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Why use Qualtrics?

I’m already comfortable with Survey Monkey, Wufoo, or Google Forms... why use Qualtrics?! Okay, okay, I know sometimes it feels like there are TOO MANY tools. If I know how to use one of them, even if I need to “Jimmy rig” it to work like I need it to, or do a lot of manual data sorting on the back end… it’s better than learning ONE MORE TOOL! Right? Well, no.

Qualtrics is such a robust option, and it’s easy to use for research and evaluation, administrative tasks, and teaching and learning! Still unconvinced? You can invite collaborators, collect data offline, and the University of Minnesota is Qualtrics’s largest customer, so if you want to do something unique, there’s help at the ready!

Karen and I recently attended a training day that featured a variety of practical uses from colleagues throughout the University, and we thought you might enjoy seeing what others are doing too.

For research and evaluation

  • Survey panels with participants available world-wide can be facilitated directly by Qualtrics (for a fee). Learn more.
  • Away from campus? You can collect data offline. Learn more.
  • UMN has an agreement related to data security. Contact the Office of Measurement Solutions for details.
  • "Carry Forward" allows you to copy answer choices from one question and bring them into a future question in your survey. For instance, you can first show a question to your participant asking which events or workshops they’ve participated in this year. You can then carry forward the choices they selected into the next question where they can then rate their experiences. Learn more.

For administrative tasks

  • If you love mail merge, you’ll be excited about Piped Text! It allows you to customize question and choice wording for each participant. When you add Piped Text to your survey, it will appear as a line of code, like this: ${m://FirstName}. When participants take the survey, this code will be replaced with unique content. Learn more.
  • Sometimes a response is so important that you need to know about it immediately. For this reason, Qualtrics created a trigger to send you an email notification whenever conditions you specify are met. Learn more.
  • With Qualtrics Salesforce Integration, you can trigger surveys off of Salesforce events and save survey response data into Salesforce. Learn more.

For teaching and learning

  • With over 100 ways to ask a question in Qualtrics, the possibilities are limitless. Click here for an overview of the 18 primary question categories. Hot spot and heat map are two I'm excited to try! 
  • Branching allows you to correct or reinforce student learning with built-in checks for knowledge throughout the module. It’s a bit like a choose your own adventure novel. Learn more.
  • Check data on students’ paths through the branches as early and often as you want. Change the current module, determine the focus of your next lesson, or set the agenda for an in-person meeting.
The College of Education and Human Development’s Digital Education and Innovation office turned a 20-page handout into an interactive module for higher buy-in and better participant preparation. See it in action. Learn more about the department’s use of Qualtrics.

The Med School is also using Qualtrics for Teaching and learning. An interactive learning module replaced a lecture when an instructor needed to be absent, and branching was also useful when they created a way for students to practice diagnosis.

Try it out!

You can log into your free account with your existing U of M login at http://surveys.umn.edu/qualtrics-u-of-m/get-an-account

To access their training materials, webinars, and support visit http://www.qualtrics.com/university/researchsuite/.

3 reasons to use annotations in YouTube

1. Personalize the experience

Remember choose your own adventure books? You can take the same approach with a "spotlight" annotation. Ask a question and create answer-based paths, or simply provide an opportunity to skip ahead.


2. Correct a statement or emphasize a point

After creating a video about raising chickens, Extension Educator Wayne Martin learned more about how they receive immunizations. It had long bothered him that there was a partial truth in the video, but the idea of doing a major video edit can be daunting. In this case, it was unnecessary. Wayne was able to add what he learned to the existing video in just a few minutes with a "note" annotation.



3. Provide a call to action or add more context

At the end of your video, use the "spotlight" annotation tool to encourage viewers to sign up for a mailing list or learn more by visiting a website. Don't put it too early in your video or you'll lose viewers, but allow plenty of time at the end for someone to find their mouse and click before the video ends.



3 reasons to use VideoAnt instead



1. Use on mobile devices

VideoAnt annotations are mobile-friendly and YouTube's are not.

