Frequently Asked Questions

General

EDUCAUSE Analytics Services provides higher education leaders with data on information technology practice and use. We collect data about institutions and their technology users (e.g., students, faculty) to help you identify peer institutions, research common technology solutions, benchmark resources, and gain insight on user needs. Our Analytics Services Portal is the online tool you use to contribute and access data.

Individuals at institutions of higher education with an EDUCAUSE login and defined roles are able to use the Analytics Services Portal. Higher education consultants, corporations, and other organizations can get access to data summaries through our custom analytics offering. Fees start at $230/hour but may vary based on the request. Contact us for more information.

Institutional data refers to any data collected or represented about an institution. Typically these data are collected through the annual Core Data Service (CDS) survey, IPEDS, or through institutional profiles.

User experience data refers to data collected through an EDUCAUSE survey from an institution's technology user population (e.g., students, faculty).

Assigning Roles

  • EDUCAUSE Primary Representative at an eligible institution or system office—Authorized by default to assign roles, contribute institutional data (Author), sign up for and administer user experience surveys (Survey Administrator), and review data.

  • CDS Manager—Designated by the EDUCAUSE Primary Representative. They are authorized to assign the CDS Author role and contribute institutional data through the CDS survey. CDS managers are assigned to the Profile Manager role by default.

  • Profile Manager—Profile managers are designated by the EDUCAUSE Primary Representative. They are authorized to assign the Profile Editor role and contribute institutional data through the Institutional Profile.

  • CDS roles can be managed within the portal by going to "Peer Groups & Roles." Institutional Profile roles are managed on the Institutional Profile page by expanding the profile roles section.

  • The EDUCAUSE Primary Representative, designated CDS Manager, or Profile Manager must accept the Analytics Services Appropriate Use Policy (AUP) on behalf of the institution or system office before data entry or access can begin.

  • EDUCAUSE Primary Representative at an eligible institution or system office—Authorized by default to assign roles, contribute institutional data (Author), sign up for and administer user experience surveys (Survey Administrator), and review data.

  • Survey Administrators—Designated by the EDUCAUSE Primary Representative and authorized to sign up for and administer user experience surveys, assign the data & reports reviewer role, and review data.

  • Roles can be managed within the portal by going to "Peer Groups & Roles."

  • The EDUCAUSE Primary Representative or designated Survey Administrator must accept the Analytics Services Appropriate Use Policy (AUP) on behalf of the institution or system office before survey administration can begin.

  • Designated survey authors may contribute data through CDS survey modules. Authors are assigned by Primary Representatives or CDS Managers and authorized to input data on behalf of the institution. CDS Administrators retain Author responsibility for CDS. CDS survey modules can only have one author at a time. Module authors can assign the author role to another individual at any time.

  • Primary Representatives, Profile Managers, and Profile Editors may contribute data through the Institutional Profile. Profile editors are assigned by the Primary Representative or Profile Manager and authorized to input Institutional Profile data on behalf of the institution.

  • CDS roles can be managed within the portal by going to "Peer Groups & Roles." Institutional Profile roles are managed on the Institutional Profile page by expanding the profile roles section.

  • Survey Administrators—Designated by the EDUCAUSE Primary Representative and authorized to sign up for and administer user experience surveys, assign the data & reports reviewer role, and review data.

  • Roles can be managed within the portal by going to "Peer Groups & Roles."

All individuals with an EDUCAUSE profile at participating institutions may access and review institutional data. You must accept the Analytics Services Appropriate Use Policy (AUP) prior to reviewing institutional data.

Data and Report Reviewers—Designated by EDUCAUSE Primary Representative or Survey Administrator. Data and Reports Reviewers must accept the Analytics Services Appropriate Use Policy (AUP) prior to reviewing user experience data.

Submitting and Editing Institutional Responses

The 2021 survey was open from September 13 through December 6, 2021. If you submitted responses by December 6, you can edit your responses or add more data up until June 1, 2022. If you missed the survey open period, you can pay a fee for off-cycle survey access. Contact us for details.

The CDS 2021 survey continues to focus on a small, core set of resource and staffing data.

