This is an example of a beginning course survey for an online technology class. Some of the questions have been designed to assess the students prior experience using technology. Students with more experience will have used many applications across several platforms -- iphone, ipad, table, laptop, and desktop computers. The reasons for taking the course are also addressed, as well as the students' demographics. One of the important questions is whether the student speaks English or another language. The teacher and other students will be able to collaborate and connect across multiple cultures if they understand the class demographics. Starr-Glass (2011) recommends open-ended questions at the end of the pre-course survey to get qualitative data.
To better encourage student and teacher communication, one of the questions asks what method of communication is preferred. This is important, as it lets the student know that the teacher will be making an effort to reach out. Online courses have many benefits, but the presence of an instructor is important for a guided constructivist learning theory (Sung & Mayer, 2012). Distance is minimized by communication and that connection with the teacher is a necessary aspect of online learning. The pre-course survey can be used by the teacher to fine tune the class and connect with the students.
Sung, E. and Mayer, R.E., 2012. Five facets of social presence in online distance education. Computers in Human Behavior, 8(5), 1738-1747.
Starr-Glass, D. (2011). Beginning Course Surveys: Bridges for Knowing and Bridges for Being. International Review Of Research In Open And Distance Learning, 12(5), 138-157.