Focus Group and Preliminary Survey Summary
Summer Session 2013
The following information is taken from focus group interviews with students who attended Summer Session COMM 347, MATH 123, ME 454, and PHYS 211; Online survey responses from students who took summer session courses (636 to date); and Online survey responses from students who did not take summer session courses (453 to date).
In focus group interviews, students said they took summer classes to graduate on time or graduate early, lessen their credit load in fall and spring, get to know the school, take “easier” courses and because they do better in a shorter course (more focused/dedicated; fewer distractions). However, they also indicated that money was a big factor. Some students said they would have managed their money differently during the year to pay for more summer courses.
Students surveyed cited the following as the top three reasons they decided to take a summer course at U-Idaho:
- Courses needed were offered
- Speed up graduation
- Availability of online courses
Students surveyed cited the following as reasons they did not attend Summer Session:
- Could not afford summer tuition
- Needed to work to pay for tuition during the regular academic year
- Wanted a break
- Go home during the summer
- Courses needed were not offered at UI
- Courses needed were not offered online
The following survey results indicate when students start looking for information about Summer Session:
- December 2012 (16%)
- January 2013 (12%)
- February 2013 (14%)
- March 2013 (24%)
- April 2013 (22%)
- May 2013 (10%)
- June 2013 or later (2%)
Students were mixed with regard to scheduling preferences. The best time-of-day to take a class included earlier, not before 11:30, afternoon, and later. Session dates were selected based on those attended, and more than one option could be selected; survey results indicated the following in terms of which session was most attended:
- 34% attended June 10 – August 2
- 23% attended May 13 – June 21
- 16% attended May 13 – June 7
- 15% attended June 10 - July 19
- 13% attended June 10 – July 5
- 12% attended July 8 – August 2
- 11% attended May 20 – June 28
- 9% attended May 13 – May 31
- 6% attended July 24 – August 2
- 14% said “Other”
Online course offerings were also mixed as some students voiced a preference for online because of the flexibility factor while other students felt the structure and interactivity of a F-2-F course was preferred. Survey results to date indicate:
- 52% took online courses only
- 16% took F-2-F and online
- 32% took F-2-F only
Students indicated they would like to see general education courses, pre-requisite courses, upper division courses that are major specific, high demand courses, more survey courses and more physical activity courses offered in summer. A list of courses that were requested via survey questions is attached.
Most students agreed that their summer experience was positive and they liked being in Moscow during the summer. Several, however, voiced concern about the condensed format – specifically 4-week sessions. They felt that for many subjects it was not enough time to absorb/retain information, and they wondered what material had been cut to fit the course into a condensed format that may be critical to their education. Survey results to date indicated students’ Summer Session experience was:
- Excellent (42%)
- Good (40%)
- Average (14%)
- Below Average (3%)
- Poor (1%)
When asked how Summer Session at U-Idaho could be improved, students indicated lower cost (courses expensive; online courses VERY expensive), longer courses (vs. 4-week sessions), more financial aid and financial aid information, not cancelling courses the day before they start, better communication from online course instructors, and a wider variety of courses (online, law and all upper division subjects). Survey results to date indicate:
- 80% indicated they would attend again
- 20% would not (of the 20% who would not attend again, the 48% indicated that they do not need to take any more classes and 32% indicated it was too expensive)
Less than 5% of students took summer courses from other institutions, and 75% attended U-Idaho during the 2012-2013 academic year.
Of the students who responded to the class rank question, 36% were graduate students, 33% were seniors, 16% were juniors, 9% were sophomores, 2% were freshman, and 5% were other. 46% were in the 20-25 age group category.
The majority of students took courses on the Moscow campus (47%) or online (41%).
The majority of students heard about Summer Session from their advisor (51%), from an instructor (21%) or from an email communique (18%). The majority of students (84%) indicated that email was the best way to communicate with them about Summer Session.