Survey Tools

What are Survey Tools? 

Survey tools are online tools that can be used to electronically collect answers or responses to questions from a target audience. They feature a variety of question types, including multiple-choice, ranking, open-ended, and many others. Cornell supports the Qualtrics survey tool and Canvas has a survey feature that is available within the course. 

Why Use Survey Tools? 

Find out relevant background information such as background knowledge, prevalence of commonly held misconceptions, current opinions of course topics, and reasons for taking a course. Check student learning without doing a graded assessment with informal classroom assessment techniques. Measure the effectiveness of a particular teaching strategy by conducting pre/post surveys that allow you to assess and document both actual learning that takes place and attitude changes over time.  

Lastly, collect mid-semester course evaluations by asking one or two questions about how your course is going. This gives you the opportunity to deal with any issues before the course ends, give insight into student learning and classroom climate, as well as demonstrates a willingness to listen to feedback/engage with students to improve the class. 

Considerations for Using Survey Tools 

  • When creating an online survey for your students, keep the survey as simple and concise as possible, and design effective questions
  • Check the survey by completing it yourself prior to giving it to students. 
  • Before conducting the survey, explain why you are collecting the data and share whether or not the survey is anonymous. Express how much you appreciate student feedback and explain how valuable it is to you as you refine your course. 
  • If you are requesting open-ended feedback, for example, guide students on how to provide effective feedback by articulating the characteristics of effective and ineffective comments. 
  • Provide an incentive for students to complete the survey, such as by offering a credit point, or give them class time to complete it if you know each student has access to the internet on a personal device. 
  • If appropriate, ask students to predict what you might discover. 
  • Share your results with students and explain what the results mean and how they might influence your course. 

Surveys in Canvas can be graded or ungraded, and can be anonymous as well. With anonymous surveys, often used to gather student opinions, results do not include any identifying information about the respondents. 

Getting Started with Survey Tools 

Contact the Center to set up a consultation to learn more about how to incorporate survey tools into teaching and learning. Several Resource Library items are also available to explore on your own.