This session explores one University’s engagement in 2017-18 with the Jisc digital student experience project and discusses how we have engaged with some survey-weary students to find out more about their current and anticipated digital experience. This required the owners and promoters of the institutional systems to step back from their promotion of a well-regarded Learning Management System (LMS) to explore how all students can be supported better in their learning and how they can further enhance their digital skills. In short we wanted to determine what the students really want from their university digital experience.
The 2017-18 Jisc Digital Student Tracker survey is part of a wider programme of research and development into digital capabilities across the breadth of HE and FE, plus other learner groups. The authors’ University had previously engaged with the Jisc Digital Capabilities work through the 2016-17 academic year piloting this with academic and professional staff teams. This programme was led locally by representatives from leadership teams in Learning and Information Systems, with support from HR, and our research and academic communities.
The University promoted the 2017-18 student survey with support from the Students’ Union, using a variety of digital media and with ‘roadshows’ run on each campus. Taking this opportunity to talk to students was an important pillar for promoting the survey, because it gave a ‘one to one’ connection and consequently the take-up for the survey rose. If we had promoted the survey on its own, this would merely repeat the acquisition of data for a broader understanding of what drives online engagement or what the personal and institutional barriers are. Instead the aim for the collaboration with our learners was to deliver a more joined–up process and reflect on how the outcomes could lead to targeted provision of personal development materials as well as pointing them to what exists already in terms of student support for online skills development.
Another key point of differentiation from earlier surveys has been the way that the outcomes have led to integrated support through the provision of continuing professional development (CPD) for staff as well as students. For staff this has resulted in a variety of short-term CPD opportunities, and for students the results from the 2017-18 cohort’s answers have contributed to the design of new integrated sections in our pre-registration MOOC,. Previously trialled at the start of the 2017 academic year it has been further developed for incoming undergraduates and post-graduates and returners. One core part of our ‘building digital capabilities’ strategy was to promote free short courses in key skills areas to staff and students via a new online provider. Take up for this quickly exceeded expectations.
At the conference the authors will share key outcomes from their survey work and invite participants to discuss how providing more ‘self-service’ materials for staff and student to update their digital skills can be addressed. Participants will benefit from learning how the University identified differing levels of digital expertise and how the skills gap is being closed.
Contribution to the theme: This session contributes to the Participation in Learning Technology theme because it explores the way that student survey results can be used as the basis to deliver change and enhance students’ personal digital skills development.
Session content: evaluation and reflection
This session is developed from a University’s local responses to the Jisc digital student tracker survey (ref https://www.jisc.ac.uk/rd/projects/student-digital-experience-tracker ). The tracker was previously piloted in 2016 and it has since been run in 2017-2018. (http://repository.jisc.ac.uk/6672/1/Jiscstudenttracker17summary.pdf) The key point is that the onus then falls on the local institution to plan and make available a variety of resources to further develop digital skills for their local student body according to the results of the survey. The authors explored with the support of their Students Union how more online support and training could be made available for students to use on a self-service and ‘pick and mix’ basis. The authors will share how they have used Lynda.com as one source of extra online material for students to improve their knowledge and skills and are developing their pre-sessional MOOC so no students feel left behind or out of their depth. Participants will be invited to share their evaluations and strategies for providing online or face to face support for students to develop their skills
Jisc student digital experience tracker
Available at : https://www.jisc.ac.uk/rd/projects/student-digital-experience-tracker [Accessed March 2018]
Student digital experience tracker 2017 at a glance
Available at http://repository.jisc.ac.uk/6672/1/Jiscstudenttracker17summary.pdf [Accessed March 2018]
Resources for participants
The Jisc student digital experience tracker is still under review and a set of the latest resources will be provided at the conference