The institutional profile is a new tool focused on providing you with the data you need to identify the most appropriate institutional and IT peers for benchmarking. EDUCAUSE member institutions have the opportunity to document and maintain key characteristics about their institution and their IT organization within the Analytics Services Portal. Institutional profiles are prepopulated with existing CDS and Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) data where possible. This new feature is open year-round for members to update as needed and when desired. Members at institutions with completed profiles gain immediate access to a network of peer institutions, as well as access to CDS data.

The institutional profile has two sections, the demographic profile and the technology profile. The profiles reach 100% completion status when all fields have a response that was submitted within the last year. Completion of the demographic profile is required for access to custom peer grouping and CDS data. Completion of the technology profile is required to connect with technology peers.

CDS Administrators should begin with these steps:

  1. Accept the Appropriate Use Policy to unlock the institutional profile and survey for your institution;

  2. Delegate data entry responsibility to your team; and

  3. Invite peers to participate so that you have access to more data.

To gain access to CDS data your institution must complete the IT Organization, Staffing, and Financing (ITOSF) module (the only module in the 2021 survey) and the demographic portion of the Institutional Profile. This will unlock access to ITOSF data, digital capabilities data, data from all off-rotation modules, and the benchmark resources dashboards.

To reduce respondent burden, CDS was shortened considerably in 2020 and 2021. The IT Organization, Staffing, and Financing (required) module is available annually. The most recently available data for all modules will be accessible through the portal at all times.

One of the CDS Administrators for your institution must accept the Appropriate Use Policy (AUP) on behalf of the institution before data entry can begin. To do this, they must follow the instructions for accepting the AUP within the Analytics Services Portal.

Visit the CDS 2021 Survey Glossary to access any terms used in the 2021 survey.

For the purposes of the 2021 survey, prior fiscal year is defined as the most recent fiscal year ending before September 1, 2021. In the United States, most higher education fiscal years end in May, June, or August; accounting practices vary internationally. This fiscal year definition is new for the 2021 survey. In this transition year, some institutions will find that they are repeating a fiscal year in their survey response, while others will find that they are skipping a fiscal year in their survey response.

Yes, please use either Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome with Javascript enabled to complete this survey.

To see your previous responses, go to the Submit and Edit Responses page. In the section for each module, use the "View Responses" dropdown to view each survey module you've completed since 2014.

If the survey has not yet been submitted, your responses are automatically saved. You can stop and start whenever you like.

Sometimes authors want to go into a submitted survey and revise their previously submitted responses. On the Submit & Edit Responses page within the Analytics Services Portal, click "Revise Module" to update survey responses. If you choose to revise data, your originally submitted data will be kept intact until you submit a revision. New responses will be reflected in the View Responses > View Current Year Responses view of the survey within 24 hours.

Completion status is refreshed on a regular interval. Please contact us at [email protected] if your completion status has not updated within 30 minutes.

It's fine to leave the survey incomplete. Please indicate that you do not plan to submit the survey by toggling to "no" for the "Will your institution participate?" question on the Submit and Edit Responses page in the Analytics Services Portal.

Yes. Use the "View Responses" dropdown on the Submit and Edit Responses page in the Analytics Services Portal to access all current and previously submitted responses. Once your survey shows up as complete, a "View Current Year Responses" link will appear in the set of actions under "View Responses." You may also print the final page you see after submitting each module.

CDS data are most valuable when all of your peers participate. During the data collection period, use the Community Progress graph on the CDS dashboard within the Analytics Services Portal to keep track of CDS participation progress for your peer group. Use the "Invite Peers to Participate" button to encourage your peer institutions to participate. You can choose to view participation status for prebuilt peer groups or any custom peer groups you have saved. Select the "Invite" link by each institution you want to contact and send the auto-generated email text.

Visit our institutional participants page to review the list of institutions that have participated in CDS since 2015. Institutions with current data access are indicated.

