Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Student feedback on technology

One of the things we've been looking at recently is a report commissioned by our Student Union earlier this year on the impact of technology on learning and teaching. Some interesting, but not entirely unexpected, findings. 

We know that students use a variety of devices including laptops and smart phones, and technologies ranging through email, social networking, Microsoft office, Google apps, the VLE, and ebooks. Some are institutionally based, some external. Students use technology in formal teaching and assessed work as well as informal learning and peer support. They mainly see technology as an enabler to learning, not a barrier. The research revealed that negative views are mainly around the lack of consistency in the use of technology  across different departments and variations in the student experience. There's also some confusion about the different systems, platforms and sites available. But the students also asked for our content to be available on more open platforms such as iTunesU and youTube, rather than just our in-house systems. 

It's clear from the research that students want to be involved in discussions with us, and are keen to give us feedback. They want a more consistent, joined up approach to the use of technology in learning and teaching, and more use of technology by those staff who don't currently engage.

So, all of this will get fed into the eLearning strategy which we're currently writing, and I'm very keen to see how we can engage more with students to get not just their feedback, but their ideas.

1 comment:

Matt Keehan said...

I found this interesting, "There's also some confusion about the different systems, platforms and sites available"

I wonder if that arose because of our focus on branding our systems? One of the first things that I noticed when I started working here was the heavy use of branded names for our systems, and these are generally used in the links to the systems within our sites, for example MUSE, MOLE, uSpace etc. That creates an overhead for the user, they have to learn what each of these systems is. I've not been a student here, but as a staff member, you do spend your first few weeks asking "what's that then?" every time someone tells you to use a system. Could that be what leads to the students' confusion? We always describe them as tech-savvy, so they probably know what a VLE or a portal is, and I can't help thinking that, as we have quite a large number of different systems, our internal branding may create a barrier to those things.