Yet at the same time there is evidence that students are fairly conservative in their expectations of learning and the role that digital technologies can play (Littlejohn et al. 2010). What kind of educational experiences do students actually need to succeed in tomorrow’s digital workplaces and communities? The expectations they bring to higher education from outside do not necessarily provide the answer. In fact the answer may not be clear to students until they are well advanced in their studies or have tested their learning experience against the world of work. Universities need to look beyond the demands of current undergraduates, then, when planning their digital provision. At the same time, students do need to be involved in the debate about future digital provision and the digital curriculum, including as developers and innovators in their own right.
This is the kind of dialogue that we will be hosting in our workshop. We will draw on outcomes from a national consultation process among students and staff (March-July 2014), and from a study [reference to authors’ own work redacted] into students’ changing expectations and needs. But rather than presenting findings – which are openly accessible on the Jisc Digital Student web site – we will focus on how institutions can build their own engagement processes and so develop local strategies of response. Among other activities, participants will offer rapid-fire responses to provocative challenges or ‘postcards from the future’ and will debate different approaches to working with students in the digital environment today.
Participants will have access to outcomes from the Jisc Digital Student study in the form of interactive posters, staff development cards, student videos and online scenarios. They will be able to browse ideas submitted by staff and students to a variety of digital ‘challenges’. The session will also be supported by a dedicated blog before and after the event and by amplification using the hashtag #digitalstudent. Outcomes from the event will be freely available to everyone with an interest in the digital learning experience.
This interactive session will appeal to delegates with an interest in future HE trends, the digital experience of students, and curriculum design. They will gain:
- insights into students’ perspectives on the digital environment and their hopes and fears for the future;
- the opportunity to develop practical responses and to share ideas with others;
- resources to take away – including strategic development materials and student voice videos – that can be used in their own institutional contexts;
- a greater understanding of the tensions and challenges facing institutions in the coming years.
[Reference to author’s own work redacted]
Gabriel, M.A., Campbell, B., Wiebe, S., MacDonald, R.J. and McAuley, A. (2012) The Role of Digital Technologies in Learning: Expectations of First Year University Students. Canadian Journal of Learning & Technology Spring2012, Vol. 38 Issue 1: pp 1–18.