Category Archives: 2008 PSOL

Online Learners – What’s Important?

This will be cross-posted at my e-Learning blog. I have been analyzing some of the data (again) from the 2008 PSOL survey. This is the fourth year that we have used this Noel-Levitz survey at Lake Superior College. The embedded slides explain a bit more about the survey, including the four sets of data that are compared for online student ratings of both importance and satisfaction.

[slideshare id=834231&doc=2008psoldatacharts-1228861953635614-9&w=425]

(NOTE: visit SlideShare to use the full screen option.)

There are 26 items that are included in all PSOL submissions. You can add other items but only the first 26 can be compared across other populations since these are the only items answered by all students. In order of descending importance, here are the top eleven items for LSC students on the 2008 PSOL (survey item number is indicated at beginning of each line).

1. (20) The quality of online instruction is excellent.
2. (25) Faculty are responsive to student needs.
3. (11) Student assignments are clearly defined in the syllabus.
4. (18) Registration for online courses is convenient.
5. (07) Program requirements are clear and reasonable.
6. (06) Tuition paid is a worthwhile investment.
7. (12) There are sufficient offerings within my program of study.
8. (23) Billing and payment procedures are convenient for me.
9. (04) Faculty provide timely feedback about student progress.
10. (03) Instructional materials are appropriate for program content.
11. (10) This institution responds quickly when I request information.

There are clearly other items that are very important to online learners but are not included in the 26 PSOL items. Please leave a comment if you have some ideas about what they might be. Thanks.

Student Satisfaction: Online vs. On-ground

These slides show the comparisons between our 2008 PSOL results and the 2008 SSI (student Satisfaction Inventory) results. There are eleven questions that match up between the two surveys, including some that we added for that very purpose.

[slideshare id=591501&doc=psolssi2008charts-1221054827135496-8&w=425]

To clarify: here are the questions that were compared from the two groups.

PSOL # SSI # Item
01 45 This institution has a good reputation.
04 46 Faculty provide timely feedback about student progress.
07 66 Program requirements are clear and reasonable.
09 07 Adequate financial aid is available.
20 18 The quality of (online) instruction is excellent.
21 14 (Online) Library resources and services are adequate.
23 52 Billing and payment procedures are convenient for me.
24 50 Tutoring services are readily available (for online courses).
32 23 Faculty are understanding of students’ unique life circumstances.
34 32 My academic advisor is knowledgeable about my program requirements.
36 75 The LSC Help Desk responds with useful information and solutions.

Desire2Learn Scores High in Reliability

This is cross-posted from my e-learning blog: Desire2Blog

The chart below shows the results over the past three years to the following statement:

The online course delivery platform (Desire2Learn or D2L) is reliable. (click photo to enlarge)

D2L reliability chart from PSOL

The PSOL is the main instrument that we use to gather information from students about the online programs and services that we provide. In two of the last three years, reliability of the VLE platform (we all use Desire2Learn) has been rated as the most important factor out of the 30 (31 this year) questions asked of all students. The satisfaction rating (6.01 in 2008), is also one of the highest scoring. This year it comes in with the 2nd highest satisfaction rating out of 31 statements, with first place going to “Registration for online courses is convenient.” (rating of 6.21)

I realize that the reliability factor does not capture all of the pertinent information about a VLE, but clearly it is an important one. Credit for the high student ratings goes both to Desire2Learn for the product development as well as to the MnSCU Office of the Chancellor staff who actually host and troubleshoot the service for our several hundred thousand user account holders.

Congratulations are in order for these high marks related to student satisfaction.

NOTE: the survey uses a 7 point scale where 6.0 is satisfied, 7.0 is very satisfied, 5.0 is somewhat satisfied, and 4.0 is neutral. The other 29 items rated below the D2L item ranged in satisfaction scores from 5.96 to 5.12.

2008 PSOL Results

The results from the PSOL were waiting for me in my inbox when I returned from vacation on Sunday. I haven’t been able to do a full analysis just yet, but the preliminary look is very encouraging. I will be making several posts to this blog over the next couple of months detailing what we’ve learned from our online students from this fourth administration of the Noel-Levitz survey.

In broad strokes, of the 26 items on the standard PSOL, our students were more satisfied than the national average on 21 items, and less satisfied on only 5. Even better, the mean differences for those five items were not statistically significant from the national average. Better still, ten of the positive differences were statistically significant when compared to the national average. Here are the ten items: (click to enlarge)

PSOL results 2008

The asterisks system works as follows: 3 stars (***) indicates that the difference is significant at the .001 level. 2 stars (**) is a significance level of .01, and one star (*) is the .05 level.

We also have comparison data from the 2006 survey and the 2008 survey and I will be asking for a peer group report as soon as I get a chance. Once again the aggregate Minnesota Online data is not very pretty, but I’ll be posting some info soon about how our results compare with our consortium results.

Even though this is my first post on the 2008 results, I should probably repeat that I don’t actually put much stock in comparisons to the national group data since the demographics of that big group are not very comparable to our students. However, it is one of many comparisons that I make in order to see the whole picture.

Survey Incentives

USB flash driveWe expect to receive our 2008 PSOL results any day now. This will be our fourth year of using the same instrument to gather data about importance and satisfaction for our online offerings and services. This year we had a 23% response rate with 458 students submitting the survey out of the pool of 2,012 students who were invited to do so. All students taking at least one online course at LSC are invited to submit the survey.

The last time we used the survey was in Spring 2006. We only had a 17% submission rate (325 out of 1,889). In an effort to significantly improve the submission rate, this year we offered 40 (2 GB) flash drives by random drawing to those who submitted the survey. There were no incentives on 2006.

For about $440 ($11 per USB drive) we were able to gather data from a more significant group of our online students. I’m thinking that was well worth it. Now we need to find out what they had to say to us.

Fourth PSOL Dataset Coming Soon

Once again, Minnesota Online will be sponsoring the use of the PSOL for all interested schools in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities. LSC will be participating again this year after taking last year off. The survey will be available to students in February and we will likely have the results in the latter part of March.

This will be our fourth time gathering data with this instrument. The previous three years have provided us with a good baseline on which to judge future changes in importance and satisfaction to the online students. We have five optional questions where we can ask any additional items that we see fit. We are planning on trying to match most or all of those five questions with similar questions on the N-L Student Satisfaction Inventory (SSI). The SSI is a similar survey that will be given this spring to our on-campus students. This will give us even additional data with which to compare the satisfaction of our online students with our on-ground students.