Design of survey for new OERu learners

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Key points
  • As part of the ongoing OERu project evaluation we aim to collect data from OERu learners participating in OERu courses and open workshops.
  • OERu participant surveys are optional and respondents will remain anonymous in accordance with the OER Foundation's privacy policy.
  • In support of the OER Foundation's open philosophy, data will be submitted and made available under a CC0 public domain declaration.
  • Items for the proposed survey questionnaire are derived from an eduMOOC study group who collaborated on the design of a research survey. Attributions of the original contributors can be found by visiting the page history
  • The survey is intended for first-time OERu learners.
  • Survey will be available for reuse on all OERu courses and aims to be sufficiently generic to be used also for open online workshops and instances where the anchor partner runs a full tuition version in parallel with the OERu course.
  • Items gathering demographic information are formulated to facilitate comparisons with data sets collected by the OER Foundation on a number of surveys.
  • We estimate that the survey would take 10 minutes to complete.

Please provide feedback by 28 March 2013. General feedback should be posted in the corresponding talk page. Feedback on individual items can be posted below the corresponding question.


Draft survey items

How old are you?

  • <15
  • 15-24
  • 25-34
  • 35-44
  • 45-54
  • 55-64
  • >65

Is English your primary or first language?

  • Yes
  • No

How would you rate your proficiency in English as a medium for learning?

(This question is intended for participants for whom English is NOT their primary or first language)

  • Basic
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced

Removed "Not applicable - English is my primary or first language" option, many first language users missed this option during the test.

On a regular basis, where are you located?

North America
South America
Eastern Europe
Western Europe
North Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa and Indian Ocean Islands
Asia and Pacific
Middle East
Central Asia
South Asia
East Asia and Pacific
Oceania and South Pacific

I identify my gender as ...

(Optional question used to track data on gender inclusiveness)

  • Male
  • Female
  • Trans*
  • Other

Are you in full-time employment or full-time voluntary engagement?

  • Yes
  • No

How many hours do you work in paid employment and/or allocate to voluntary work per week?

(Combine hours for paid employment and voluntary work)

  • More than 35 hours per week
  • 24 - 35 hours per week
  • 16 - 34 hours per week
  • 8 - 15 hours per week
  • less than 8 hours per week

What is your highest academic qualification?

  • School leaving certificate
  • Diploma or post-secondary certificate
  • Associate degree
  • Bachelors degree
  • Honours degree
  • Masters degree
  • Doctorate
  • Other

Which best describes your current roles(s)? Select relevant options(s).

  • Learner (Student, scholar, school pupil)
  • Educator (teacher, lecturer or trainer)
  • Professional staff developer
  • Manager or administrator
  • Technologist (e.g. web developer, software developer)
  • Researcher
  • Learner (student, scholar, school pupil) (Comment.gif: to be removed - same as first point --Vasi Doncheva 00:33, 22 March 2013 (UTC)))
  • Government official / public servant
  • Employee working in the private / corporate sector
  • Entrepreneur or business person
  • Concerned citizen
  • International agency official
  • Media representative
  • Independent consultant
  • Academic volunteer supporting OER university learners
  • Retired (added by Gabi Witthaus )
  • Other (Please specify)

How would you rate your general Internet skills (searching, navigation and browsing) compared to the average user?

  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced
  • Not sure

How would you rate your skills in using social software (blogs, microblogs, wikis' social bookmarking) when compared to the average user?

  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced
  • Not sure

How many years have you been using social media (blogs, twitter, social networking...)?

  • Not before today
  • 1 week or less
  • 1 year or less
  • Between 1 - 3 years
  • Between 3 - 5 years
  • More than 5 years
  • Not sure
(Comment.gif: Improvement by Niki -- thanks :-))

Have you participated in an online course before?

(Any online course including both open and closed online courses)

  • Yes
  • No
  • Not sure
Clarifying ambiguity regarding open / closed courses mentioned in the feedback below.

How would you rate your knowledge and experience of online learning BEFORE joining this course?

(Any online course including both open and closed online courses)

  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced
Clarifying ambiguity regarding open / closed courses mentioned in the feedback below.

Have you registered for a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) before?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Not sure

How many MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) have you registered for previously?

  • None
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • More than 5
  • Not sure
Changed "before" to "previously" as per feedback from testing below.

How many MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) have you completed previously?

(Where completion means that you completed more than 80% of the course)

  • None
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • More than 5
  • Not sure
Changed "before" to "previously" as per feedback from testing below.

