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SUPSI And Explorance Join Forces in a Strategic Partnership to Enhance Module Evaluation Surveys and Drive Quality Improvement Processes

Montreal, June 3, 2024 – SUPSI, the University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland, has appointed Explorance as its module evaluation survey provider.

The institution, one of nine professional universities recognized by the Swiss Confederation, has around 6,000 undergraduate and graduate students across eight subject areas. Its Directorate for Undergraduate and Graduate Studies sought a revised approach to its end-of-semester evaluations.

This project was completed by a team composed of the Directorate of Undergraduate and Graduate Studies members, the Higher Education and Teacher Training Center, program managers, department heads, and students. This allowed SUPSI to review the whole process and identify the new supplier.

“We were not completely satisfied with the questionnaire we were using, with response rates, and the operational part,” said Elisa Manfrè Bührer, Scientific Collaborator at the Directorate and project coordinator. “The way of using our old tool was not meeting our needs anymore. The knowledge in the institution on how to properly use it was rapidly diminishing and different users had developed their own logic on how to use the data. This was directly affecting the possibility to collect and analyze the data at the institutional and longitudinal level.”

Elisa put together a brief for three different course evaluation software providers. “What stood out about Explorance Blue is the dashboard, which will help us analyze data in the long run and enable us to use it for strategic decision-making,” she explained. “As part of this, we opted to centralize the process and find a tool that potentially would connect to our LMS, which Explorance Blue can. With our previous tool, we could only run PDF summaries at a module level. Still, not at a program, department, or institution level, we look forward to having more data reports for our module evaluations.”

The impact has been immediate despite only starting the new process and working with Explorance in September. “Before, we would evaluate a third of our modules every semester, but now, it is almost all modules,” Elisa revealed. “We also changed the evaluation questionnaire process, as the previous questionnaire was too long, and response rates are already up to 50% on average, which is much improved compared to where we were. Students used to receive their questionnaire after their exam session, and a big reason why response rates are very different now is that we are doing evaluations during the lesson, which also helps colleagues to reinforce the value of the process.”

Elisa continued: “Our objective is to improve the quality of teaching and learning and do it together with students. While implementing every suggestion is not always possible, module evaluations are an important tool alongside others to monitor and evaluate academic programs. In the future, we want to develop more than one questionnaire. The standard questionnaire works for 80% of modules, but it is not for 20%, which are more practical/lab-based. End-of-studies program-level evaluation is another possibility we look at through Explorance Blue.”

She added that Blue would give colleagues “the tools to work with and have an impact, with the responsibility to make changes if necessary, either at the module or whole program level” and that the institution is also looking at ways to close the loop with students, including collaborating with them on the returning data, potentially through access to module/program reports or presentation of actions on the SUPSI website.

“Even if a big step of the project has been made, we must not lose sight of the future opportunity,” Elisa said. “The support from the Explorance team so far has been great. They are always very responsive and flexible. I have also taken part in Blue training courses, which has been a really good experience, and the next step is working towards LMS integration, automation, dashboard development, and university-level reporting.”

John Atherton, VP of Sales EMEA at Explorance, commented: “We are pleased to be working with SUPSI on their institutional drive for continuous quality improvement, beginning with module evaluation surveys and potentially evolving into supporting other surveys.”

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