NSSE Topical Modules
Starting with NSSE 2013, institutions have been able to append Topical Modules - short sets of questions on designated topics such as academic advising, civic engagement, development of transferable skills, experiences with diverse perspectives, learning with technology, and experiences with writing. Additional modules will be developed over time.
Institutions may add one Topical Module to the core survey at no charge and select a second module for $150. Institutions asking consortium questions can append no more than one module to the core instrument. The decision to add a second module, or a first module for consortium participants, should be considered carefully. Modules lengthen NSSE's duration and might result in increased survey abandonment. Please note that respondents will receive module questions before consortium questions.
To review NSSE Topical Modules, click on the following links:
This module examines students' experiences with academic advising, including frequency, accessibility, and types of information provided. It also asks students to identify their primary source of advice. The module complements a question on the core survey about the quality of students' interactions with academic advisors. (Complementary FSSE set available.)
Adapted from a pilot survey that was developed by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, this module asks students to assess their conflict resolution skills and examines how often students have engaged with local or campus and state/national/global issues. The module complements questions on the core survey about service-learning, community service or volunteer work, and becoming an informed and active citizen. (Complementary FSSE set available.)
Development of Transferable Skills
Adapted from a pilot survey that was developed by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, this module examines activities that develop useful and transferable skills for the workplace (such as verbal and written fluency and analytic inquiry). The module complements questions on the core survey about higher-order learning, reflective and integrative learning, and students' perceptions of their development in a variety of areas. (Complementary FSSE set available.)
Experiences with Diverse Perspectives
This module examines activities that promote greater understanding of societal differences. The module complements questions on the core survey about experiences with people from different backgrounds, diverse perspectives in course discussions and assignments, and the extent to which institutions encourage contact among students from different backgrounds. (Complementary FSSE set available.)
Learning with Technology
Developed in partnership with EDUCAUSE, these questions examine the role of technology in student learning, focusing on usage, contribution to learning, and perceptions of institutional support. This module complements questions on the core survey about learning with peers, quality of interactions with others, and institutional emphasis on academic support. (Complementary FSSE set available.)
Experiences with Writing
This module is the result of an ongoing collaboration between NSSE and the Council of Writing Program Administrators. The questions touch on three aspects of good writing assignments—interactivity, meaning-making, and clarity. It complements questions on the core survey about how much writing students do, the nature of their course assignments, and perceived gains in written expression. (Complementary FSSE set available.)
Experiences with Information Literacy
Developed in collaboration with college and university librarians, this module asks students about their use of information and how much their instructors emphasized the proper use of information sources. This module complements questions on the core survey about higher-order learning and how much writing students do.
First-Year Experiences and Senior Transitions
This module includes a set of items only for first-year students and a set only for seniors (based on institution-reported class level), with questions adapted from the Beginning College Survey of Student Engagement and the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project, respectively. The first-year items focus on academic perseverance, help-seeking behaviors, and institutional commitment, while the senior items explore post-graduation plans, links between the academic major and future plans, and confidence in skill development.
NSSE's Global Learning module assesses student experiences and coursework that emphasize global affairs, world cultures, nationalities, religions, and other international topics. The module complements items on the core NSSE questionnaire about student experiences with people from different backgrounds, course emphasis on integrative and reflective learning, and participation in study abroad. It is designed to complement the American Council on Education's 2016 edition of the Mapping Internationalization on U.S. Campuses survey.
Global Perspectives—Cognitive and Social (Available 2013-2015)
NSSE has partnered with the Global Perspective Institute to derive a short module from the Global Perspective Inventory (GPI). The module probes the cognitive and social elements of a global perspective, asking about experiences with global learning and views on intercultural understanding. The module complements questions on the core survey about student experiences with people from different backgrounds, course emphasis on integrative and reflective learning, and participation in study abroad.