EDUCAUSE uses aggregated data obtained from Analytics Services data collection efforts in professional publications, public documents, public presentations, and other forms or forums that serve its members' needs and interests and the needs and interests of the larger higher education and IT industries. Please visit our library to access summaries and presentations using Analytics Services data. EDUCAUSE also reserves the right to establish other data services, both stand-alone and collaborative, when such services would best advance the overall interests of the EDUCAUSE community.

Administering User Experience Surveys

In 2022 EDUCAUSE will release an on-demand version of the 2022 EDUCAUSE student survey. Institutions will be able to sign-up for and deploy a survey to their student population during a survey window of their choosing through December 5, 2022. Institutions will be able to access time-stamped survey responses from their student population. This change in service model allows institutions to survey their students at any time during the year and/or multiple times throughout the year. For example, institutions may choose to deploy the student survey in the spring and fall.

Although EDUCAUSE may use data collected through this on-demand service for research purposes as needed, the annual EDUCAUSE Student Study research will be conducted with a nationally representative sample of students provided by a third party. The corresponding data collected by this third party will be available to institutions for benchmarking purposes through the Analytics Services Portal in June 2022.

User experience surveys collect data on a range of timely technology experience topics. The focus for each survey is informed by a panel of community experts. Past topics include:

  1. student learning
  2. connectivity
  3. student success and advising
  4. accessibility and accommodations
  5. student safety and wellbeing
  6. security and privacy

Survey instruments are made available for review and consideration prior to making a decision to participate. A copy of the survey instrument may be required for institutions that seek IRB approval.

The 2022 student survey includes questions that help institutions assess their students’ experiences with equitable access to reliable technology, institutional provision of technology, elements of remote teaching and learning that students want to retain or reject post-pandemic, privacy and security related to both identifiable and non-identifiable student data.

EDUCAUSE on-demand user surveys do not currently offer incentives for survey participation.

According to HHS regulation 45 CFR part 46, EDUCAUSE user study surveys are considered research involving human subjects (see Chart 01; Appendix A). This research, however, is eligible for IRB exemption under HHS regulations (see Chart 04; Appendix A):

  • 45 CFR part 46.104(d)(2)(iii) - Research that only includes interactions involving educational tests (cognitive, diagnostic, aptitude, achievement), survey procedures, interview procedures, or observation of public behavior (including visual or auditory recording) if the information obtained is recorded by the investigator in such a manner that the identity of the human subjects cannot readily be ascertained, directly or through identifiers linked to the subjects.
  • 45 CFR part 46.111(a)(7) - When appropriate, there are adequate provisions to protect the privacy of subjects and to maintain the confidentiality of data.

EDUCAUSE no longer requires explicit IRB approval to participate in user experience surveys. This research has been granted exemption through Advarra (Formerly Quorum Review IRB), an independent ethics and regulatory review service, on the basis of the following condition:

  • Research conducted in established or commonly accepted educational settings, involving normal educational practices, such as (i) research on regular and special education instructional strategies, or (ii) research on the effectiveness of or the comparison among instructional techniques, curricula, or classroom management methods.
  • View the "Notice of Exemption Determination."

Some institutions may continue to seek IRB approval on their own. If you need more information about the project or need assistance completing your IRB application, you can contact [email protected] and request assistance.

If your institution decides to seek IRB approval for an EDUCAUSE-hosted survey, we advise you to apply for an IRB Exemption because this research poses no more than minimal risk to subjects and all responses will be confidential. Each institution has a different timeline, process, and form for IRBs, but each institution will require information about the following:

  • principal investigator—survey administrators should list themselves as principal investigators for this research
  • research description—this research asks questions about students' and/or faculty experiences with and attitudes towards technology. The responses collected will help institutions understand how to use technology more effectively to benefit their students and/or faculty. Participating Institutions will gain access to data from their own students and/or faculty, as well as aggregated benchmarking data from a nationally representative sample.
  • methodology—institutions choose to participate and indicate their interest by filling out a planning form within the EDUCAUSE Analytics Services Portal. Each institution is responsible for distributing survey links to its students and/or faculty. Institutions are also provided with guidance on choosing a suitable sample size for their population. Survey responses are collected anonymously. IP addresses and other personally identifiable data are not collected. Due to this method of data collection researchers are unable to identify individuals or remove their survey responses.
  • risk/benefit assessment— responding to the survey is voluntary and will not directly benefit students or faculty. If an individual does not wish to participate, there will be no penalty or loss of benefits, nor will it affect their standing at their college/university in any way.

