Open Educational Resources
Custom analysis of OER survey data is now available on a for-fee basis.
In addition to conducting and releasing our own reports, the Babson Survey Research Group also provides survey design and implementation services for other organizations. Selected examples of this work is presented below.
Driving Toward a Degree: The Evolution of Planning and Advising in Higher Education
A confluence of factors, including a shift to performance-based funding and declining student enrollment, has led to an increased focus on student retention and on-time graduation at postsecondary institutions. In response, over 100 vendors in the integrated planning and advising services market have introduced products aimed at improving student retention and graduation rates. These product offerings vary significantly in capability and maturity, but all aim to fix the inadequate model many institutions have in place, in which retention and advising efforts are disjointed and underserve the student. Our two-part series Driving Toward a Degree: The Evolution of Planning and Advising in Higher Education is intended to equip institutions with an understanding of this immature but quickly evolving vendor landscape. These papers also identify the gaps between the supply and demand sides of the market and, within the context of those realities, provide institutions with a guide for selecting and implementing a student success and retention strategy.
Finding a Fit: The Evolution of Student-Centered Financial Aid
Challenges and complexities within the financial aid process have a significant impact on students’ ability to pay for and complete school. Nearly 3 million students drop out every year for reasons related to finances. Beginning in 2016, Tyton Partners conducted a national research study with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and in collaboration with AACRAO, NACAC, and NASFAA to better understand the issues in the US higher education financial aid system and begin to develop some potential solutions.
The focus of this work was to identify, from both a student and an administrator perspective, the issues that are causing friction and challenges within the current financial aid process – specifically, the barriers created by the existing system and the technology currently being used. This study had two parts: a study of the evolution of how higher ed institutions have adopted various form of technology, and a broad-based survey of more than 1,800 higher ed administrators to determine their views on financial aid technology and the financial aid system more broadly.
Time for Class 2017
The Time for Class series was first published in 2015 to share findings from Tyton Partners’ 2014 surveys of over 2,700 postsecondary faculty and administrators on their use and perceptions of digital courseware. This paper is an update to the Time for Class series and includes findings from two fall 2016 surveys of a national sample of 3,500 postsecondary faculty and administrators. The purpose of this series is to illuminate the state of digital learning in higher education and to provide recommendations to the field on opportunities to expand digital learning in service of improved student outcomes.
Time for Class: Lessons for the Future of Digital Courseware in Higher Education
The Babson Survey Research Group has worked with Tyton Partners on a number of studies of K-12 and higher education. These include studies on Role and Potential for Instructional Technologies in the U.S. Adult Education Field, Resource Allocation and Use of Third-Party Providers for Student Services in Higher Education, and Lessons for the Future of Digital Courseware in Higher Education.
Digital courseware has the potential to alleviate the pressures building through the delivery of scalable, personalized instruction; however, the category as a whole has not delivered on its promise. In order to better understand the current state of the courseware market, Tyton Partners, with support from The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, completed a comprehensive scan of the postsecondary digital courseware landscape in the summer of 2014. This scan included a national survey of over 2,700 faculty and administrators and the review and analysis of over 120 products to develop a product taxonomy designed to help institutions and education professionals navigate the diverse and complex courseware market.
NASULGC-Sloan National Commission on Online Learning
The National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges (NASULGC, A Public University Association), in cooperation with the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, appointed the NASULGC-Sloan National Commission on Online Learning. This president-led commission is intended to assist and challenge college and university leadership to increasingly view online learning as a strategic tool to achieve broad institutional goals which, in turn, should lead to substantial benefits for today's post-secondary learners.
A critical part of this investigation was the examination of experiences and attitudes of the Presidents and Chancellors of these institutions. Quahog Research Group, operating through the Babson Survey Research Group, designed and conducted these studies.
National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges
Presidents and chancellors are assuming an increasingly visible and integral role in the integration of online education into the functions and missions of their institutions. This national commission was appointed, in cooperation with NASULGC, to better understand the knowledge base and experience of these institutional leaders relative to the strategic use of online learning. The initial effort of the Commission was to survey presidents and chancellors of NASULGC institutions to better understand their views and experiences relative to online learning, and specifically to explore the role of online learning in their strategic thinking. Respondents were also surveyed to determine what they saw as barriers to their strategic use of online education and what role NASULGC might play in the incorporation of online learning into their institutions' strategic planning.
Survey responses, when sorted by the importance that the institution places on online learning as “critical to the long-term strategy of the institution,” show several notable trends. Not surprisingly, institutions that include online learning in their strategic plans were comparatively more likely than their peers to value both the improved student access and recruitment poten- tial that online can offer, as well as the potential pedagogical improvements and increased rates of retention and degree completion. In addition, these campuses indicate a greater recognition of online learning’s potential in strategic partnerships, academic continuity in disaster situations, alumni out- reach, and as a tool for faculty recruitment and retention.
National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education
The NASULGC-Sloan National Commission on Online Learning has partnered with the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO) to gauge the perspectives and experiences of the leaders of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Predominantly Black Institutions (PBIs) in relation to online learning. This report summarizes the results of a survey administered to the NAFEO membership in November, 2007.
A preliminary, interview-based national study indicated a high level of interest by college and university heads in online learning as a strategic asset, with a majority responding that online or asynchronous learning was critical to their long-range planning. The survey of NAFEO CEOs yielded similar results, with 84.2% of respondents noting that online education is “critical to the long-term strategy” of their institution. The NAFEO presidents’ re- sponses are much more positive towards online education than those of chief academic officers at colleges and universities across the country that are surveyed every year by the Sloan Consortium (“National Sample”).
Virtually all (87.1%) NAFEO institutions that have online offerings believe that online learning is critical to the long-term strategy of the institution. A second survey item focused on the representation of online learning in the institution’s strate- gic plan. In contrast to the previous question, only 52.4% of respondents noted that online educa- tion was present in their institution’s strategic plan. However, that is still a significantly higher level than the national sample.
American Indian Higher Education Consortium
The NASULGC-Sloan National Commission on Online Learning has partnered with the American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC) to better understand the knowledge base and experience of Tribal College and University presidents relative to the strategic use of online learning. A survey of the CEOs, conducted in September 2007, was designed to stimulate a peer-to-peer dialogue among the presidents about the opportunities and challenges they face in more fully utilizing online learning at their institutions.
AIHEC was founded in 1972 by the leaders of the nation’s first six tribal colleges as an informal collaboration among member institutions. Today, AIHEC has grown to represent 36 Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs) in the United States and one Canadian institution. Unlike most professional associations, AIHEC is governed jointly by each Regular Member institution. AIHEC’s mission is to provide leadership and influence public policy on American Indian higher education issues through advocacy, research, and program initiatives; to promote and strengthen Indigenous languages, cultures, communities, and tribal nations; and, through its unique position, serve member institutions and emerging tribal colleges.
The survey of Tribal College CEOs indicated a high level of interest by college and university heads in online learning as a strategic asset, with 61.5% of respondents noting that online educa- tion is “critical to the long-term strategy” of their institution. The TCU presidents’ responses corresponded to those of chief academic officers at colleges and universities across the country who are surveyed every year by the Sloan Consortium. Tribal College presidents as a group are very similar to the national sample on the issue of wheth- er online learning is important to their long-term strategic plan. Surprisingly, it is those Tribal institutions that do not yet have any online offerings that feel most strongly about this.