I choose to write this week’s lab about Survey Monkey, as it is a website we frequently use in Residence Life. I have been using it for just over a year, mostly for use with my Main Desk Assistants and having them provide me with their schedules at various points during the semester. The Office of Residence Life also frequently creates surveys that we give out to residents to provide us feedback on their RA, or to the RAs to provide us feedback about trainings. We also occasionally use them to assess how much the RAs have learned through a training, so we can decide whether we need to provide more training in one area. Also, through my research, I found other ways of using Survey Monkey.

During my time, I have found the Survey Monkey was very easy to use. It didn’t require that I do any special training to understand how the website works, which should make it easy for a variety of users to use. That makes it easy for both my fellow staff members, as well as the people taking the survey to use.

One of the best features of Survey Monkey is that you can send out individualized links to different people to track whether people have filled it out. This is particularly helpful when we are trying to get feedback and test the RAs on what they learned during Fall RA training. Without their name being linked with their answers, we can follow up with RAs who haven’t completed it, to make sure they do. Then, by asking specific questions (such as which hall they work in, or whether they work with upperclass or first-year students), we can utilize their responses to see how we are doing as educators and to see how effective training was.

In terms of accessibility, I found a website, which comments on Survey Monkey’s accessibility, and how it is  compliant with Section 508 (“Section 508 is a US federal law that outlines standards that make online information and services accessible to users with disabilities.”) This, in addition to my personal experience with Survey Monkey, makes me think that this would be a great assessment tool for those in higher education to utilize, as well as others.

Overall, I am always interested in different ways to use technology, that I had never thought of. For instance, I had never thought of using Survey Monkey to collect participant information. This could be a way we could collect helpful information from residents about themselves (updated contact information, major, etc). Also, my research on Survey Monkey has solidified my wanting to use it further in the future. I knew that using it was more helpful for me than email, because it kept the information I needed in one easy place for me to go back to, but I hadn’t really considered how it would make things more accessible for my RAs and Main Desk Assistants. Not only do they get the benefits of filling out information online (and therefore, anywhere they have internet connectivity), but it also is an inherently accessible website, which should accommodate the needs of my MDAs, even if I don’t know they need specific accommodations. All in all, I am a fan!

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