Given the COVID-19 pandemic's substantial impact on higher education, the content of NSSE 2021 will differ from previous years in several ways. Our aim is to ensure that institutions have a robust set of assessment tools to help them during this unique time. We are changing a number of items on the core survey instrument and adding to our Topical Module offerings. To make space, some items and modules are being discontinued.
NEW ITEMS ON EFFECTIVE TEACHING
We have added four new items related to effective teaching practices to more deeply explore student experiences across all course modalities (online, face-to-face, hybrid), reflecting an intentional decision to have one version of the survey that would apply to all students. Here are the new items:
During the current school year, to what extent have your instructors done the following?Response options: Very much, Quite a bit, Some, Very little
- Taught in a way that aligns with how you prefer to learn
- Reviewed and summarized key ideas and concepts
- Enabled you to demonstrate your learning through activities, assignments, quizzes, etc.
- Explained in advance the criteria for successfully completing your assignments
UPDATED QUESTIONS ABOUT ONLINE COURSE MODALITIES
To identify students who study online or in a hybrid modality the following question, revised from previous years, will be administered:
What types of courses have you taken at this institution this current school year?Response options: Mostly in-person courses, Mostly remote courses (online, web-based, Zoom, etc.), Mostly hybrid or blended courses that combine in-person and remote instruction, A balanced mix of the above course types
To make space for these new items we deleted three questions from the core instrument--related to coming to class unprepared, attending art performances, and birth year. However, birth year will be required in institution-provided population files.
CUSTOMIZE YOUR OWN END-OF-SURVEY PROMPT!
Colleges and universities will also be able to append to the core instrument their own end-of-survey student comment prompt as an alternative to the four standard prompts we provide.
THREE NEW TOPICAL MODULES
We are pleased to offer participating institutions the choice of three new Topical Modules that should have broad appeal, given the transforming higher education landscape:
- Career and Workforce Preparation represents a collaboration between NSSE and Strada Education Network to address current interest in how undergraduate education prepares students for work and careers.
- Coping with COVID will help institutions explore the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on students' educational experiences, mental wellness, and everyday life experiences.
- Experiences with Online Learning will be based in part on Quality Matters standards used for creating courses that are structured optimally and engage students in key ways.
To make more room for these new modules, we are temporarily suspending the Experiences with Information Literacy module, and, as previously announced, the Learning with Technology module is being retired due to low participation.