Annotate web hosted HTML5 video on your desktop or mobile device with VideoAnt's responsive video annotation interface

2. Control who can view and who can annotate

This makes VideoAnt excellent for courses and collaborators.

Your private Ants can only be accessed by the users you share them with. You control who can view and who can annotate.

3. Start a conversation

YouTube's annotations are great for presenting information by way of the video creator while VideoAnt is intended to foster conversation among a group.

Ants are easy to share and each annotation acts as a conversation thread - analyze the finer points of a video with other users.


Have you used YouTube annotations or VideoAnt? 

What has worked well for you, and what challenges are you trying to overcome?
Screen shot of new registration page

Did you know your Extension team can accept registrations with credit card payments online?

You know, I (Amy) have had a lot of jobs at the U: dishwasher, cafeteria worker, museum tour guide, dishwasher (again--the U makes lots of dishes), lab tech, junior assistant to the junior assistant scientist, etc. etc...
There are a lot of things around here I do not take for granted (ahem, clean dishes). One of those things is REGISTRATION. Cuz I've done it the old fashioned way and let me tell you, it is a lot of work, and also let me tell you, YOUR HANDWRITING IS NOT AS CLEAR AS YOU THINK IT IS.

Luckily, we have online options now that can ease any UMN Extension program's registration workload!

And just think of all the stuff that you could be taking for granted. Payment security! Emailing registrants with confirmation! Processing of deposits! Financial reconciling and reporting! You can just be like standing around thinking educator-y thoughts and all that stuff will just happen! WHAAAT!

For Online Courses

Extension's Moodle courses are not-for-credit and so can utilize the brand new University-wide non-credit registration system, Destiny One Registration System (DORS) at no charge. Have you heard of DORS already? We are still getting used to it and have been busy being trained. Check out Achieving the Extension Mission Through Volunteers, one of our first setups in this new system. I think it looks pretty nice! And learners who register/pay will automatically be zooped into the Moodle course. Like MAGIC! (Like magic that is super complicated and took five exhausting years to negotiate and setup. STILL. MAGIC. All that matters.)

One thing every Extension program using Moodle should know is that, after December 30, 2015, all Moodle courses that use paid registration will need to be using both Moodle 2.8 and DORS. We have communicated this to all the instructors of Moodle paid courses that we currently support; if this is news to you, please let us know asap!!
Lots more information on DORS can be found in the Destiny One Registration System Info and FAQs document.

For Events and Workshops

As we are transitioning to the new DORS (opening new doors, if you will) (!!!), we are using two registration systems for Extension's events/workshops. No big deal, our team will help you figure out which one meets your needs best for the time being--that's their job and they're awesome at it! See our Registration Service page for how to get started.

What questions do you have about online registration?


Our next portfolio piece is an example of how we can help make the work you (and/or your contractors) have already done work even better for your audience or students, AND be more update-friendly and sustainable for you!

Serve it Up Safely Online Course: Online curriculum moved from custom system to Moodle

Serve it Up Safely is a curriculum for continuing education of state certified food managers. The Food Safety team came to Extension Technology with a course that had been created by a contractor and requested some feedback on its interactivity. Extension Technology was able to work with the Food Safety team to provide them a Quality Matters-style review. Resulting from this review, Extension Technology worked with the team to create a recorded Introduction Video Tour for students to introduce them to the site. Our team also added some advanced Moodle functionality that allowed their contractor’s objects to function optimally in the University’s current Moodle version.

Image of Serve It Up Safely Online Course website


This project was selected through the Extension e-Learning Proposal Process. We work with Extension Educators, Program Staff, and Faculty who offer training or education, like the Turf and Ground Field Day, Equine Demonstrations, the Local Foods College, the Serve it Up Safely Course, and the Master Gardener Core Course. They are ready to expand their reach, make education more accessible, and/or collaborate with colleagues and community members at a distance. If this is you and you’re ready for help, contact us for a consultation or propose a project!