- 1.Is the course opinion poll really anonymous?Yes, it is. Although the students provide their course-related feedback after logging into the Information System is.vsfs.cz, i.e. under their profiles, the information identifying them such as their names, personal identification numbers (učos), etc. is not revealed to anyone. The reason why the respondents provide their feedback under their profiles and not, for instance, after using some anonymous codes distributed to them is that the latter method would not provide them with the comfort of the former. That is, the System, for instance, keeps track of who has participated in the poll already and thus it can prompt the ones who have not taken part in it yet to do so or it can grant access to the opinion poll results only to those who participated the previous year. Motivating the respondents plays a crucial role in ensuring there are enough of them and thus the feedback they provide is more reliable. The respondents' willingness to participate in the poll depends on how easy to fill in the questionnaires are, whether the respondents consider the poll useful and, most importantly, whether they find it safe in terms of privacy. This is also the reason why the System administrators consider anonymity to be an issue of high importance.
The school management appreciate the effort the students put into providing the course-related feedback. The Information System administrators are prohibited from revealing the respondents' identity to anyone. Any person found violating this rule is to be subject to strict disciplinary proceedings.
- 2.Is there really now way of revealing the respondent's identity?As all the operations made in the Information System are recorded, there is always a way of revealing the respondent's identity with some effort invested into it on the part of System administrators. You might therefore feel tempted to ask the question of whether it would be feasible to design the System some other way guaranteeing this cannot be done.
Although the answer to this question is "Yes.", designing and administering the System this way would be rather uneconomical. That is, keeping the Internet transactions utterly anonymous (e.g. by not logging the IP addresses of the computers accessing the System, etc.) is complicated. Besides, investing money into the development of a system guaranteeing total anonymity in the environment of a university course opinion poll is pointless since students would have to believe that the poll is run the way it is said to be, i.e. with no cues that might possibly be used to reveal the respondent's identity recorded. The situation would therefore be the same as it is now - the students would have to trust the system. The fact the respondent's identity is never to be revealed to anyone is guaranteed by the school management.
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