ISSE 2018: Week 3 of 3 is now well underway

ISSE 2018

777 NCI students
777 NCI students have now responded

The third of NCI’s three ISSE 2018 weeks is at its mid-way point and, as far as all of us here are concerned, we are now into the homestretch with the finish line of Sunday, February 25th, well within sight. But, for those students who have not yet done so, there still is time to take the survey.

This morning, we can see that 777 NCI students, constituting a 23% response rate, have supplied their feedback. We won’t know what they have said until we receive their quantitative and qualitative data later this calendar year. Indeed, we won’t know which individuals have said what, as the feedback from our students is anonymous.

This being said, we can see that the response rates for students in the School of Business and the School of Computing are a little behind the average response rate for NCI as a whole, but that these numbers have been picking up in the past few days. This is partly why we’ve been asking staff, as well as class representatives, to encourage our first and final year undergraduate, and postgraduate taught, students to have their say.

We appreciate that it can take 12-15 minutes for respondents to provide their feedback and to take the survey. This helps to explain why we are using some incentives. But, even more importantly, we are using ISSE 2018 as a means to learn from our students, to hear that they have to say. We have used past feedback – see the ISSE 2017 – NCI report for example – to explore strengths and weaknesses in NCI provision:

ISSE 2017 - 'strengths and weaknesses'
NCI strengths and weaknesses identified by ISSE 2017

In addition, the constructive, insightful and profound words that our students are using are impacting positively upon practice – the quotes which follow below are just a sample of what our learners told us last year:

ISSE 2017 - what does the qualitative data tell us
ISSE 2017 – what does the qualitative data tell us?

So, with only a few days to go, we can honestly say that we’re looking forward to hearing what you, our students, have to tell us. And, in encouraging those students who have not yet completed their ISSE 2018 questionnaire, we can only ask you to take the survey.

ISSE 2018 – Week 2 of 3 is coming to a conclusion

ISSE 2018

Earlier this week, there was an opportunity to update colleagues attending the Learning, Teaching and Assessment (LTA) committee meeting regarding NCI’s participation in ISSE 2018, which also gave us the chance to generate further ideas regarding survey promotion, but most of all to engender wider staff and student participation in this year’s survey.

As of this morning, the NCI response rate stands at just over 18½% with 626 students having already taken part in the survey. As this second week of ISSE 2018 comes to a conclusion, and with just ten days to go, the response rate target of c.30% with 1,000+ learners providing feedback is still some way off, but it is not impossible to achieve.

This time last year, the comparable figures were slightly lower than they are now but, as we exhorted then, one last push is needed from here on in to make the responses received as representative as they might be! Thus, for example, a set of PowerPoint slides has been made available to staff, as well as to student representatives, in order to help promote the survey – they can be downloaded by clicking on ISSE 2018 PowerPoint slides and they are designed for use on screens across NCI, in classrooms at the start of lectures or in breaks, on Moodle, etc.

Those students who have not yet responded to their ISSE 2018 survey invitation will receive one final reminder at the start of next week, the third of three weeks in which NCI student feedback is being gathered between Monday, February 5th, and Sunday, February 25th, 2018. But, it is fellow students, including student representatives, as well as staff, whether academic, administrative or support, who can really help to make the difference in these remaining days. Let’s make this happen!

ISSE 2018 PPT slides
ISSE 2018 PPT slides


ISSE 2018 reaches the half-way point at NCI

ISSE 2018

601 responses as of 14.2.2018
601 responses as of 14.2.2018

As of this morning – Wednesday, February 14th – we can see that 601 of the NCI students who are being surveyed as part of ISSE 2018 have provided feedback. We won’t get to see what they are telling us until later this calendar year, but we do know that this constitutes 18% of the total number of our students taking part.

We’ll be taking this information to NCI’s Learning, Teaching and Assessment (LTA) committee meeting later this afternoon, a body which is made up of colleagues and student representatives. The new NCI LTA strategy which is currently in development, but not far from being agreed, highlights “student feedback mechanisms” as a constituent element of enhanced student participation; the idea in this regard is to integrate learner feedback with teaching design. So, we need to hear back from our students in order, for example, to help shape their curriculum. In turn, our staff (academic, administrative, support, etc.) are major players in encouraging that feedback.

The learners being surveyed are primarily first and final year undergraduate, as well as postgraduate taught, students. They should ideally access their survey via the emails they are receiving directly from the organisers into their student accounts; additionally, they can access the survey by clicking here.

Students may not be fully aware that there are incentives for taking part; but, as outlined in the previous blog posting, i.e. ISSE 2018: how incentives are operating at NCI, these include:

One4all gift cards worth €100 each to three participants, printer tokens worth €10 each to twenty others, and … Clubs & Socs Awards Formal Ball tickets, as well as NCIRL branded clothing.

But, more than anything, this is about us all showing that we value the student voice. On this day of all days, we should share the love!

ISSE 2018: how incentives are operating at NCI

ISSE 2018

This is only the second year where NCI is employing incentives as part of the Irish Survey of Student Engagement (ISSE) data gathering process. The advice from the survey organisers is couched in terms which might be described as ‘effective practice’, that is: by offering specific incentives to encourage our students to take part; such that this is part of an overarching institutional decision; while ensuring that incentives are targeted at students who have definitely accessed the survey.

As part of the preparatory work for ISSE 2018, we indicated to i-graduate that we did indeed wish to include incentives but, once again this year, we’ve sought to maintain these at levels which we consider to be appropriate. Thus, rather than one or two particularly large incentives, we’ve gone for a number of relatively smaller ones so that they can be shared out among some of those students who do take part.

