“12 big moment surveys”: A strategic approach to student experience with Blue

Institution:

Universidad Internacional de Valencia

Location:

Valencia, Spain

Details:

15,000 students

Solution:

Blue

Challenge:

More effective analysis and response to student feedback in an exclusively online university. Overcoming past issues around data preparation and automation, and executing a new approach to student feedback gathering.

"With accrediting agencies emphasising the requirement for institutions to do more to listen to students, we wanted and needed to hear what our students are saying. Surveys are an important way to do that."

— Jaime Yagüe Mayans, Responsible Customer Intelligence, Universidad Internacional de Valencia


Key benefits:

  • Going beyond course evaluation
  • Focus on analysis and feedback
  • Flexibility throughout Covid-19
  • Reporting mechanism across all levels of the University
  • Automation, thus saving time on survey administration

A commitment to enhance the student experience

Universidad Internacional de Valencia (VIU) is a private university in Spain. Founded by the regional government of Valencia in 2008, 70% of it was later acquired by Grupo Planeta, Spain’s leading family-owned publishing, media and learning group. Teaching and learning at VIU is conducted exclusively online, with students from around 60 nationalities receiving real-time classes via interactive video conferences which are streamed directly from campus.

The University is officially recognised by Spain’s Ministry of Education and all degrees and courses are required to meet the quality standards stipulated by the National Agency for the Assessment of Quality (ANECA). Jaime Yagüe Mayans, who joined the University in 2018 as Responsible Customer Intelligence, explained how the Spanish government agencies monitor closely institutions’ work in capturing and responding to student feedback.

“When I arrived at VIU it was as part of a new customer experience department and within that a new customer intelligence team,” he said. “Whilst the University had undertaken surveys prior to that, there was no real analysis and response to feedback. With accrediting agencies emphasising the requirement for institutions to do more to listen to students, we wanted and needed to hear what our students are saying. Surveys are an important way to do that, so we searched for different options and found Explorance. We really value Explorance’s experience in academia. It is exactly what we need, and Blue is more than a survey administration tool. From the beginning we saw its potential and valued the possibilities in terms of data preparation and automation. Most of our students have family and are working, and time is their biggest issue, but we find they are generally willing to participate more in surveys.”

Beyond module evaluation: the potential with Blue

Whilst course evaluation is part of the University’s requirement for Blue, VIU’s customer intelligence team identified “12 big moment surveys” and executed a more comprehensive approach to survey administration. “The idea is to be very close to our students despite them being far away, so we ask a lot of them through what we call ‘truth’ moments during their journey,” Jaime revealed. “We started with course evaluation on our list, but then thought ‘why should we stop there’? These include surveys ahead of enrolment, first weeks, internships and the final degree project among others, as well as course evaluations throughout the year. All this is delivered through Blue. Before we would survey but nothing changed as a result. Now the approach we have is to understand our students from the beginning, taking into account what they say, and deliver quick wins in response.”

“Before we would survey but nothing changed as a result. Now the approach we have is to understand our students from the beginning, taking into account what they say, and deliver quick wins in response.”

Jaime Yagüe Mayans, Responsible Customer Intelligence, Universidad Internacional de Valencia

Jaime highlighted two examples of where the surveys have been particularly successful and the University had implemented change as a result. He reflected: “Our ‘I want to meet you’ survey gives us one of our biggest response rates. We use this to find out more about our students, their reasons for choosing VIU and their expectations and concerns, which told us that time and juggling work/family commitments is their biggest worry. This gave us the platform to become much more personalised in our approach. Another example is our Virtual Campus on Blackboard Learn. Through Blue we involved students from the beginning, initially to discover how they would like to explicitly use it and the type of devices they have, followed by constant feedback on what they think about it.”

With Covid-19 meaning that internships – a critical component of VIU’s degrees – could not go ahead, the flexibility brought by Blue allowed the University to reach out to students to survey them in the early weeks of the pandemic. “We used Blue to see how our students were feeling, take a temperature check on how we could make things easier for them, and also re-emphasise that we want to hear from them,” Jaime said. “It was a place to share what their concerns were and use this to inform decisions that the University was making at the time. It gave us important insight on what we were doing, what was perhaps not so right, and as a result some clear points we needed to improve on. Generally, if we find something really big we will do a broadcast communication on it or involve those students in further focus groups, if not them personally then their fellow students.”

A platform for multi-layered reporting and analysis

Blue has also provided an opportunity for enhanced analysis and reporting across VIU, Jaime said: “Our job is to ask the right questions to give the right answers, but we do not work alone in the survey preparation or follow-up. We can now share the summary reports with more people for all the University, by academic department, and by each course. For the main person in each subject area they can see where degrees have performed better or not so well, and learn from each other. For our university leadership team there is an opportunity to see how things are going at various points in the year, and our customer experience and marketing directors can see if we are doing what we say we will.”

Jaime revealed that the strategic rationale for a more comprehensive approach to surveys, and the investment in Blue, was paying off. “With our students not being based on campus we will not see them for most of the year, so surveys are the easiest way to hear from them,” he said. “The most important feature of Blue is automation. This was quite a big issue before, in that colleagues were spending so much time manually preparing and sending surveys, and not having the time to do the thinking and analysis. Now we have the resources available to us and the results to make a difference – not just quantitative data, but the qualitative comments which are a really good place to find knowledge.

“The most important feature of Blue is automation. This was quite a big issue before, in that colleagues were spending so much time manually preparing and sending surveys, and not having the time to do the thinking and analysis.”

Jaime Yagüe Mayans, Responsible Customer Intelligence, Universidad Internacional de Valencia

He added: “Digital analytics give us an even better understanding of what we are being told in those comments, but the biggest difference from where we were is that the University is now comprehensively collecting and analysing data with a depth we were not able to before.”


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