During the spring 2017 semester the Office of Online Education piloted the Noel Levitz Priorities Survey for Online Learners (PSOL), administering the survey to more than 1,600 students enrolled in undergraduate online programs. Students rated a variety of statements regarding academic, enrollment, instructional, and student services in terms of their level of importance and level of satisfaction. This standard instrument allowed us to compare IU student responses to national learner responses from 152 other institutions that had also administered the PSOL.
The PSOL response rate was 16%, with 70% of the respondents from Indiana. We learned that our online students are fitting their education into very busy lives:
- 82% were age 25 or older.
- 52% were taking full-time course loads.
- 74% were employed full time.
- 64% were married and/or had children to care for.
Not surprisingly, the students told us that their most important reasons for choosing an IU Online degree were convenience, work schedule, and flexible pacing for completing a degree program.
When responding to the PSOL overall summary questions:
- 93% of IU respondents said that, so far, their college experience has met or exceeded their expectations, versus 89% among national online learners.
- 78% of IU respondents said they are “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with their experience thus far, versus 74% among national online learners.
- 83% of IU respondents said that if they had to do it all over, they would probably/definitely enroll here again, versus 75% of national online learners.
The Office of Online Education will use this pilot survey implementation to inform discussions around academic and student services to online students. We plan to use the lessons learned from this first administration to improve response rates and learn even more about our online students next spring.
Learn more about the survey from our PSOL infographic.