How evasys simplified the Graduate Outcomes Survey process for Technological University Dublin

Already the solution provider for course and module evaluation at TU Dublin, the evasys team worked with the institution’s Senior Manager of Student Success, Dave Kilmartin, to design, implement and manage this critical annual survey as an extension of the existing service provided to the university.

As ever, evasys employed a partnership approach with TU Dublin to provide a turnkey solution to a complex project. The project delivered a multifaceted survey with significant conditionality reflecting the Higher Education Authority (HEA) requirements, institutionally branded emails and domain, enhanced graduate experience and, ultimately, the highest day-one response rate ever achieved.

“Working in partnership with evasys has eased the burden of this project immensely. We’ve now got a system to manage it that’s fit for purpose, and the approach and experience of the evasys team has hugely benefitted us to optimise outcomes.”

Technological University Dublin logoDave Kilmartin, Senior Manager, Student Success

About the Graduate Outcomes Survey

Each year in Ireland, the Higher Education Authority (HEA) requires that individual institutions carry out a survey for graduates nine months after they complete their qualification to assess the impact that their learning has had.

The Graduate Outcomes Survey must be matched and coded to HEA-provided questions and coding, and at the end of the survey period the data collected must be correctly formatted and uploaded to HEA. The precise data collection and formatting requirements present a level of complexity for institutions in terms of administering, managing and returning the survey to the standards set out by the HEA.

While the HEA does offer a centralised system for technological universities and institutes of technology using the Ellucian Banner Student Record System to administer the survey, this system is multi-functional, rather than a “best of breed” survey specific solution such as evasys. As such, many institutions choose to use an alternative process for GOS data collection.

The evasys and TU Dublin approach

As a starting point, evasys worked to the brief from TU Dublin to design a process for managing the GOS, which was then presented to the university’s team for comment, agreement and finalisation.

“It’s great that Bruce and the team from evasys were ready to contribute so quickly and adapt to our requirements.”

Technological University Dublin logoDave Kilmartin, Senior Manager, Student Success

The GOS survey template created by HEA has a substantial amount of conditionality and pick-lists, and the evasys team worked in tandem with the TU Dublin team to develop the survey within evasys, ensuring the best possible user experience was implemented, in terms of relevance and ease of use for the graduates completing the survey.

It was also important that graduates could clearly recognise that the communications about the survey were coming directly from their alma mater, and that completing the survey would be beneficial to the cohorts of the future at TU Dublin. With this in mind, a Careers Service email account was integrated with evasys as the sender, and students accessed a URL. This, coupled with the enhancement to user experience across emails and survey, was aimed at improving the effectiveness of communications and usability to maximise on graduate response.

“Working with evasys has made my life so much easier. They’ve configured the system to meet our needs and I never got a sense that anything was a major problem.”

Technological University Dublin logoDave Kilmartin, Senior Manager, Student Success

To ensure a smooth data collection process, evasys collated all non-respondents after the reminders were issued to enabled TU Dublin to pass on to the third-party responsible for telephone follow-up. The evasys solution also incorporated the functionality required to allow the third-party contractor to complete the survey during a call with a student, record in evasys that this is how the data was collected, and to send email confirmation to the graduate that their survey had been completed.

Of course, some students in the 2022 cohort had continued further study at TU Dublin, and a separate process was designed and implemented that allowed the university to process surveys on each student’s behalf.

Overall, the approach has been one of partnership, with the teams at TU Dublin and evasys supporting one another to develop and implement the most efficient process for collecting, managing and producing the data to the parameters specified by the HEA.

The process

The team at evasys defined and implemented a workflow that delivered each step of the process to ensure effective data capture and delivery to the HEA’s requirements.

Multiple end-to-end tests were performed during configuration to ensure a smooth, hassle-free process that, once running, required the minimum input from the team at TU Dublin.

The team at evasys also independently reviewed and critiqued the entire process, including the data held on graduates. This led to proposed changes to the process that might improve future outcomes, such as collecting refreshed contact data on graduation to ensure that surveys will reach as many graduates as possible.

Technological University Dublin Graduate Outcomes Survey

“Suggestions put forward to me, based on the evasys team’s experience, have been very beneficial from my perspective. I’m 100% happy with the engagement from evasys, and with the rate, and quality of, responses to my enquiries.”

Technological University Dublin logoDave Kilmartin, Senior Manager, Student Success

The process was implemented in evasys and rolled out quickly and efficiently:

  • c. 4,700 graduate records uploaded to evasys

  • Survey designed and published within evasys

  • Additional TU Dublin-specific questions added to the end of the survey

  • Significant initial internal QA, and then subsequent TU Dublin testing of the whole process – the automated emails, the survey itself, and the outputs produced to be formatted into .xml

  • Invitation email to graduates sent automatically from evasys

  • Three subsequent reminder emails automatically sent from evasys to non-responders

  • Non-responder list exported from evasys and passed to a third-party contractor for follow-up phone calls, with unique links to evasys to complete the survey for individual graduates while on the call

  • Separate process for those graduates who had continued their studies at TU Dublin

  • At survey close, agreed reports generated in evasys
  • Master output of responses output by evasys in required format and passed to TU Dublin for formatting into .xml submission to HEA

All codebooks from the HEA are integrated into the evasys survey, allowing for smooth output of results at survey close. The emails from the evasys system are personalised, branded, sent from a Careers Service-specific email address and link out to the university’s named evasys domain, providing comfort and familiarity for graduates. The automatic submission confirmation email and completion” thank you” page within the survey reminds graduates that the Careers Service at TU Dublin is still available to support them in job-hunting or career progression.

Finally, the team at TU Dublin can access real-time monitoring of response rates through the evasys Instructor Portal, ensuring that they always have the very latest information on survey performance and graduate responses.

Results to date

Response Rate Within 24 Hours
Response Rates Within 11 days
Respose Rates continued to increase…

“So far, so good – and I’m hopeful that we will continue on the trajectory that evasys started us on.”

TUD roundDave Kilmartin, Senior Manager, Student Success

About evasys

evasys is the leading provider of student insight and evaluation solutions within the HE sector in the UK and Ireland. Our solution is used by more than 60 institutions as the principal platform for managing and analysing course and module evaluations. However, as this case study illustrates, evasys can be used for any survey – find out more about the innovative and impactful ways universities are utilising the power of evasys on the case studies page of our website.

The entire graduate experience for the HEA’s Graduate Outcomes Survey has been configured into an evasys test system, and can be initiated on request so that interested parties can evidence the survey and communications. Sample outputs can be produced following completion of the survey as if undertaken by a graduate.

In Ireland, evasys already partners with University College Dublin, Atlantic Technological University, National College of Ireland, Dundalk Institute of Technology and, of course, Technological University Dublin.

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