Assess teaching

Blackboard survey


Blackboard is an electronic course management tool that enables faculty and students to communicate and collaborate online through real-time chat forums, asynchronous discussion boards, e-mail, and online file exchanges. The software also features an online grade book and survey/quizzing tool.

With Blackboard's Survey Manager, you can create non-graded course evaluations or instructional assessments. Although a survey response is not linked to a specific student, surveys are not strictly anonymous because instructors can view a record showing which students have completed them.

Suggested uses of Blackboard surveys:

Limitations of Blackboard surveys:

Resource requirements

A moderate level of knowledge about instrument design and writing survey questions is required unless you are using previously validated questions or survey instruments. Also, training or experience in using Blackboard is recommended.   Students must have access to computers as well as to the course Blackboard site. [more]

Plan your Blackboard survey

STEP 1. Describe the context

Include the age, majors, educational background, motivation level, and skill levels of students. Also consider central goals of the course, your ability to implement changes, and how the instructional setting impacts your course. A worksheet is available to help you document your instructional context.

STEP 2. Identify stakeholder needs and develop central questions

Identify what is most essential for students, your needs, and any organizational priorities that impact your course or program. Central questions , informed by these needs, specify what you want to learn through an assessment. For example, "Are students effectively using online technology in my course?" A worksheet is available to help you identify stakeholder needs and develop central questions.

STEP 3. Determine the purpose of the survey

A survey should have a clear purpose and focus. Avoid the temptation of asking too many questions in a single survey or surveying students "just to see what's going on." Using your central questions as a guide, specify how your survey will help you gain insight, change course practices, or measure the effects of a change you have implemented. A worksheet is available to help you develop and refine your study’s purposes.

STEP 4. Determine how you will use the results

How you intend to use results should also guide the content of your survey. If you will not use responses to a survey question to guide course or program content or instruction, leave the question out.  A worksheet is available to help exemplify how to use results after determining the purpose of a study.

STEP 5. Develop your assessment plan

Decide at what point in your course you will survey your students and schedule it into your course schedule. If you gather information using other assessment methods, be sure to include them in your plan and schedule them at different times. Refer to the assessment planning process for additional help in developing your plan. Once your plan is made, begin creating your survey.

Create the survey

Selecting Tutorials, then Using the Assessment Tool under For Instructors and TA´s, and then Creating a Survey connects you to step-by-step instructions on how to create a survey.

Writing survey questions

Writing good survey questions is crucial to achieve the survey objectives and obtain valid responses. Rewrite questions until they are clear and succinct.  [more]

Determine question type

The information you want to obtain and how you plan to use it should dictate the question type or response scale you choose.  

[more about question types]
[more response scales]
[more about Blackboard surveys]

Organize and format the survey

An improperly formatted survey may confuse students and lead them to skip questions or not complete the survey at all. Limit your survey to 20 questions maximum so it does not become tedious. [more]

Editing the survey

Once you have created a survey, you can edit it by clicking on Survey Manager and selecting the Modify button. You can edit the text of a question or remove the question, but you cannot change the question type unless you write a new question.

Additional information

Babbie, E.R. (1973). Survey research methods. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing Company.

Page last updated: Jul 03 2013
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