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  5. fi Series Scanner Case Study: Anglia Ruskin University

Anglia Ruskin University

Student Feedback Surveys

Industries:

  • Education

Offering Groups:

  • Scanners

Solution Areas:

  • Imaging Solutions

Regions:

  • United Kingdom

Challenges:

  • Raise response rates in order to improve the quality of teaching and learning based upon more credible data, representative of student opinion
  • Speed up processing time in order to respond to student feedback faster

Benefits:

  • Response rates trebled
  • Feedback to students was available within 2-3 weeks compared to the months needed by the previous system

University responds to pressure for improved student experience after tuition fee rise

"Fujitsu scanners and the Electric Paper data management system was the only solution in the running with the functionality to provide a flexible hybrid solution to raise survey response rates" - Dawn Hopper, Performance Improvement Manager, Anglia Ruskin University

Summary

After suffering from low online response rates, Anglia Ruskin University chose fi-6670A scanners from Fujitsu subsidiary PFU to overhaul their student feedback survey process, providing a hybrid system of paper and online surveys and dramatically raising response rates. The Fujitsu fi-6670A scanner is able to quickly and accurately produce high-quality scans of multiple choice forms and open responses, which are then seamlessly assimilated into the Electric Paper data-management system.

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The hybrid system has been successful in speeding up processing time and trebling response rates, acting on pressure from the rise in tuition fees to respond better to student feedback. The scanners have easily managed the volume of approximately 30,000 module evaluation forms per semester, leading to use of the system by other departments within the university and possible expansion of quality of service evaluations in the future.

The Challenge

Along with other universities in the UK, Anglia Ruskin conducts module evaluation surveys for every course it runs at the university as well as at partner colleges and colleges overseas. Data from the surveys is used for performance management purposes to make course improvements and reported back to students. The module satisfaction scores are also published on the Virtual Learning Environment from which students can access the scores to make more informed module choices. These surveys were originally conducted online, generating a low response rate of just 15-20%.

"Low response rates created a problem of data credibility. The issue needed to be addressed in order to respond to pressure for increased accountability to students and improved services in light of tuition fee rises." - Dawn Hopper, Performance Improvement Manager

The Solution

The university decided response rates could be raised if paper surveys were used alongside the online version. While the online system is convenient for distance learning students and those based off-campus, paper surveys available in lectures and around campus lead to higher response rates. Therefore, a hybrid system able to process both online forms and paper surveys was required.

The university was looking for a high-speed, simple to use and maintain solution that could easily digitise large volumes of documents of varying condition. Fujitsu’s fi-6670A scanners along with Electric Paper’s automatic data management system were the only product which offered the functionality required.

The solution was introduced in September 2011 and used for the first high-volume task in December when module-wide evaluation surveys were processed. The university’s two scanners and three-strong team are easily able to manage the volume of documents running through the system – comprising 30,000 surveys at the end of semester one and 25,000 at the end of semester two – with the team now able to scan all the surveys in a matter of hours and process all the information in 2-3 weeks, compared to the months previously required, thanks to the high speed capabilities of the fi-6670A (90ppm). The solution also automatically indexes and archives the information electronically for easy accessibility.  

Despite students often returning folded and crumpled papers, the scanners were able to process 99 out of every 100 documents, well within the accepted 10% tolerance level for unprocessed data. The on-board colour graphics adapter also provides superior image quality for recording tick-box entries, written comments and stained/dark coloured documents, making the system extremely suitable for the purpose.  

"We were very pleasantly surprised with the performance of the Fujitsu scanners. Even though we instruct students not to fold or crease forms, they often come back crumpled and distressed. The scanners were still able to process 99 in 100 forms, well within our tolerance rate" – Dawn Hopper, Performance Improvement Manager

Business Impact

"The problem many universities have is that students often feel what they say doesn’t get acted upon. Raising response rates to student satisfaction surveys and speeding up processing time is having a positive effect on the way in which modules are taught. It has meant academics are able to give students reassurance their concerns are being acted upon before the end of the semester." – Dawn Hopper, Performance Improvement Manager

The rise in tuition fees across higher education institutions in the UK has generated pressure to improve teaching and learning and provide better, more value-for-money student services. As such, ensuring students are being heard and their concerns acted upon is becoming increasingly important. Raising response rates to feedback surveys is an integral part of this goal, particularly since students often feel their comments fall upon deaf ears. Speeding up the time taken to process surveys means academics can report back to students before the end of the semester, reassuring them any issues have been identified and will be dealt with in a timely manner.

Since implementing the solution, response rates have trebled - rising from 15-20% to 65%, - while the total volume of documents scanned has increased 20-30% and is expected to double by next year as the solution is expanded beyond module evaluation surveys. The scanners have already been drafted in to process surveys from other departments which are heavy paper users, processing surveys on accommodation, catering, the union environment and other student services which are increasingly becoming as important to the student experience as teaching and learning.

The solution is saving time and resources, making data more easily accessible from the automatically archived files, and streamlining reporting of corporate key performance indicators - of which an increasing number are satisfaction based and can be pulled directly from the survey figures.

The Future

"Demand for the system is so high we are planning to expand our team, so that we can provide the solution to other departments in the University" – Dawn Hopper, Performance Improvement Manager

The solution is expected to expand further as student satisfaction reporting is intensified with the aim of making continuous improvements to the student experience, as well as making the quality of university offerings more transparent.

The newly introduced Student Experience Survey – a longer survey designed to probe further into certain service areas such as timetabling and estates - conducted for the first time this year, is an example of this. It is considered the current online response rate of 20% could be enhanced by employing the hybrid system - leaving paper copies in certain heavy traffic areas where they are more likely to be completed by students and then digitised by the Fujitsu scanners.

The university is also considering including module evaluation scores in the Key Information Set available to prospective students – which contains information such as the number of contact hours with tutors and data from the National Students Survey– should it become necessary, since the solution enables easy access to the information.

Conclusion

Fujitsu’s fi-6670A scanners and the Electric Paper hybrid solution have successfully improved student participation in evaluation surveys. The solution is an important contributor to improving student services and will continue to play an increasing role in future - particularly in light of the tuition fee rise which has put pressure on universities to provide an enhanced student experience.

The scanners and automatic data management system have also improved efficiency saving time and resources in the processing and distribution of information, and are able to cope with large volumes of documents and data at a time.

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