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The results of UvA panel studies will be used to improve the policies, the services and the facilities at the University of Amsterdam. Here you can see the results and potential follow up actions.

  • Results of research into opinions on the National Student Survey

    The Communications Office wanted to know how students feel about the National Student Survey (NSE): what are reasons for students to fill out the NSE? How would students prefer to be informed about the NSE? These questions were the focus of this research that was done through an online survey among students who are UvA panel members. The results are as follows:

    • 94% of the students participating in this research say they know about the NSE
    • Students who are familiar with the NSE have heard about it through their student email (37.7%), the UvA student newsletter (27.3%), their faculty newsletter (9.8%), Canvas (9.3%), social media (7.7%), via (3.8%) of via their study association (1.1%)
    • 91.1% of students participating in this study have filled out the NSE, 8.9% have not
    • The most important reasons to fill out the NSE are: “I think it is important that the UvA knows what can be improved about the university” (21.1%), “I think it is important that the UvA knows what can be improved about my degree programme” (21.1%) and “I want to voice my opinion” (19%)
    • The most important reasons to not fill out the NSE are a lack of time to do so (37.5%), not knowing what the results are used for (12.5%) and having lost the link to participate in the NSE (12.5%)
    • Students want to be informed about what the UvA does with the NSE results via the UvA student newsletter (30.6%), their student email (28.2%), their faculty newsletter (19.4%), the UvA social media channels (15.5%) and news published on (6.5%)

    In total, 85 students have participated in this online survey. The results provide an interesting first look at the topic and indicate potential points of improvement, but the number of respondents isn’t high enough to be representative for the entire student population.

  • Results Lean Testing Team Glass

    Team Glass is building a new application (mobile first) that shows students what they need to do to receive their diploma and that facilitates actions needed to achieve this. Through lean testing, Team Glass regularly asks students in interviews if what the team thinks about the usability of the app is correct and which parts of the app fit the students’ expectations. During the research students used the app in real-time so that its clear right away what they find useful about the app. This way, Team Glass receives feedback about the already built functionalities in the app and can adjust these where necessary. The research on study planning and course registration showed that:

    • Students want a clear overview of their study planning and want to see the effects of (not) passing a course
    • Students who struggle with their study planning quickly reach out to a study adviser
    • The ‘first come, first serve’ principle that the UvA uses for course registration feels unfair

    The application test showed which information the app should show for each course and that students are enthusiastic about the ease and the speed with which they can take action in the ‘to-do’ list within the app.

    The latest research showed that students didn't think the information on registering for courses and surrounding tutorials was clear enough. Team Glass will immediately use this feedback to improve the app. In the next study, the team will test further improvements with students.

    These studies are part of a long-term series. Input is used by Team Glass to further develop the (mobile) application and in follow-up studies about this app.

  • Results research about notifications

    Team GGSD asked students what they think about push information: how do they want to receive it, in which categories and what wishes and expectations do students have in receiving this information? These questions were the focus of an online survey that students in the UvA panel received. The results were as follows:

    • Students think email is the most important way to receive push information and mostly find the number of emails they receive from the UvA ‘okay’
    • Reading emails is done selectively by students based on the subject and the sender
    • At a first glance it is often unclear for students what the most important emails are
    • Students would like personalized push information and find it annoying when they receive push information that is (no longer) relevant to them
    • Students would like have a say in the information they receive and only receive really important and urgent information via their phone
    • When it comes to information channels students want one place for push information from the UvA, but not another place where they receive information

    The results of this research contribute to the development of a new studentsite / app in which there will be a better structure to send push information to students.

  • Results research about new student website/app

    Team Wish is building a new student website/app (mobile first) to help students stay well-informed. Through lean testing, team WISH regularly asks students in interviews whether the student website/app is user friendly and which parts of the app fit the expectations students have. During the research students use the app in real time so it quickly becomes clear what they do and don’t like about it. This way team WISH receives feedback on the functions within the app and can change these where possible. The research showed that:

    • The course programme filter needs to be more intuitive.
    • Ease of use/recognisability and consistency need to be top of mind in the terminology
    • The headers/titles in the information page can be written in an active voice and the amount of text reduced.
    • The navigation within step-by-step plans needs to be improved: where are you within the app and how do you get back to the plan?
    • The difference between a contact person and contact details needs to be made more clear.

