I attended the 2017 HEA Surveys conference as I was keen to hear of any new survey developments in the sector, and to see if there are any sources of best practice that I can adopt into my work. I was also interested in updates on how to use data from the surveys organised by the HEA.
On the day, I attended a number of sessions on national surveys such as NSS, PTES and UKES. It was really helpful to get an idea on the techniques other institutions use to run and promote the survey, and also to report out and use the results. There were also sessions on new research and surveys that were being trialled at institutions, and it’ll be interesting to see how these develop in the future and if they’re adopted by the sector.
I attended an interesting talk on module evaluation where the university had taken a different approach to collecting data from what I’ve seen in the past, and a talk on a new piece of software that analyses open text responses and tries to find patterns in the feedback.
The conference was also a helpful way to meet people who have similar roles in other institutions. Being held during the PTES/PRES survey window meant that there was a lot of talk among survey officers who organise the survey on how they were going. A lot of the talk in the breaks was around sharing tips on how to raise participation rates and how best to report information and compile action plans.
Overall, I found the survey conference of great interest as it had a direct link with my daily work and role. There was a good balance with a lot of practical help and discussions on how to organise surveys coupled with wider discussions and research on new surveys and methods.