WHO Survey Scholar FAQ

Please find below responses to questions asked by applicants to the World Health Organization’s Vaccination coverage survey Scholar initiative. For more information, download the initiative brochure.

Last updated: 2 August 2017

Questions received on 2 August 2017

QUESTION: Does the course project have to be implemented?

ANSWER: No. The course project in Module 1 will be based on a fictional scenario. However, participants will be invited to consider how to apply what they learn to their own country context.

QUESTION: At what time and in what form will the weekly discussion groups take place?

ANSWER: The Module 1 weekly discussion group will meet on Wednesdays at 15h00 Geneva (check time) on 30 August; 6, 13, 20, 27 September; and 4, 11 October 2017. In addition, there will be a workshop on 5 September at 15h00 Geneva (check time) to practice sample size calculations. We will use GoToTraining software for the discussion group.

QUESTION: What is meant by ‘required community tasks’ in each module?

ANSWER: Course participants will join the Community, an online space similar to a Facebook wall. Community tasks will include posting a weekly assignment, giving feedback on assignments posted by colleagues, and contributing to other dialogue.

QUESTION: Will final projects from each module be assessed and graded by other participants (peer review) or by a WHO expert or both?

ANSWER: Peer review (by participants in the course) will be used to give and receive feedback, but not for grading. WHO experts will be involved to provide expert feedback.

QUESTION: What happens if local access to VOIP/Skype facilities is limited. Is telephone use an acceptable alternative?

ANSWER: Yes. Local call-in numbers for GoToTraining are available for 17 countries (Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States).

Questions received before 2 August 2017


QUESTION: Is there a fee associated with this course


Selection of applicants

QUESTION: If I am not selected for this course, I would like to know reason so that can improve myself for better outcomes.

ANSWER: Given the large number of applicants, not all candidates will be selected. Selected applicants will receive a Letter of Acceptance. Similarly, non-selected applicants will receive an email indicating the main selection criteria. Unfortunately, individualized explanations will not be possible due to the large number of applicants. Selection or non-selection will have no effect on present or future relationships with WHO.


QUESTION: If I am given the opportunity to participate in this course, when will I be notified to plan my schedule?

ANSWER: Interested individuals are strongly encouraged to apply for all three modules by 18 August 2017. Successful applicants will be notified no later than 27 August 2017 via e-mail. Please review the initiative announcement for additional information.


QUESTION: Can I be accepted into the initiative, even though I have limited Stata knowledge?

ANSWER: Yes. Please review the initiative’s announcement. Module 3 focuses on data analysis but offers two separate tracks. The first track is for statisticians who will perform the data analysis (using Stata). The other track is for survey “managers” who will learn to work with a statistician and will learn to interpret canned analysis from a Stata tool Vaccination Coverage Quality Indicators (VCQI). These analyses can then be recreated in SPSS or R or other statistical package that allows accounting for complex sampling designs.


QUESTION: Will there be a certificate at the completion of this course?

ANSWER: Yes. For each of the three digital learning modules, WHO will issue a certificate of successful completion to those who participate in peer review and submit a revised course project. Please review the initiative announcement for additional information.

QUESTION: How do you ensure that the certificate reaches the participant?

ANSWER: Certificates will be sent by e-mail to successful completers.

QUESTION: After completion, will we get a certificate with transcripts from WHO?

ANSWER: You will receive a certificate of completion for each module successfully completed, i.e., for those who participate in peer review and submit a revised course project. No “transcript” will be kept.

QUESTION: Is it possible to provide the participant with a photo ID card?

ANSWER: Unfortunately, no. In special circumstances, if a participant needs documentation of being enrolled in the initiative, they should discuss with the course team in advance.

Learning process

QUESTION: Will we have any online interaction with the course tutors and participants in the course?

ANSWER: : Yes, the 3 digital learning modules are all based on peer learning, so every activity will be organized so that you are learning from each other as well as from the resources provided and experts involved. There will be community activities which are open, where everyone can comment on the contributions of other participants. Alongside community activities, each participant will develop their own project and then peer review the projects of three other participants. This peer review is a key part of the learning process. In addition, once a week the group will come together in a live session (where everyone is connected at the same time). During this discussion group, participants will be invited to present their projects and their peers will give them feedback (as well as the invited experts).

QUESTION: Will there be live Q&A sessions with the instructors, or are questions submitted mainly through email/online course methods?

ANSWER: Both. There will be a weekly discussion group (every Wednesday at 15h00 Geneva), a community for dialogue and to post questions, weekly community assignments, and an individual project. Participants will view short videos and explore resources needed to complete community assignments and their project, as well as to review projects of fellow participants.

QUESTION: Is the learning time for each week flexible?

ANSWER: Your commitment will be to complete set tasks by the end of each week. Within each week, you will be able to work on these tasks at any time. These tasks include community assignments and participation in community dialogue. The main course project has three milestones by which you must have completed certain project tasks (submission of a draft, peer review, and revision). Only the weekly discussion group requires your presence at a specific time (Wednesday at 15h00 Geneva, once a week, for 60 minutes). Participants with a legitimate reason for absence will be expected to view the recording of the Wednesday session and contribute to the dialogue.

QUESTION: What is the scope to gain insights from previously conducted surveys and understand the evolution of survey methods designed and implemented by WHO?

ANSWER: The Modules will focus on how to design and develop a vaccine coverage survey using WHO’s current recommendations, available in the working draft of the 2015 Vaccination Coverage Survey: Reference Manual. Participants with experience conducting vaccination coverage surveys using previous WHO recommendations will understand the main changes in recommendations, particularly the focus on using probability sampling and bolstering overall quality and documentation. Experts in the course may share insights and historical examples to help you think through your assignments, but that is not main purpose of the course.

QUESTION: What other materials will be needed for the training?

ANSWER: The main reference material will be the 2015 Vaccination Coverage Survey: Reference Manual (working draft). All learning resources needed will be made available to course participants.

QUESTION: Will I be given an assignment to complete in the field?


Future offering

QUESTION: Will these modules be offered again?

ANSWER: The World Health Organization’s current commitment is to offer the digital learning modules in 2017. WHO has not yet determined if the course may be run again in the future.

Training of trainers

QUESTION: Can I conduct training programmes in the country for others? And if so, will I get guidance and support also?

ANSWER: No, at least not yet. At this stage the initiative is not intended to prepare you to train others in the WHO recommended vaccine coverage survey methods.

Internet access limitations

QUESTION: I am not very good in the use of Scholar [although I successfully completed the 2016 GRISP Scholar pilot in 2016]. I want to know whether downloading email and submission of my assignment will be sufficient to meet the course requirements.

ANSWER: The course team will support participants who face challenges with Internet access. We have many solutions to ensure that participants can contribute even if they have only intermittent Internet access, bandwidth limitations, or security restrictions. Ultimately, participants who are highly-motivated will be supported to find solutions!