Frequently Asked Questions

Respondents

Q: Are my responses confidential? Will they be used for marketing purposes?
A: We respect your privacy. All survey respondents are provided complete anonymity. No personally identifiable information is released. No individual responses or contact information are shared with outside organizations.

Q: How long will the survey remain open?
A: The data collection period for our typical survey is three weeks. All respondents will receive a notice in the final week of data collection letting them know exactly when it will be closing.

Q: Does everyone get the same set of survey questions?
A: Not always, there can be multiple versions of the survey, and which one you receive depends on your role and whether your institution participated in previous surveys. For example, the Babson Survey Research Group has a data collection partnership with the College Board, where a number of our online learning questions are included as part of their Annual Survey of Colleges. If your institution completed these questions, we do not need to ask them again, so you will get the short form. If you did not participate, then you will receive the regular form.

Q: I don't have a lot of time to spend completing a survey; how long will it take?
A: Feedback from surveys has helped us design a short form. For most of our surveys, respondents can complete the form in less than 10 minutes.

Q: More than one person at my institution received the survey – why?
A: One of the goals of the research is to better understand the different perspectives of individuals with different responsibilities. The survey is therefore sometimes directed to more than one individual at a particular institution.

Q: We do not have exact numbers for some of these questions, what should I do?
A: We understand that not everyone has or can easily get all the information that we ask for. What we ask is that if you do not have the exact figures you provide the best estimate that you can.

Q: I see that Babson Survey Research Group is working with a number of partners in conducting surveys and producing reports. Do these partners have access to my responses?
A: No partner organization has access to any individual-level data from the survey. This includes all contact information as well as all survey responses. The only people with access to the individual-level data are researchers at Babson Survey Research Group.

Survey Reports

Q: How are the survey results disseminated?
A: As in previous years, a report of the survey findings is provided free of charge. An email announcement is sent to all respondents when the study is published. Copies of previous reports can be downloaded without charge from this web site.

Q: Didn’t your surveys used to be called the Sloan Surveys of Online Learning? Why the name change?
A: Yes, for the first eight years the survey and reports on online learning in higher education was known as the “Sloan Survey of Online Learning”, in honor of the non-profit Alfred P. Sloan Foundation that funded them as a part of their Education and Careers in Science and Technology program. The Sloan Foundation program has been discontinued, so the survey is now supported by other sponsors.

Q: Does having sponsors mean that the survey is not independent?
A: No, the survey and report have the same degree of independence as previously when they were supported by non-profit foundation grants. We have been lucky in finding sponsors who are willing to support the survey while agreeing to retain the same level of privacy promised to our respondents and the same degree of independence for the survey and report authors.

Q: Do partners determine the questionnaire or report contents?
A: No. The questionnaire design, all data collection, all analysis, and the entire production of the report is conducted solely by the Babson Survey Research Group. The Babson Survey Research Group interviews dozens of individuals each year to determine what topics they would find most interesting. Individuals from partner organizations are included in this process, but they constitute a minority of those interviewed. Once the interviews are complete, the questionnaire design is done solely by the Babson Survey Research Group. Likewise, partners have no role in the data collection, analysis, and report generation.