The Importance of Data: Connect Program Search to Program Evaluation

The Importance of Data: Connect Program Search to Program Evaluation
The Importance of Data: Connect Program Search to Program Evaluation

Greetings to everyone. This post is directed to study abroad offices and program providers, but also to faculty who are interested in promoting their programs and managing the program evaluation process all in the same place.

If your study abroad office is using Terra Dotta, then you probably don’t have a programs directory with reviews. This means that students must first find a program on your website and then go to Abroad 101 or Ratemystudyabroad.com to see if they can find the programs again and look over reviews. If your office is using Survey Monkey or Zoomerang for your program evaluations, then the data is only for you, and can’t be shared in any usable format. It’s virtually lost for marketing purposes. Furthermore, your students are probably being asked to complete up to three or four different program evaluations for the same program (home institution, faculty director, host institution, provider) and your response rate is low.

I don’t know about you, but I found this frustrating and inefficient when I was a study abroad director, so I conceived and developed a solution. It’s incredibly easy and involves virtually no change on your part. You can continue using Terra Dotta and make review websites available to your students, while at the same time giving your students an additional way to browse your programs and reviews at the same time. It takes five minutes to create and you load only programs of your choice (usually your approved programs list). Optionally, you can custom link each program back to a page on your own website. This custom-link feature is key for study abroad offices who want to make sure students are getting the right information for every program they find. When you have loaded the directory with all your programs, you simply link to it from your regular programs directory or any other page on your website.

EXAMPLE
Eastern Illinois University’s regular programs directory links to Eastern Illinois University’s Study Abroad Map

Another thing that I found inefficient as a study abroad director is that every year we would have to update our programs database with new dates, fix dead links from our overseas partners, etc. It was very time consuming. However, with this program finder, all you need to do is make sure you have the programs you want in it. The third-party providers and host institutions, or whoever owns the programs, will keep the information updated for everyone from inside their own accounts. This makes a more efficient operation for those study abroad offices that are short on help.

It’s not required, but if you want to take it a step further to get your programs reviewed, you can use our Program Evaluation Manager also. There are three areas: Manage Students, Collect Reviews, Analyze Reviews. The nice thing about this system is evaluation data can be shared between the home university, faculty member, third-party provider, and host university, thus eliminating the need for three or four different program evaluation forms for one student who ultimately just went on one program.

If our Program Evaluation form and the data you gather doesn’t suit all your needs, you can also use our Survey Maker to create and deliver any surveys you’d like. Analyze and download data from inside your account. Optionally share the survey and/or the data with other Abroad Scout users that you select.

Voila, now all your students can both search your programs and read reviews all in the same place. We would love for you to be a part of our community-centered network and invite you to get started on Abroad Scout today.

This post covers just some of the tools we offer, and our tools are FREE, forever. Abroad Scout was founded by Agapy LLC, a book publishing company. It’s a multi-author blog and a robust portal that connects destinations, posts, schools, programs, scholarships, and reviews. Its mission is to make the study abroad search, preparation, and evaluation process easy and transparent.

If while creating your program finder, you do not find all your programs to add, simply email us a list of the missing programs at info at abroadscout.com and we will add them for you.

This post was submitted by Wendy Williamson, President of Agapy Publishing

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