Institutions may also require information about data ownership and security, data use, integrity of the survey software, and protocol. Responses to student and faculty surveys are collected anonymously via the online survey platform Alchemer. IP addresses and other personally identifiable data are not collected. Due to this method of data collection researchers are unable to remove any individual survey response. Individuals cannot be identified by non-written survey responses. There are several open-ended questions in the survey. It is best not to include personally identifiable information in these responses. EDUCAUSE owns and maintains the data collected for the project. De-identified individual response data are stored on EDUCAUSE computers and/or in cloud-based storage systems. The data are stored indefinitely for use in analysis and benchmarking. Data are password-protected and accessible only by authorized individuals.

If you need more information about the project or need assistance completing your IRB application, you can contact [email protected] and request assistance.

Survey Administrators should begin with these steps:

  1. Accept the Appropriate Use Policy for your institution
  2. Complete a sign-up form for the surveys you wish to deploy to your users (e.g., students, faculty)
  3. Develop a survey sampling plan
  4. Deploy surveys to your users (e.g., students, faculty)
  5. Monitor response rates as they come in and send reminders to complete surveys as needed.

Survey Administrators can follow the prompts within the Analytics Services Portal to complete a planning form on the Manage Survey Plans page for each survey. Go to Analyze User Experiences > Student/Faculty Study to access and complete your planning form.

Most institutions that deploy EDUCAUSE user experience surveys use one of the following strategies for selecting users to survey:

  • Survey all users: If your institution is small (i.e. fewer than 4,000 students) or if you do not have a way to select a sample of users to invite to participate, send the survey link to your entire user population.
  • Survey some users randomly: Use the Sample Planning Calculator within the Analytics Services Portal to determine how many users to include in your sample. The recommended number of invitees will be based on your anticipated response rate and desired margin of error.

You are responsible for deploying survey links to your users (e.g., students, faculty) . In the past, institutions have been known to use the following methods to deploy survey links:

  • e-mail
  • posting links to social media
  • posting links to an LMS
  • creating posters with QR codes and hanging them throughout campus

Feel free to use the best deployment strategy for your institution.

Response rates to EDUCAUSE user experience surveys tend to be around 10%. EDUCAUSE recommends the following steps to encourage survey response:

  • Send a pre-survey notification about the forthcoming survey invitation and why it is important to respond. This can be via e-mail, a push notification, social media messaging, or other communication system.
  • Send a highly customized invitation message asking users to participate in the survey. Provide explicit examples of how you plan to use the data to improve their experiences.
  • Send at least two reminder messages; let users know if they are running out of time to contribute their responses. Survey administrators can monitor response rates at any time by logging in to the Analytics Services Portal. Periodically checking response rates may help inform your decisions about what type of reminder(s) to send and when.
  • Partner with one or more offices (IT, IR, academic affairs, student services, president/chancellor) to send a similar notification/reminders.
  • General advertising—promote the survey in a campus newspaper, on your website, in online communications, and on posters to familiarize your users with the forthcoming survey. Be mindful not to share the survey link with users outside of your sampling plan.
  • Involve student leaders and organizations—clubs, student government, student newspaper/radio/TV stations—to feature students talking about the survey.

One of the Survey Administrators for your institution must accept the Appropriate Use Policy (AUP) on behalf of the institution before data entry can begin. To do this, they must follow the instructions for accepting the AUP within the Analytics Services Portal.

Survey Administrators can monitor response rates on the Manage Survey Plans page for each study within the Analytics Services Portal. Go to Analyze User Experiences > Student/Faculty Study to view a graph of daily response counts.

Visit our institutional participants page to review the list of institutions who have participated in student and faculty surveys since 2004.

