILITY STEPS
A. Review the survey approval outcome Survey Developer
  1. Review the approval decision provided by the Fed Uni Survey Coordinator
B. Re-submit a copy of the survey for review Survey Developer
  1. Make the recommended changes and resubmit the survey questions where the survey is declined and recommendations have been made for changes.
  2. Procedure recommences at ACTION 5B.
C. Appeal the approval  decision Survey Developer
  1. Request that the decision is reviewed by the Director of Strategic Planning where a survey is still declined following the resubmission and the Survey Developer wishes to escalate Provide to the Director of Strategic Planning a copy of the survey questions, reasons why the survey was declined and reasons for appealing the decision.
D. Determine final decision on appeal Director of Strategic Planning
  1. Review the appeal, the reasons why the survey was declined and the reasons for appealing the decision.
  2. Make a final determination to approve or decline the survey questions.
  3. Communicate the decision to the Survey Developer and Fed Uni Survey Coordinator.

7. Generating the survey distribution list

  ACTIVITY RESPONSIBILITY STEPS
A. Obtain list of students Survey Developer
  1. Create the distribution list by obtaining the contact details of students who will be invited to participate in the survey.
  2. Add the Fed Uni Survey Coordinator email surveys@federation.edu.au to the distribution list where the survey is distributed by email.

8. Conducting the survey

  ACTIVITY RESPONSIBILITY STEPS
A. Test the survey Survey Developer
  1. Send a trial version to a colleague or colleagues to review the format and typographic elements of the survey.
B. Open and distribute the survey Survey Developer
  1. Send the survey to the distribution list, ensuring that all required text from the Mandatory Elements of a Federation University Australia General Student Survey is included.
C. Send reminders to complete the survey Survey Developer
  1. Send a reminder communication, if required, to students who have yet to complete the survey.  This should be sent 7-10 days after the survey has opened.
  2. Send a final reminder, if required, to students within 2-3 days of the survey closing.  No more than 2 reminders may be sent to students.
D. Close the survey Survey Developer
  1. Close the survey on the closing date and time.
  2. Accept no more responses after the closing date and time.

9. Collating and storing the survey data

  ACTIVITY RESPONSIBILITY STEPS
A. De-identify the survey data Survey Developer
  1. De-identify the survey data where the survey responses can be traced back to the individual student, e.g. by a name or email address. The data should be de-identified by:
    1. Extracting the survey data from the survey tool.
    2. Deleting or separating identifying data from the extracted data.
    3. Saving the extract without the identifying data.
    4. Deleting or destroying the original collected data within the survey instrument.
B. Classify the survey data Survey Developer
  1. Classify the data in accordance with the Federation University Data Classification and Usage Policy and Procedure.
C. Store the data Survey Developer
  1. Store the data in accordance with Federation University Data Storage Policy and Procedure.

10. Analysing the survey data

  ACTIVITY RESPONSIBILITY STEPS
A. Analyse the survey data Survey Developer
  1. Perform the analysis on the data, matching the analysis to the defined purpose of the survey.
B. Distribute the analysis to stakeholders Survey Developer
  1. Distribute the analysis to all identified stakeholders, including providing a copy to the Fed Uni Survey Coordinator at surveys@federation.edu.au  

Responsibility

  • DVC Learning and Quality (as the Approval Authority) responsible for monitoring the implementation, outcomes and scheduled review of this procedure
  • Director of Strategic Planning (as the Policy Sponsor) responsible for maintaining the content of this procedure as delegated by the DVC Learning and Quality
  • Federation University Survey Coordinator is the person responsible for the administration support for the maintenance of this procedure as directed by the Director of Strategic Planning

Promulgation

The Student Survey Procedure will be communicated throughout the University via:

  1. An Announcement Notice via FedNews website and on the ‘Recently Approved Documents’ page on the ‘Policies, Procedures and Forms @ the University’ website to alert the University-wide community of the approved Procedure;
  2. Distribution of e-mails to University staff;
  3. Notification to Schools

Implementation

The Student Survey Procedure will be implemented throughout the University via:

  1. An Announcement Notice via FedNews website and on the ‘Recently Approved Documents’ page on the ‘Policies, Procedures and Forms @ the University’ website to alert the University-wide community of the approved Procedure;
  2. Training sessions for existing survey owners;
  3. Instructional video.

Records Management

Document Title Location Responsible Officer Minimum Retention Period

Records documenting the development of surveys including:

Survey proposal forms,

Survey approvals

Data and Reporting Survey Drive Survey Coordinator Destroy 7 years after administrative use has concluded.
Student Surveys Stored by the Survey Developer according to the Data Storage Policy and Procedure Survey Developer Destroy 7 years after administrative use has concluded.