Member Survey: Feedback Summary

The Survey 

  • In November 2021, Osher at Dartmouth conducted an anonymous on-line survey of its members.
  • Covid-19 has required changes in course offerings and in the 2021 Summer Lecture Series. The purpose of the survey was to obtain members’ opinions and preferences about those changes.
  • The survey presented 9 questions (3 of which directed the respondent to a follow-up question, depending on their response to the original question).
    • Some questions allowed only one response.
    • Some questions allowed selection of more than one response.
    • And respondents could write in their comments.
  • 372 members responded, for an overall response rate of 33.9%.
  • The main results are summarized below. (Percentages refer to the proportion of respondents who selected a response as a percentage of all who responded to that question.)

Preferences For On-Line Zoom or In-Person Courses 

  • In future, in general:
    • 52.9% of respondents would accept either on-line Zoom or in-person courses.
    • 22.0% would prefer in-person.
    • 18.2% would prefer on-line Zoom courses.
  • In response to a specific hypothetical question about preferences for the 2022 spring term, assuming only minimal COVID-19 transmission:
    • 42.8% preferred to take in-person courses.
      • Socialization, and the opportunity to interact with Study Leaders, were the main advantages mentioned for in-person courses.
    • 32.7% preferred to take Zoom courses.
      • Many respondents said that on-line Zoom courses were the only option for them to attend, either because of mobility/transport issues or because they were attending courses from outside the Upper Valley. The ability to participate from home, and to avoid driving to the course, especially in winter, were the main advantages reported for on-line courses.
    • 19.4% preferred to take HyFlex courses.
      • HyFlex courses were mentioned by a sizeable number of respondents as a way to attend either in-person or on-line.
    • 16.9% were undecided.
  • 34.9% of respondents appreciated being able to attend on-line courses from outside the Upper Valley. In written comments, some respondents mentioned living in the Upper Valley for only part of the year or being absent while on vacation outside the Upper Valley, and appreciating the opportunity to take on-line Osher at Dartmouth courses.
  • Many comments noted the exceptional nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the risks posed by the disease, and appreciated that Osher at Dartmouth had very rapidly and successfully implemented on-line Zoom courses in response to the pandemic (acknowledging the dynamic and essential role played by Osher at Dartmouth staff).
  • Overall, these results indicate that there is considerable support for both in-person and on-line courses among Osher members.

Responses From Members Who Attended No On-Line Courses During Sept. 2020—Aug. 2021

  • 36 respondents who reported not attending any on-line courses from September 2020 to August 2021 completed a follow-up question.
    • 30.6% (of those 36) reported no interest in online programs.
    • 30.6% preferred in-person classes and activities but were not ready to attend in-person indoor activities during the pandemic.
    • 27.8% responded that they would have participated if there had been in-person courses or activities.
    • Hardware and internet issues, and problems using Zoom, were not mentioned as widespread problems.

2021 Summer Lecture Series 

  • About one-third of respondents reported attending one or more sessions of the 2021 Summer Lecture Series, "What's Next? Finding a Way Forward"?
    • 53.3% of those attending responded that they liked the Zoom webinar format
    • 9.2% preferred to attend in-person
    • 46.7% would prefer a HyFlex format.
    • For those not attending, reasons for not attending included lack of interest in the topic (50.5%), and preference for in-person sessions (21.6%).

Sample of Written Comments 

170 respondents provided written comments to an open-ended final question. Some representative comments are shown below:

"I love the Osher Dartmouth programs and appreciate the staff!"
"Kudos to Lisa, Diane, Laura and Sarah for their flexibility, ingenuity and creativity during and since the pandemic!"
"Covid stinks, but I don't want to get it. No in-person stuff if it is INDOORS until things are a LOT better."
"Please offer most winter courses via Zoom since we are in Virginia from December through April"
"I am thrilled with the Zoom opportunities as I spend the winter in Florida in an area with very little in the way of educational programming. It is super for me to know that all winter I can take Osher courses."
"I prefer in-person programs. But Covid concerns have made me hesitate to attend them when offered. I feel fortunate that we have had Zoom as an alternative during the pandemic, and Hy-Flex would be a good alternative in the long-term future, especially if I become homebound and unable to travel to in-person events."
"Zoom is especially appealing in the winter when getting out in the weather can be a problem. But in-person classes are enjoyable."
"In-person classes build a sense of community and camaraderie not readily available on-line."
"I have mixed feelings about teaching courses in-person vs via Zoom. It really is wonderful to have folks from all over the US taking courses. But in-person is a special kind of chemistry."

Respondent Attributes

  • 84.9% of respondents reported taking an Osher course between September 2020 and August 2021.
  • 91.3% of respondents reported either having renewed their Osher at Dartmouth membership for the current year, or were planning to do this.
  • Given the attributes of respondents, extrapolating the survey responses to the entire Osher at Dartmouth membership needs to be done with caution.

A complete summary of findings, including all survey questions and responses, can be found here.

Survey Responses For Selected Questions: Some Figures

What aspects of online programs do you most appreciate?
(329 respondents, who could select more than 1 choice)

Online Programs

What aspects of in-person programs do you most appreciate?
 (361 respondents, who could select more than 1 choice)

In-person programs

Preferences for future in-person or Zoom courses.
 (363 respondents, who could select only 1 choice)

Preference in-person or zoom

Assuming there is only minimal COVID-19 transmission, how would you prefer to take an Osher at Dartmouth course during our 2022 spring term?
(355 respondents, who could select more than 1 choice)

spring courses 2022

Did you attend one or more sessions of the 2021 Summer Lecture Series (SLS)? 
(363 respondents, who could select only 1 choice)

SLS attendance

If you attended 2021 SLS, what are your views on the format?
(120 respondents, who could select more than 1 choice)

SLS format

If you did NOT attend the 2021 SLS, what influenced your decision not to take part?
(218 respondents, who could select more than 1 choice)

 decision to not attend SLS




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