Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon Portland Community College

Priorities Survey for Online Learners 2021


In winter 2021, 1,587 students (10% of the surveyed population) completed the Ruffalo Noel-Levitz Priorities Survey for Online Learners (PSOL). The PSOL provides students an opportunity to rate the importance of and their satisfaction with PCC teaching and learning support services and systems.  The difference between importance and satisfaction scores indicates how closely the college is meeting student needs. Surveyed students were enrolled in online classes and/or remote classes which generally took place over Zoom sessions.

Unique to PSOL Winter 2021

Although PCC had previously administered the PSOL in 2017, the winter 2021 findings are not comparable for numerous reasons:

  • Covid-19 Global Pandemic – created unprecedented challenges impacting teaching and learning
  • All PCC instruction was remote/online – students who prefer on-campus instruction did not have that option 
  • Disruption from storm power/internet outage – a severe winter storm created power and internet outages for over a week in some areas
  • Different survey population – the survey population included both online and remote students compared to the 2017 survey of online only students
  • Post-pandemic question added – students asked course delivery method preference for when the college is able to resume on-campus classes

Nonetheless, the winter 2021 results provide insight into what is working well for students and areas needing improvement at the college. The following Strengths and Challenges provide an overview of select key findings.


Students rated these items as having both high importance and high satisfaction levels.

  • I am able to progress toward my educational goals at PCC
  • Registration for online courses is convenient
  • Course performance and expectations are clearly outlined in course materials
  • Online learning tools (e.g. discussions, quizzes, assignments, grades, content and other activities) are easy for me to use
  • My instructors demonstrate care for students in my classes
  • Billing and payment procedures are convenient for me


Students rated these items as having high importance but low satisfaction levels.

  • The quality of online instruction is excellent
  • In my online courses, I am given high quality, timely feedback to help gauge my learning progress
  • There is consistency in the quality of instruction from one online course to another
  • Tuition paid is a worthwhile investment
  • There are sufficient offerings within my program of study

Detailed Results

Please access the Item Detail Report to view additional PSOL findings. The report includes the importance, satisfaction, standard deviation and gap calculations for each survey item and related technical definitions.

Open Ended Item Responses

Over 800 students responded to a survey prompt to provide additional comments. An estimated 41% of the feedback was categorized as praise or praise with room for improvement and 35% as concern and/or some level of dissatisfaction.  Approximately 18% were neither positive or negative and 6% were highly critical/negative.  Many of the comments addressed areas previously identified as strengths or challenges.

Additional Resources

Faculty and staff may access PSOL respondent demographics and other PSOL information in the IE Spaces pages. These will be updated with additional files such as a comment analysis report, presentation slide deck and additional Excel files as work is completed.


* Strengths are items above the mid-point (top half) in importance and in the upper quartile (top 25%) of satisfaction scores

** Challenges are items above the mid-point (top half) in importance and in the lower quartile (bottom 25%) of satisfaction scores