EDUCAUSE uses aggregated data obtained from Analytics Services data collection efforts in professional publications, public documents, public presentations, and other forms or forums that serve its members’ needs and interests, and the needs and interests of the larger higher education and IT industries. View publications and presentations based on Analytics Services data. EDUCAUSE also reserves the right to establish other data services, both stand-alone and collaborative, when such services would best advance the overall interests of the EDUCAUSE community.

Creating Peer Groups

A peer group is a subset of institutions. The Analytics Services Portal includes prebuilt peer groups provided by EDUCAUSE, which group institutions according to Carnegie Classification. You may also create your own custom peer groups based on institutional characteristics or by selecting specific institutions; these peer groups can also be shared with other individuals at your institution. Log in to the Analytics Services Portal. Select "Explore Peer Groups" in the "Peer Groups & Roles" dropdown menu.

Custom peer groups help you connect with and benchmark against institutions most like your own. The Explore Peer Groups tool within the Analytics Services Portal allows you to create and save a list of institutions based on several institutional characteristics. Peer groups are then available throughout the Analytics Services Portal to filter data based on only the peers you've selected.

Accessing Institutional Data

Institutions that complete the IT Organization, Staffing, and Financing module of the CDS survey and the demographic portion of their Institutional Profile have access to visually explore and download survey data using custom peer groups. If your institution completes your demographic profile and the CDS 2020 survey, you can access data in the Analytics Services Portal.

Within 24 hours of submitting the required Information Technology Organization, Staffing, and Financing module, you will receive access to data.

All individuals must accept the Appropriate Use Policy (AUP) before accessing CDS data. To do this, follow the instructions to accept the AUP within the Analytics Services Portal.

Individuals at participating institutions may access data for modules completed by their institution in 2021 as well as all CDS data on record.

Institutions that complete the 2021 survey will have access to CDS data within 24 hours of completing their response, until November 1, 2022. All individuals with an EDUCAUSE member profile at participating institutions may access data.

Go to the Submit and Edit Responses page in the portal. In the section for each module, use the "View Responses" dropdown to view each survey module you've completed since 2014.

IPEDS is the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System. It is a system of interrelated surveys conducted annually by the US Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). IPEDS gathers information from every college, university, and technical and vocational institution that participates in the federal student financial aid programs. The Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, requires that institutions that participate in federal student aid programs report data on enrollments, program completions, graduation rates, faculty and staff, finances, institutional prices, and student financial aid. These data are made available to students and parents through the College Navigator college search website and to researchers and others through the IPEDS Data Center.

EDUCAUSE is providing a subset of IPEDS data for the convenience of Core Data Service participants, including geographic region, sector, level, degree offerings, institutional category, revenues, expenses, net assets, endowment assets, student FTE/headcount, faculty FTE/headcount, and more. Because there is a delay in the public release of IPEDS data, we are not always able to provide data for the same time period as specified in the Core Data Service survey. For more information about how EDUCAUSE data aligns with IPEDS data, please review About EDUCAUSE Resource Benchmarks.

Accessing User Experience Data

Institutions that deploy any of our user experience surveys gain access to de-identified data as well as aggregate-level benchmarks. You always retain access to data for the years in which you participate. If your institution participated in a user experience survey since 2016, you can access data in the Analytics Services Portal. If your institution participated in a user experience survey before 2016, contact us to access your data.

All individuals must accept the Appropriate Use Policy (AUP) before accessing data. To do this, follow the instructions to accept the AUP within the Analytics Services Portal.

Data & report reviewers at participating institutions may access data for years in which their institution collected user experience data. Data collected from 2016 to the present is available through the Analytics Services Portal, data collected before 2016 is available upon request.

Individuals with the Data & Report Reviewer role at participating institutions may access data.

EDUCAUSE uses aggregated data obtained from Analytics Services data collection efforts in professional publications, public documents, public presentations, and other forms or forums that serve its members’ needs and interests, and the needs and interests of the larger higher education and IT industries. View publications and presentations based on Analytics Services data. EDUCAUSE also reserves the right to establish other data services, both stand-alone and collaborative, when such services would best advance the overall interests of the EDUCAUSE community.