William Paterson University is innovating the student experience
How William Paterson University is turning insights into action and driving a better student experience.
Located in Wayne, New Jersey, William Paterson University is a public institution with approximately 10,000 students. Like many colleges, William Paterson asks its students to complete evaluation surveys to gauge course quality and instructor effectiveness. Initially, the university distributed digital surveys for its online courses only. Traditional paper and pencil forms were still being used on campus.
In fall 2018, William Paterson began a pilot project using Qualtrics Course Evaluations. After several tests revealed the efficiency and engagement gains provided by the platform, it was rolled out for all online and in-person classes in fall 2020.
Streamlining execution and analysis
Previously, each academic department at William Paterson had its own set of evaluation questions. Within each department, evaluations were further divided by whether the faculty member was tenured or non-tenured. The result? Multiple survey variations with a total of 750 questions to wade through. This complicated the distribution and management of the survey, as well as the analysis: With questions formatted differently across departments, it was difficult to compare performance objectively. The solution? Centralize course evaluation data on a single platform.
Enabling constructive engagement
Digitization has helped William Paterson gather more insightful feedback than ever before. Because students can access the surveys on their computers or smartphones anytime, anywhere, they are more likely to answer the open-ended questions with constructive and informative feedback. Email reminders are effective in nudging procrastinators, especially when William Paterson can change subject lines and copy to avoid repeating the same message multiple times.
Adjusting for proactive, actionable insights
Another benefit of the Course Evaluations platform is the flexibility to fine-tune surveys and gather feedback before it’s too late to take action. Core questions can be edited at any time to improve the quality of responses. Mid-semester surveys can help struggling students get on the path to a better grade. And data visualization tools within the platform make it easy to spot trends — good or bad — and make decisions accordingly.
"With Qualtrics, all of our data is centralized and we can easily analyze it through our dashboards." -William Patterson Univeristy
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