Prior to joining this course, did you maintain a regular blog?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Not sure

Prior to joining this course, did you have a microblog account (eg. Twitter)?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Not sure

Prior to joining this course, did you have a user account on a public wiki platform (eg Wikipedia, Wikibooks, Wikiversity or WikiEducator)?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Not sure

Prior to joining this course, did you have a user account on a social book marking service (eg. Delicious, Diigo)

  • Yes
  • No
  • Not sure

Prior to joining this course, did you maintain and use a RSS reader or feed aggregator?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Not sure

What was your PRIMARY motivation to register for this course?

  • Professional development
  • Personal development
  • Formal study requirement
  • Research
  • Curiosity
  • Networking
  • Academic volunteer to support OERu learners
  • Other

Are you taking this course for formal academic credit?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Not sure

Which of the following best describes your INTENDED levels of participation in this course?

  • Registered knowing that active participating in the course is unlikely
  • Silent observer
  • Moderate contributor (i.e. adding contributions from time to time)
  • Memorably active (i.e. completing >80% of the readings and activities)

How did you find out about this course?

  • Search engine (eg Google or Yahoo)
  • Microblog post (eg Twitter)
  • Blog post
  • A colleague or friend
  • WikiEducator
  • Printed publication (eg Journal, Newsletter, popular media)
  • Announcement from one of the OERu anchor partner institutions
  • Specified requirement for a course I'm participating in
  • Announcement on an email list
  • Other

Final comments, thoughts and suggestions Please provide any further comments, thoughts and/or suggestions below

Open text area response.

Any other questions?

Please list ideas below for any additional questions we should consider.

  • I would suggest including one or two open-ended questions - the data provided here could be really useful in follow-up studies with the same respondents after they have completed a course. E.g.: "What do you anticipate to be the three key challenges for you in studying via the OERu?" Also "What goals do you hope to achieve through studying via the OERu?" (I know there is a question about motivation above, but an open-ended question in addition would give very useful insights that could inform the drawing up of future surveys.) (Added by Gabi Witthaus )
Thanks Gabi - -that's a good suggestion. Yes, these additions will add value and I think we should included them. All the questions will be optional -- so respondents who feel the survey is too long, can skip the items. But agree -good data to have if we can get. A minor point, the survey will be anonymous so we won't be able to follow up with individual respondents. As we will be publishing the data openly, removing personal contact details from the public versions adds a layer of administration which we don't have the capacity to manage. --Mackiwg 01:37, 26 March 2013 (UTC)

Testing the survey

The draft items have been converted into a Google online survey form. We invite members from the OERu community to test the survey instruments. Please list your names below and indicate how long it took to complete the survey. Test responses will be deleted once field testing is completed.

Testers and time measurement

  • Joyce McKnight-7 minutes (with answer to one open ended question)
  • Wayne Mackintosh - 4 minutes (without responses on open format questions.)
  • Carina Bossu - 6 minutes (also without responses on open format questions)
  • Rory McGreal < 5 mins
  • Herbert Thomas < 5 mins (without responses to open format questions)
  • Hemlata Chari - 6 mins.
  • Nisha Singh - 6 mins.
  • Nicholas Kimolo - 4 minutes and 30 seconds ( Test comments on open format questions)
  • Andreas Link - 5 minutes (without responses on open format questions.)
  • Haydn Blackey - 3 minutes 30 seconds (with brief comments in the open format answers.) - sorry that I wasn't available to comment on the questions - but to a UK eye the use of the word 'before' in Q16 and 17 is ambiguous. We would say previously or 'before now' never a raw 'before' - but this may be a peculiarity of British English.
Thanks Haydyn -- we'll get that fixed. --Mackiwg 20:52, 27 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Vinod K Kanvaria - 3:30 minutes
  • Nellie Deutsch - 2.01 (used an online stopper)
  • Lorrie Graham - about 3 minutes.  I did not do any of the extended response questions.  I have taken several online courses while earning a bachelor's degree, but have not taken any OER courses, so that question was a little ambiguous. 
Thanks Lorrie - -will take a look. The intention of the question is to ask about online courses -- will see how we can remove the ambiguity. --Mackiwg 20:51, 27 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Deb Cordier - about 5-6 mins...with optional q's.
  • Cornelia Helmstedt - 4 mins.
  • Stephen Downes - 3 mins.
  • Carol Yeager - 4 mins.
  • Nellie Deutsch - 2.01 mins
  • Don - 5 mins (without responses to open format questions)
  • Anil Prasad - 4 mins (without responses to open format questions)
  • Balqis Thaahaveettil - 5 mins (without responses to open format questions)
  • Ravi limaye 10:05, 28 March 2013 (UTC) - 6 mins

Average time: About 5 mins --Mackiwg 03:36, 31 March 2013 (UTC)

Further comments based on field test of the survey

  • List comments here.