    During the research on information pages the team mostly asked about overall navigation, look and feel, educational filters and in-page navigation (2 versions). All students were positive about the look and feel. Students could also understand what the different elements were about and knew how to get around the pages with the available navigation.

    Conclusions and improvements based on this research:

    • The inpage navigation wasn’t fully understood by students because it was an incomplete prototype
    • The function of the educational filter isn’t clear to current students just yet
    • Headers need to be renamed for better understanding by students
    • Long texts need better organization to accommodate scanning

    In subsequential research the most important results were:

    • Students appreciate the work going on. They now often have trouble finding information on the current student website and hope it will be fixed. In addition, students now often confuse the student website with Canvas.
    • The study programme filter works well. Students know where to find and how to use it. They appreciate the autocomplete function.
    • Students miss navigation on the site, because that hasn’t been built yet. The information pages, readability and length of articles are appreciated. Students describe the tone-of-voice as businesslike but fine.
    • Students approved of the contact, print and language button and the cookie notification.

    This research is part of an ongoing series. Input from these studies is used by team WISH to develop the student website/app and for following research on the app among students.

  • Results research awareness campaign social safety

    This UvA campaign is about undesirable behaviour within the university. The campaign wants to help both employees and students recognise what undesirable behaviour is, what they can do about this and how it can be discussed. Through quantitative and qualitative methods participants were asked during both research how they felt about the campaign: the design, the message and whether the contents were relatable.

    Important results from the online questionnaire (137 employees, 84 students):

    • Both students and employees think the topic and discussing situations that are shown in the campaign are important
    • Awareness about and being able to discuss undesirable behaviour is recognized as the goal of the campaign
    • It’s important to pay for attention to informing people:
      1. 68% of students say they don’t know where to go if they have experienced an unsafe situation or undesirable behaviour at the UvA, and 28% of employees don’t know either
      2. The code of conduct is too little known among students (only 35% of students know of the code) and awareness among employees can be increased further (58% of employees know of the code)
    • 80% of employees and 70% of students can relate to the various situations outlined in the campaign (12 situations for employees, 9 for students)
    • Students are more positive about the design than employees. As a consequence the balance between the text and the posters designs has been adjusted. Other observations on the design:
      1. The tone of voice is fitting
      2. The design is recognisably an UvA campaign
      3. It is important to make clear in one glance what the campaign is about (and that the campaign is more than just the quotes on the posters)
    • Employees state: provide a proper step-by-step plan and action perspective, and ensure that supervisors can help employees with this
    • Students state: ensure that the campaign is also available to student associations and organisations, and inform students on where they can go with their issues

    The request to join an interview to continue talking about the campaign was accepted by 39 employees and 26 students. Five students and five employees indicated where and how the campaign could be a part of their work or study environment, how the designs make them feel and what they think is important if they want information about the topic on webpages after seeing the campaign. This provided valuable insights for the further development of the design, the quotes, the campaign webpage and the in-depth page with additional information.

  • Results research study programme comparator

    The UvA is developing a study programme comparator. With this tool, prospective bachelor and master students can compare study programmes the UvA offers on selected aspects. Six students from the UvA panel have tested the study programme comparator prototype and have provided feedback. We’ve learned that the study programme comparator is useful and relevant for students; it offers them an overview and a better understanding of the contents of the study programmes. Some (small) adjustments to the form and content of the study programme comparator can increase its usability and relevancy. Especially how students can find the study programme comparator requires some additional attention; right now the way to get to the tool isn’t intuitive enough yet.

  • Results research Computational Social Science

    September 2022 marks the start of the new English-taught Bachelor’s programme Computation Social Science. Future (potential) students can find lots of information on this new programme on the study website. The FMG wanted to know whether these texts about general information, the study programme, admission requirements, open days and more are clear and appropriate for pupils and students. Five first-year students from different study programmes have read through the study programme pages on the website and provided their feedback via interviews. This showed that texts about the study programme and career prospects need more clarification and relevance. The team will add this to the website to provide prospective students with a better understanding of the degree programme.

Would you also like to give your opinion on this sort of topics? Sign up now to join he UvA panel! You’ll receive several invitations each year to participate in all kinds of research.