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Online surveys  (formerly BOS)

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Jisc online surveys upgrade update

Posted: 1st December 2022

Update on progress

Jisc’s digital experience insights service has launched in the beta version of our new software. We’re using this as an opportunity to gather feedback and discover any pain points before our production release. We’re pleased to report that user feedback has been positive. Further education and Higher education organisations have already built and distributed surveys to their staff and student populations and responses are rolling in.

Following the release of our beta version, we will be undertaking more external user testing in December and will be reaching out to those who registered an interest to take part.

Over the next couple of months, we will continue to add more features ahead of our production release with one eye on the national benchmarking surveys run by Advance HE that take place towards the start of the calendar year. We will be prioritising more advanced features like pre-population which were not a part of our beta release.

We have added a sneak peak of the beta release and we have been updating our frequently asked questions.


We are working to ensure the migration process to the new version is as straightforward as possible for account admins and users.

Migrations will now take place in the new year so that we can implement further improvements to our migration plan.

We will give as much notice to account admins as possible, but will grant no less than 1 months’ notice before we make the transition.

We will be able to provide more granular detail in future communications on what the process will look like.

Change to administrator rights in the new version

We have listened to feedback from our account primary contacts and administrators and plan to make some changes to administrator privileges with the release of the new version of Online Surveys,

What rights do administrators have now?

Through the Online Surveys user interface, administrators have access to all surveys in the account even if they do not have individual permissions for those surveys. But this is in a limited way. They can:

  • see the survey by previewing it.
  • view the survey’s Distribution Settings.
  • view who has permissions to the survey.
  • delete a survey.

Administrators cannot:

  • change user permissions for a survey through the user interface if they don’t have individual permissions for the survey.
  • view response data for any survey through the user interface if they don’t have individual permissions for the survey.

However, if an administrator requests that Jisc change the permissions to a survey or grant access to response data, then Jisc will verify the request and carry it out.  This is because administrators act as the account’s Data Controller on the behalf of the licensee (usually their employer).

What rights will administrators have in the new version?

  • Administrators will retain the same rights, but in addition will be able to:
    change user permissions to any survey through the user interface.
  • view response data for any survey through the user interface.

Why have we made this change?

We have made this change to better enable account administrators to effectively manage users and surveys in their account and to reflect the rights of administrators in the user interface. We want administrators to be empowered to quickly resolve permissions requests for their users without needing to request an intervention from Jisc. We have received much feedback over the years from administrators that this is a particular point of pain and with the introduction of the new version we have an opportunity to address it.

What should you do?

In principle, the rights of an administrator have not changed. But from a practical point of view, in terms of what is provided through the user interface, this is a change that will need to be considered by the primary contact of each account and will provide an opportunity to review your access controls. These are steps you should consider:

  • review your list of administrators and determine if there are any that should no longer have the elevated privileges of an administrator and remove their privileges by changing them to an editor if necessary.
  • consider whether, given the express right to all survey response data through the user interface, there are any old surveys that contain data that should not be viewed by particular administrators and consider whether it is better to export the data and delete the survey from the application.

Good housekeeping

As ever, it’s important to check that you aren’t storing surveys or users that are no longer needed. Now is a good time to do some housekeeping so that the content of your account is refreshed ahead of the move to the new version:

  • Ensure you and your users all have up-to-date email addresses in online surveys.
  • Ensure your primary contact and billing contact are up to date.
  • Ensure your designated admins are up to date.
  • Delete any inactive users.
  • Delete any surveys you don’t need any more.
  • Close any survey that no longer need to be open.