Once Davidson College decided to transition to online instruction on March 11, 2019, what became the C2i research team sprang into action to start collecting data on campus closures due to COVID-19. The data we collected eventually became those used in the C2i Data Dashboard. This is how we collected the data.
Description of COVID-19 Dashboard Data Collection Procedure:
Our spring closure novel dataset was hand collected using a number of sources and methods.Data came from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), the New York Times, and institutional websites. For this dashboard, we narrowed our dataset to Title IV-aid receiving, four-year, nonprofit and public colleges and universities in the doctoral, masters, and baccalaureate Carnegie classifications. We excluded special focus baccalaureate institutions such as bible colleges, music conservatories, and military academies. Additionally, we omitted baccalaureate institutions that grant primarily associate degrees. Our methods consisted of first examining a school’s COVID webpage searching for announcements and key words to help us determine when and how the institution handled the COVID-19 crisis. When needed, we scoured social media postings, particularly Twitter accounts to gather specific dates of announcements or any further information not provided on individual webpages. Further, we used the New York Times data sets as well as Chronicle and IPEDS datasets to strengthen and cross-confirm our collection. Data collected from institutional sources included indicators for whether an institution moved to online learning and whether they made the decision during spring break; if they extended spring break; the date online classes began; commencement cancellation or alternative plans; and the date of the first confirmed case on campus. We collected the date each governor declared a state of emergency and/or instituted a stay-at-home order from the New York Times COVID-19 website. Lastly, we collected U.S. News & World Report’s 2020 rankings of national liberal arts colleges and national universities. Our complete dataset included information for 1,442 institutions in all fifty states and the District of Columbia between March 1st and April 4th.
Following our introductory collection, we conducted spot-checks to confirm a more accurate dataset. This consisted of each author re-collecting and cross-checking institutional data that they personally had not examined in the first round of collection. By conducting spot-checks on each other’s data gathering, we ensured there were minimal, if any, mistakes within our dataset. No author made changes to more than 3.75 percent of the spot-checked data. Nearly all of the changes made during the spot-checking process were merely updates that occurred between the time of the original collection and this checking time period. Our methods of data collection produced a clean dataset that has high accuracy and valuable information for our dashboard. Currently, our team is working in similar methods to collect reopening dates for the fall semester.
Overview of Spring 2020 Dashboard Data Sources:
School Status collected by the C2i team and up-to-date as of the final date in the slider above the map.
Peer institutions data come from the Chronicle of Education’s 2012 data dashboard on peer institution social networks. Peer institutions listed may not reflect current peer groups. Some institutions, like Harvard University, did not identify peers in the Chronicle dataset. C2i would like to thank Jacquelyn Elias of the Chronicle for her data support.
U.S. News Ranks comes from the 2020 edition of U.S. News and World Report’s annual college rankings.
COVID-19 data come from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and the New York Times itself.
County level shapefiles and data come from the U.S. Census Bureau 2018 American Community Survey.
All other data available from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) of the U.S. Department of Education.