What To Say?

This afternoon when I got home from work, a large envelope from SCSU was waiting for me in my mailbox. In it was the Noel-Levitz exit survey which the graduate school gives to all degree recipients and graduate candidates. Well, I’ve been thinking for quite a while about my entire graduate experience, trying to come up with what I would consider to be a fair assessment of my experience. Do I want to share how dissatisfied I am about many aspects of the distance program? If so, with whom? I am starting to be able to look back at those experiences that have bothered me with a little less emotion. But ultimately, I think it is important to voice my opinions in some way.

So, then came the survey. I filled it out this afternoon and have it ready to be mailed back to the school. Now, I know that the Noel-Levitz survey is standardized and that is not tailored to specific institutions. However, it is in no way geared to distance students. There were absolutely no questions about the online/distance experience. A piece of paper was included, and we were invited to write comments on it. I furiously scribbled all sorts of comments in my No. 2 pencil about the need to do some type of assessment targeted at distance students. I hope that others have done the same thing. I’m debating whether I should write a letter with some of my thoughts about my experiences and include it with the survey. I haven’t decided yet. I still need to concentrate on finishing my schoolwork – and making sure that all of my graduation requirements are met.

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2 Responses to What To Say?

  1. Toni says:

    Oh, Jennifer, I did the same thing when I got my survey from SCSU last year: after discovering that none of the questions were specific to the online experience (and choices for general questions were not tailored to us), I also filled all available space with suggestions for including our large population. I’m sorry to learn that they haven’t changed it in the past year. Thank you for adding to the “cause.”

    I kept a copy of my comments and came across it 2 days ago as I prepared to complete the latest SCSU survey, one geared to us alumni. Once again, the questions were specific to on-campus enrollment. It was specific to the SCSU experience (naming particular programs), but was geared towards all alumni: bachelor’s and master’s recipients. I had to answer “no” to many of the questions, adding in block letters that I WAS IN THE ONLINE PROGRAM and, therefore, didn’t participate in extracurriculars; I also skipped over other questions because they were pointed at alumni from the undergrad program.

    This survey was brief and was as much about the SCSU experience as it was for learning what SCSU grads are doing now. This must be where they get their statistics about the percentage of graduates working in their fields and the percentage of graduates furthering their education.

    Thanks again for adding to what I hope are many responses from distance learning students requesting a more inclusive exit survey. Congratulations on completing the program!

    As you know, there is one last, big mystery in the SCSU program. For years, online students have asked the same question and received a common, vague response. Allow me to give you a little insight into that oft-listserved question, “when do I actually get my degree?”: I was also a May grad, and my degree arrived on September 7.

  2. Jennifer says:

    Toni, I am glad to know that I am not alone. While I’m not terribly bothered by taking a standardized survey, I really think that SCSU needs to be doing some specific assessment of their distance programs and distance student satisfaction (or lack thereof).

    And, thanks for sharing information about the degree!! I did know that it took a while to actually receive, but hadn’t had any real world confirmation. I appreciate all of your comments, etc. You have been a great source of support!!!

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