Driving automation in Stockholm School of Economics survey processes with Blue

Institution:

Stockholm School of Economics

Location:

Stockholm, Sweden

Details:

Around 2,000 students

Solution:

Blue

Challenge:

Automation in the School’s evaluation and survey processes, and timely insights for institutional decision-making was hampered by manual approaches and time-consuming database administration.

"Blue has saved time and brought information together in one place. The whole thing is so much easier with Blue, and without the manual processes."

— Assia Viachka, Quality Coordinator in the School’s Program Office, Stockholm School of Economics


Key benefits:

  • Automation and time savings
  • Monitoring of response rates
  • Question personalisation
  • Integration of Blue with existing systems
  • Standardised reports for different levels

Manually-intensive local database management

Stockholm School of Economics (SSE) is an academic hub for ambitious students and researchers from all over the world. It is one of Europe’s leading business schools, with a unique business-community network, and in addition to conducting world-leading research offers Bachelor, Master, MBA, PhD and Executive Education to high-achieving students. By working closely with corporate partners and society at large, SSE has been creating opportunities for its graduates since 1909.

In line with its commitment to enhancement, SSE sought an external partner to automate its program evaluation and survey processes. “As an economics school, we know how to collect data,” explained Assia Viachka, a Quality Coordinator in the School’s Program Office. “We set up a quality assurance system some years ago, and institutionally this has developed over the years and been pretty stable. However, in terms of data management, we had been using a local database built in-house. This involved a lot of manual work, with the moving of data from one database to another for survey administration, so we sought an alternative approach. When I ran an online search of providers focused on course evaluations the only organisation coming up was Explorance, so I requested a demo of Blue. The team came in to deliver a number of presentations to different parts of the School. After an extensive business case was presented to management Blue was finally approved.”

Integration with systems supports automation

Blue’s integration with the School’s IT systems – including its Learning Management System, Student Information System and Customer Relationship Management system – has driven automation in its evaluation survey processes. These include “external surveys of those who have declined to enrol, as well as those who go on to graduate with us”, Assia said. “Integration is exactly the reason why we chose Blue and the main advantage in the beginning,” she revealed. “Collecting data, exporting and processing it all takes time. Blue has saved time and brought information together in one place. It has impacted on me: the whole thing is so much easier with Blue, and without the manual processes.”

A robust engine allows for customised reports as well as various methods of analysis, ensuring that SSE has the data it needs from every angle to support improvement. “The automated reports make results distribution much easier,” Assia said. “Reports are standardised. Aggregated reports with numerical evaluations are produced for program, department and school level. It is too early to point to any major changes as a result of the evaluations undertaken to date, as we are only one year in, but being able to report results almost immediately after courses end allows us to react and make changes quickly.”

Functionality to engage students and staff

Furthermore, the Instructor Feedback Dashboard allows program leaders to track the progress of their evaluations in a dynamic and interactive area and make any necessary adjustments to drive engagement. “The monitoring of response rates helps a lot – it allows us to keep track of who has not responded and to follow up with them directly,” Assia said. “You can manage tasks at an individual level and provide targeted reminders: only to the participant of a specific course for example. We will be increasing our focus on response rates this year, but this has definitely helped with student engagement.”

Another feature that has supported engagement is the Question Personalisation (QP) functionality already in the Blue system. Assia explained: “Colleagues are more engaged in the process, and in the discussion of topics, as a result of this functionality. Whilst course directors are currently responsible for mid-term evaluations, the final course evaluations sit with us in the Program Office. These are centralised with core questions, but academics have the opportunity to input through QP. As a small school we are able to engage each course director on a one-to-one basis. If they do not choose to complete QP, we will do that for them. But generally they are happy to add questions to the survey.”

The monitoring of response rates helps a lot – it allows us to keep track of who has not responded and to follow up with them directly

Assia Viachka, Quality Coordinator in the School’s Program Office, Stockholm School of Economics

Many more opportunities with Blue

Kristin Petersmann, who joined SSE’s Program Office as a Quality Coordinator earlier this year, identified further potential for Blue. “With a lot of courses now not running within a standard period, going forward we hope to utilise the Dynamic Days feature to allow for more flexibility in when the course evaluations are conducted,” she said. “I have also spoken to the School’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Manager who has identified that there may be an opportunity, through Blue, to undertake a survey on the experience of international students with education at SSE and in Sweden. This could be part of our program evaluation survey, or separate, with quantitative results being collected through Blue. I am also keen to work with the Students Association at SSE as they are also gathering feedback at class level.”

Assia added: “I would recommend Blue to other institutions, and I already have recommended the platform to several universities in Sweden and abroad. I know that Explorance, and its sophisticated feedback systems, can save a lot of time while improving the quality of reports. For us at SSE, the implementation process was great – we had a fantastic consultant – and have access to monthly meetings and very helpful webinars. We are now working towards integration with Canvas which we hope will have a significant effect on response rates. Thanks to the time we save by not having many manual steps in the feedback process, we are now able to conduct more surveys across the school.”

I would recommend Blue to other institutions, and I already have recommended the platform to several universities in Sweden and abroad

Assia Viachka, Quality Coordinator in the School’s Program Office, Stockholm School of Economics


BlueCase studyHigher educationStudent Experience Management

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