If as a sector we are to successfully respond to incoming students’ expectations of the digital environment in higher education it is important to gain a clear understanding of how and why these expectations are formed. This is not simply so that we can meet these expectations but also so that where appropriate we can challenge them with confidence.
Students entering higher education from secondary school have formed vague notions of what the next stage of their education will be like . This includes expectations of the digital environment provided by HE and FE institutions. As identified by phase 1 (August – November 2013) of the Jisc funded Digital Student project these expectations are significantly influenced by students’ experiences of ICT while at school. (Younie and Leask 2013) It became clear during phase 1 that this included expectations about the types of technology that would be provided by higher education institutions and, significantly, what constitutes good practice with those technologies.
As a response to this finding from phase 1 during phase 2 (January – June 2014) we undertook a more detailed review of secondary school students experiences of, and attitudes towards, ICT. This research included a literature review and focus groups with students from two secondary schools. The work was not limited to students’ experiences of the digital in a formal educational context and explored broadly the digital literacies employed when completing school related work in a personal context. This is significant as students’ expectations of the digital environment in HE are also formed by their personal and social experiences outside of school. (Grant 2010)
This presentation will draw the findings of the Digital Student project with a specific focus on the implications of expectations created while at school. It will explore how technology and digital practice related notions are formed, moving on to consider what the implications are for those providing, and working with, digital technology in higher education. The presentation will discuss the recommendations from the Digital Student study which have been made in response to our understanding of incoming expectations and suggest pragmatic ways higher education can respond. Importantly it will be argued that there are, and should be, fundamental differences in the approach of school-level and higher education and that where the digital environment is concerned perhaps the ‘customer’ isn’t always right.
[Reference to author’s own work redacted]
Grant, L. (2010) Connecting digital literacy between home and school. Futurelab. [Online] Available:http://www.futurelab.org.uk/sites/default/files/Connecting_digital_literacy_between_home_and_school.pdf
Younie, S. and Leask, M. (2013) Implementing learning platforms in schools and universities: lessons from England and Wales. Technology, Pedagogy and Education, 22 (2), pp. 247-266
|Affiliation||University of Oxford|