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How are we doing? 2019 MISO Survey Results

This year, Swarthmore College ITS and the Libraries asked the campus community to provide feedback via the MISO Survey, “a web-based quantitative survey designed to measure how faculty, students, and staff view library and computing services in higher education.”  We appreciate the 867 community members who took the time to let us know how we are doing.  This is the second time the survey has been administered, so we now have data to compare with our 2016 results.  In this post, we’ll look at the biggest changes in the survey results over the past 3 years and offer some possible interpretations of the results.

Rankings were based on a 1-5 scale with 1 = very dissatisfied/important and 5 = very satisfied/important.  We looked at the biggest changes in the average rating between 2016 and 2019 for each type of community member (student, staff, and faculty).

Student Trends


A decrease in feeling informed about scheduled system downtime led to a recent increase in ITS email communications about changes to key systems.  This feeling may be tied to several network outages in recent months, which likely led to dissatisfaction with wifi performance.  ITS is working to improve the reliability of the wifi network by working closely with our vendor and expert technical consultants.

A switch to G Suite two years ago may have been the main cause for the increase in student satisfaction with email (Gmail) services which also tracks an increase in the importance of collaborative software such as Google Drive and Docs.  The prevalence of web-based software and storage may also be related to why students thought support for their computer problems was less important than 3 years ago since online content is easily accessed from any computer.

Staff Trends 


The largest trends for staff from 2016 to 2019 were generally positive with either improved satisfaction or feeling that services were more important than in the past.  The staff was more satisfied with departmental printers.  The ability to borrow laptops and other technology from Media Services was considered more important than in the past as was web conferencing.  We aren’t sure why Administrative Systems (Banner) decreased in importance unless we are hiring more people that have less direct connections to Banner.  If you have a theory, please get in touch!

Faculty Trends


The switch to Google’s G Suite services most likely raised the importance of using collaborative tools such as Google Drive and Docs as more faculty use the software with their colleagues and students.   Presentation software such as PowerPoint is well established and faculty feel quite comfortable using it in the classroom.  Web conferencing (primarily Zoom) has has been used widely for collaborating with colleagues, job interviews, and even teaching class remotely, so its increase in importance is understandable.  We speculate that a decrease in satisfaction with MySwarthmore and Faculty Services may be related to an uptick in interest in management of student data and analysis of student performance.  The current systems lack the flexibility of doing arbitrary queries of student data, which can limit analysis.  Similarly, there was a small decrease in the satisfaction with input into computing decisions that affect faculty.  We encourage all professors to talk with an Academic Technologist to ask questions and discuss issues and concerns so that we can raise your ideas and concerns with the rest of the department.


Each type of campus community group had changed in different ways, but the general trends show an increase in importance of collaborative software as the community switched to G Suite.  Major areas within ITS to focus on are wifi performance and communication with all campus community members.

As always, we’re interested to hear your thoughts and feedback.  Please get in touch if you have any questions or ideas regarding the MISO Survey results.  You can reach me at aruethe2@swarthmore.edu.