An important barometer of a university’s success is student satisfaction. To measure how it is doing in this area, at the height of the pandemic Sunway University offered over 7,000 students the opportunity to complete the Covid 19 Response Barometer administered by i-Graduate, which measures feedback on how leading universities in Malaysia have handled the challenges posed by this unprecedented situation.
A total of 42 institutions participated globally, of which five are from Malaysia.
While many universities worldwide have seen student satisfaction scores plummet since the start of the pandemic, with some elite Australian institutions recording a decrease, Malaysia’s Sunway University scored student satisfaction way above the global average in every category.
The global survey addresses the issues brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic and provided students a platform to rate how institutions have risen to the occasion and adapted to the needs of current times.
The main areas in the survey encompassed an institution’s overall response satisfaction, communication satisfaction and online learning satisfaction.
Sunway University saw impressive results, scoring 76% in overall online learning satisfaction against the global average of 66%. This indicates a high level of contentment in terms of online lectures/tutorials, assignments/group work, tests/exams, library facilities/ learning resources, instructions and communication from a particular school/department, and general communication from the university.
To ensure minimal disruption to the education process during the pandemic, Sunway University took on a pioneering role within the industry in transitioning from face-to-face to fully online lessons within a rapid turnaround, whilst maintaining the quality of content and delivery.
A survey respondent commented: “I believe the lecturer plays a big role in determining the quality of online learning. In my experience, the lecturers were responsive and hardworking, which made it easier.” Other independent feedback indicated that the quality of the online learning experience was also satisfying, with one respondent saying: “I am satisfied with the quality of online learning and it is beyond my expectation. I am happy to see the university quickly implement precautionary measures to ensure my learning was not interrupted.” The result from the survey, saw an outstanding scoring of 80% in overall response satisfaction, compared to the global average of 69%.
Creative initiatives on highlighting the importance of social distancing on campus also gave a much-needed boost of confidence and reassurance towards the overall level of student health and safety.
For one, Sunway University created a team of “social distancing companions” – cut-outs of well-known personalities and leading figures, which were placed across the entire campus. Permanently blocking certain seats on campus was one of the many measures implemented to encourage adherence to one-meter social distance seating.
The survey result indicated that communication during crisis situations such as the Covid-19 pandemic is vital. In the communication aspect covering physical health advice, well-being support, online learning resources, organisation of online lectures/tutorials, organisation of test/exams, travel restrictions, financial support and communication frequency, the survey recorded 83% overall communication satisfaction – higher than the global average of 76%.
Communication with the student and parent community, has been of paramount importance to many institutions throughout the pandemic. And few have been as consistent and innovative as Sunway University who have created video messages reminding students of how important they are and how much they are missed.
This piece was published in The Star. Read more here.