Online Survey System

This will ideally be a generic survey system.

Several other teams will be conducting surveys related to their projects and gather the survey results in a database. Your team will provide support to these other teams. One or two of your team members could be given the responsibility to provide this assistance. The other teams needing your support include:

In addition to providing support to other teams using surveys, you will focus on the implementation of two applications: an online replacement for the standard paper course opinion survey and a DPS dissertation progress report survey system. Descriptions of the two applications follow.

Online Course Opinion Survey System

This system will serve as a pilot study aimed toward eventually having all Pace University Course Opinion Surveys go online with results tabulated automatically and available, for example, on an internal Website.

This will be an easy-to-use system for creating, executing, and viewing results from course opinion surveys. The system will be tested (pilot study) on several courses in the CSIS department in the fall of 2001 (and certainly no later than spring 2002) and we will aim for having the surveys go online for the whole CSIS department in the spring of 2002. Upon completion of the departmental study the system will be evaluated for consideration at the university level.

It is anticipated that the system will be used primarily for the standard Pace University course-end survey. Although this should be the default survey, the system should allow an instructor to easily create a survey of his/her choosing or to modify an existing one.

The database should maintain old surveys and results for courses by department, course code, semester, and instructor. It should permit compiling of composite results across departments, courses, instructors, semesters, etc. Composite results must be limited to surveys that use the same questions. Some examples of composite survey results include:

For an example of an online survey see the one used in CS616 last spring: CS616 Online Opinion Survey
and the corresponding Survey Results (best viewed with Internet Explorer). See Shreenath Laxman for implementation details.

Online DPS Dissertation Progress Report Survey System

This project concerns an online system for collecting, archiving, and summarizing monthly DPS dissertation progress reports. A Web-based system with graphical summaries would be optimal. This system should be similar to that of the Online Course Opinion Survey System, especially if most of the questions can be converted to ones requiring numerical or categorical answers. The team undertaking this project should work closely with that team.

Pace University's School of Computer Science and Information Systems runs a doctoral degree program, the Doctor of Professional Studies (the DPS) in Computing, that requires students to write a dissertation. The dissertation is a lengthy report of original research. The student, during his or her second year, is supposed to select a topic for the dissertation and find a faculty member to serve as his or her dissertation adviser. While the student is responsible for doing the research and the writing, it is the adviser's job to help the student stay on track. Staying on track involves meeting the deadlines for dissertation milestones from August through April of the third year and, ultimately, in May, completing a successful dissertation defense.

A pitfall within traditional doctoral programs has been students falling by the wayside during the dissertation phase. However, CSIS is committed to seeing its students through. An administrative mechanism for this is the monthly collection of progress reports. Each month a short form is sent as email to each student and, separately, to each adviser. Both forms ask the same questions about work completed during the past month and the intensity of student-adviser communications. Students and advisers respond by email.

Up until now, DPS staff has collated responses manually. Email replies have been printed. Then, for each dissertation (that is, for each student-adviser pair), the student's and the adviser's responses are copied onto a one-page summarization for side-by-side comparison. Because there are around 20 students in the class, each month 40 "returns" need to be collected and 20 one-page monthly progress reports prepared for review by the DPS Executive Committee and filing in students' folders.

Our wish is to make this monthly data summarization process less labor intensive with some form of computer assistance. The system will have to be sufficiently flexible to allow for changes in the questions on the monthly surveys (revisions in wording, adding new questions, dropping old questions). Also, the system will have to allow supplementary comments by students and advisers to be recorded, and it will have to allow the administrative staff to make manual annotations. Finally, it may be that the September through April duration of surveying "the third year" class could be pushed back into their second year or into a fourth year.

A sample of the survey emailed to students is shown below:

  TO:  DPS Students at Work on Their Dissertations
FROM:  Chris Longo, DPS Program Administrator  (914 422-4447)
  RE:  Tracking Progress on the Dissertation
DATE:  September 6, 2001


    This is a request for information on the headway you have
made in the past month on your dissertation.  Please return this
survey by email.

    Always remember that the DPS faculty and staff are committed
to helping you complete your dissertation in a timely fashion.
If there is anything that any of us can do to help, do not 
hesitate to telephone or email.  Along with your adviser, your
committee members, and the rest of the faculty; those here to 
help include Fred Grossman, Chuck Tappert, David Sachs,
Allen Stix, and, of course, myself.



1.a.  What "milestone deliverable(s)" did you complete during
      the past month?

  b.  Was the work "of finished quality" or close to it?

2.  If no deliverables were completed, what visible progress
    was made during the past month?

3.  How much did you communicate with your adviser during the 
    past month, and how much "real business" took place via each 
    modality?  Rate the value of each modality on a 0 (none) 
    through ten scale.

    a)  Approximate number of telephone conversations:

               their collective value:    |-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|
                                          |         |         |
                                          0         5        10

    b)  Approximate frequency of email exchange:

               their collective value:    |-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|
                                          |         |         |
                                          0         5        10

    c)  Approximate time spent face-to-face:

                 its collective value:    |-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|
                                          |         |         |
                                          0         5        10

4.  On a scale of zero to ten (completely confident), how sure
    do you feel that you will be ready for the dissertation's
    defense by next May?

    |                                                           |
    |                                                           |
    0     1     2     3     4     5     6     7     8     9    10