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Survey Monkeysurvey_monkey.jpg Kathleen Lepori

SurveyMonkey provides an excellent source for questionnaires and opinion surveys. This tool is efficient in obtaining feedback from participants who are dispersed across the U.S. SurveyMonkey is a free site that can quickly implement surveys through e-mail and provides real-time reporting capability. The basic (free) plan offers 15 pre-built survey themes to choose from with up to 10 questions per survey with up to 100 responses. The online tutorials are easy to follow and help you learn the fundamentals and the basics of survey design including how to create an account, manage a survey, design the survey, collect the results and view the responses. The tutorials can be found at http://www.surveymonkey.com/Home_Videos.aspx.

Plan to Implement

Create free professional online surveys quickly and easily.
Plan to implement:
- Create a survey with a minimum of 5 questions about either Action Research or Distributed Learning
- Send the survey to 10 fellow cadres
- Review & Analyze the results and share them with the group
Cadre Gift - Reflection

Rethinking the process of how I came to choose my Cadre Gift gives me a sense of gratitude and personal accomplishment in learning and sharing with such an excellent, collaborative community of learners—Cadre 11. I believe I have met the objectives and goals of this assigned activity. It has indeed helped me experience distributed learning as well as helped me develop my technical and reflective skills. The assignment was fulfilled, on time, by providing Cadre 11 with a design library Web Collaborative tool, SurveyMonkey. I believe this tool will prove to be very useful in our action research projects. Reflecting back to VirtCamp, it didn’t take me long to decide what my Cadre Gift was going to be. The moment Margaret directed us to the Design Library in Wikispaces; I quickly scanned the available list and noticed that there wasn’t a survey tool. Knowing that we would probably use it at some point in our action research, I jumped on the opportunity to share this valuable distributed learning tool the group. Although I have dabbled with Zoomerang at work, I had never directly developed a survey on my own. I began investigating other free survey tools, besides Zoomerang, on the Internet. A friend and colleague at work suggested that I take a look at SurveyMonkey. I hate to admit this, but I thought the name was kind of cute and catchy and decided to investigate their web site. Considering all that it had to offer (for free) and the ease of usability, I was sold.

Writing “The Plan” for the Design Library was fairly easy, and Margaret’s feedback and direction was constructive and useful. With a few changes to my Cadre Gift Plan, I was ready to start designing the questionnaire. At first, I sat and looked at a blank word document for a solid ten minutes. I was a little intimidated about what kind of questions to ask and how to ask them. It grew to become a huge challenge to frame questions that wouldn’t offend participants or in any way disrespect the OMET program or its instructors. I closed the window and decided to ask my design circle for their input. After several attempts to get feedback on prospective questions, I gave up and constructed the questionnaire on my own. Although I know how to be a team player, when things aren’t going as planned, I have a tendency to function finish the task alone. I had to remind myself that this program is about collaboration. In one final attempt, I posted my rough draft to the LC5 discussion thread and then to the entire Cadre 11 via email. I only had one response, but it was a good one and it was all I needed to redraft my survey. Donna offered good advice by suggesting that a couple questions were not as valuable and or contribute as much to the overall intent of the survey as the others. She also suggested I focus on just one subject rather than both Action Research and Distributed Learning. I followed her direction and edited the questions accordingly. Taking criticism, even constructive criticism, has always been difficult for me (from birth, as my mother used to say). This activity challenged me in ways deeper than I can convey here and triggered many unnecessary, impatient memories.

Anxious to share my new tool, I posted the questionnaire to SurveyMonkey and sent a group email to Cadre 11 asking for their participation, assuring that it would only take a few minutes to complete the survey. It was exciting to see the results rolling in. The first email I received was from Karen, faithful Karen. She had been part of “Group Three” at VirtCamp along with Greg, Edgar and myself. We began a friendship during that short week that I hope will last forever. I can always count on Karen to be positive and encouraging, as she was with her email. Karen thanked me for the gift, said she loved it and that it was a great idea. Her email was uplifting and made me feel extremely good and confident about my choice of gift.

Last night a majority of our cadre (18 plus Margaret and Paul) had the unique opportunity to share their Cadre Gifts via a new distributed learning tool called Elluminate. We were each given eight minutes in which to give our presentation. I admit I was a little nervous about sharing a new, barely familiar tech tool with another brand new, unfamiliar tool. Greg went first and paved the way sharing “Diigo.” As usual, Greg was nearly flawless in his presentation. Chris followed with Evernote, doing an outstanding job of describing his note-taking tool, and then it was my turn. I had just practiced using the web site earlier that day with Karen, faithful, dependable Karen! She Skyped me well before class and we slowly learned together how to use the gadgets on Elluminate. So by the time class started, I felt somewhat prepared to show-and-tell SurveyMonkey. The presentation went well, actually better than I’d expected. I was relieved when my eight-plus minutes were up and the torch passed to Jaimie.

The mental process used in selecting the right gift for my cadre was an incredible learning experience. I questioned my ability to work with others without getting too frustrated in the course of action. I had to remind myself that this was only an assignment and to relax and enjoy the end product—sharing an effective tool with my fellow OMET students. It brings me great joy to think of all the positive experiences we are sharing on our virtual campus, and this gift giving, reflection process is definitely one of them.

In hindsight, I would not have tackled the task any differently than I did. The reason for this is I know I have grown, and am a better person because of this experience. The factors that shaped my reflective writing are numerous; from the individuals that lent a helping hand to the overall affirming dynamics of Cadre 11 and our instructors. This was a rich opportunity, learning educational technology from direct experiences as opposed to second-hand experiences [of others] to which I am accustomed. This process has helped me to focus on the ways in which I respond to, understand and develop, and apply my learning in new and diverse situations.

This particular activity has indeed provided me with a visual memory that I will value throughout the duration of my OMET experience and beyond. Hitting the “close” button on my survey triggered mixed emotions; glad that the assignment was over, yet sad to let it [the new experience] go.