As part of their invitation from ISSE 2018 organisers to provide feedback, our students are told: “As a thank you for your participation, we are offering One4all gift cards worth €100 each to three participants, printer tokens worth €10 each to twenty others, and much more besides to students who take part in this survey”. In addition, we are also now adding the following information regarding the ‘much more besides’: “these are set to include Clubs & Socs Awards Formal Ball tickets, as well as NCIRL branded clothing.”

The ISSE 2017 prizewinners were drawn at random by i-graduate based on the 663 NCI students who took part last year, and we then ensured that the incentives were passed on to the ‘winners’. To be in with a chance of winning one of this year’s incentives, all our students have to do is to provide their ISSE 2018 feedback either:

  1. by responding to the invitation sent directly to their email account; or
  2. by filling out their survey after clicking through here.

Thanks to all those who have already filled out their survey. We look forward to many more adding their voice to the ISSE 2018 feedback and, in turn, to distributing the incentives once the survey closes!

Clubs and Socs Awards Ball 2018
Clubs and Socs Awards Ball 2018

QA network #4: the four of us!!!!

QA network

Then there were four, and not just meetings, but colleagues participating in the QA network. With coffee drinkers present from hosts Griffith College, as well as Hibernia College and National College of Ireland, it was a real pleasure yesterday morning to welcome IICP College, the Institute of Integrative Counselling and Psychotherapy, in the guise of Dr Aine O’Reilly into the fold.

As our previous meetings show – see QA network #3, QA network #2 and QA network #1 for details – this was an opportunity to cover one item in some detail, in this case progress on re-engagement, but also to catch up quickly on other developments such as IT systems, the approach of GDPR, fitness to practice policies, etc., each of which might form the basis of a future meeting.

Ultimately, this fourth meeting was again about moving from policy to process, and vice versa … hmm, there may be an academic article in that! Many hands – i.e. four pairs – would make light work, but the spark of an idea has been lit and it may yet burst into flame.

While the subject of this QA network meeting was Re-engagement with QQI, something we’ve discussed before, our conversations in this regard were previously more in the abstract. But, now based on evidence from the pilot phase, it is becoming readily apparent that the Reengagement process for independent and private providers is going to offer each of us a real chance to take a step back, i.e. so that we can revisit policy frameworks rather than just getting tied up in the granularity of procedures.

An invitation for self-reflection should always be welcomed as an opportunity.

We are but humble servants ...
We are but humble servants …

ISSE 2018 – Week 1 of 3 is coming to a conclusion

ISSE 2018

NCI staff briefing, 7 February 2018
NCI staff briefing, 7 February 2018

ISSE 2018 is up-and-running in earnest, and the early signs are that response rates are fairly comparable to last year, which means that we have some work to do if we are going to break through the target of 1,000+ NCI students responding this time around.

At the staff briefing held earlier in the week, NCI president Gina Quin outlined our hopes for ISSE 2018, including a response rate target of c.30% which it is anticipated would match or exceed the national average. Thus, any encouragement that can be offered by staff, student representatives or students themselves to the NCI students taking part – i.e. first year undergraduate, final year undergraduate and postgraduate taught students – is more welcome than ever.

It is early days yet, of course, but from the response rate data to which we have access we can see that 329 NCI students from the 3,369 being surveyed have responded, which is just shy of 10%; the comparative figures this time last year were 300 NCI students representing 11% – see ISSE 2017 – Week 1 of 3 is coming to a conclusion for details. So, some work to do, but ISSE 2018 at NCI is running from Monday, February 5th, through to Sunday, February 25th, which means that we still have 2½ weeks to go.

Do remember that our own internal analyses based on data from ISSE 2017 – NCI report and ISSE 2016 – NCI report remain readily available online. This being said, past reports and actions in the light of them are not the only incentives for our students to take part; indeed, the email invitation that is being sent directly by the ISSE organisers to our students says:

As a thank you for your participation, we are offering One4all gift cards worth €100 each to three participants, printer tokens worth €10 each to twenty others, and much more besides to students who take part in this survey.

As the ISSE 2018 slogan says, take the survey! NCI students taking part in ISSE 2018 should either (1) respond directly to the email invitation which arrived in their NCI student email accounts on Monday morning; or (2) click on the link below and follow the instructions:


Irish Survey of Student Engagement 2018

ISSE 2018

NCI is participating in this year’s Irish Survey of Student Engagement (ISSE) between Monday, February 5th, and Sunday, February 25th, 2018, thereby offering our learners a three week window in which to provide anonymised feedback regarding their student experience, as well as the opportunity to reflect upon their own engagement with their studies.

It will come as no surprise that the QA@NCI blog is strongly encouraging all of our first year undergraduate, final year undergraduate and taught postgraduate students receiving survey invitations to take part. On average, one in five NCI students surveyed submits feedback through this mechanism, the response rate last time around reaching its highest level ever at 23.4%, which was slightly below the national figure.

Once again this year, we’ll be promoting participation in ISSE 2018 at the same time as reflecting back upon the feedback provided in past surveys as captured in the ISSE 2016 – NCI report and the ISSE 2017 – NCI report. You’ll also find us handing out various pieces of ISSE 2018 stash from our stall in the NCI atrium outside Learning & Teaching, this year including chunky A5 notebooks and snazzy highlighter biros, so why not call over to speak with us?

Further information regarding ISSE 2018, including access to the survey itself, is readily available online at – let’s see if we can get the local response rate up to the national average this year!

ISSE 2018 stash
ISSE 2018 stash