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Invitation to participate in National Student Survey received in spam-box

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Students of Utrecht University received a reminder on Wednesday 13 February, to complete the National Student Survey. In this national survey students give an opinion about their study programme. The first invitation sent out 29 January ended up in the spam-box for many students.

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Survey (NSE) is held once per academic year. More than 700,000 students in higher education assess their study programme by completing the questionnaire. The result is important for universities and universities of applied sciences. The answers are included in the ‘Keuzegids’ (selection guide on study programmes) on the basis of which secondary school students can choose their future study programme. If there are too few students from a specific study program at a particular university partake in the survey, that valuation will not be included in the Keuzegids. Utrecht University also uses the results to improve its programmes.

At the end of last year there was discussion within the university whether the UU would still like to participate in the NSE. The University had been dissatisfied with the NSE questionnaire for some time. They found the questions too general and the answers limited. The UU would also receive less insight into the results per program as a result of the new privacy legislation, as the students could also fill in the questionnaire anonymously for the first time. After a good discussion between the university and ‘Studiekeuze 123’(Studychoice123), new agreements have been made, after which UU has agreed to participate for at least another year.

Now it appears that the first e-mail to participate in the survey ended up in the spam-box of many Utrecht University students or was classified as spam in their inbox. Some students did not receive a mail about the NSE at all.

The problem is known at the university and at the National Student Survey. Kim Zunderdorp of Academic Affairs does not know exactly where the problem lies: “The mailing is done by an external agency. That office, Ipsos, indicates from which IP addresses the mail is sent. Our management ITS then ensures that these computers are added to an approved list, the so-called whitelist. As a result, the e-mail must reach the inbox of all students. At many participating institutions, including the UU, problems still appear to have occurred, which makes the e-mail marked as spam. We are now investigating what exactly went wrong with the first mailing.”

The university informed teachers and students about the problems this week via messages on the site. Students who have not received the mail on Wednesday are recommended to look in the spam box. If the invitation is not there either, students can go to the Studiekeuze123 website and request a new e-mail via a link to fill in the questionnaire. After this second e-mail, all students will receive two additional reminders to fill in the NSE.

Despite the problems with sending the invitation, 105.093 students had already filled in the survey earlier this week nationwide. “We are happy with the response so far,” says Pauline Thoolen of Studiekeuze123. “That is 13.8 percent of the total number invited.”

Students can compete for prizes by completing the digital questionnaire. The main prize is a travel voucher worth 2000 euros. In addition, there are still 500 vouchers from Ticketmaster to be won of 20 euros. Utrecht University is also giving away prizes. Among the participants, they are giving away fifty UU-hoodies and fifty vouchers for five free coffees or teas at Gutenberg, Goliath, Lodewijk or Jazzmans.

Depending on the experiences of this survey, the University determines whether or not it will continue to participate in the NSE in the coming years.

 

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