Mark Alexander Williams

JISC Digital Tracker Results

by Mark Williams

My interest in student expectations upon learning technologies came predominantly from attending Jisc's Digifest conferences over the last few years, and the research I've undertaken follows a similar patter to the recent digital tracker that education institutions have taken part in over the last few months.

My hand in for the MA was set for the same time that these results were released, but it now turns out that i've got a couple of extra weeks to submit, so i'm now wondering whether to try and factor in the summary reportas a sort of addendum. I'm not sure how this would normally work, but I'm going to throw some of the relevant finding in here and see how they relate to my own study.

90% of students reported that they had reliable access to wifi at their usual place of learning.

92% said they could access course materials online.

HE learners most commonly used their own laptops (88%) and smartphones (84%) to support their learning.

HEIs should consider the resources required to support learners to BYO and to access institutional systems (such as wifi) via multiple devices per learner, and they might improve learning experiences by tailoring pedagogic practice to make best use of the benefits offered by different devices (notably smartphones to support e.g. group discussions).

HE learners rely less on institutional devices, using an average of only 1.4 devices per learner. However, they have far higher average personal device use to support their learning, averaging 2.7 personal devices per learner.

80% rely on the VLE to do coursework.

However, nearly one in four say that technology use on their course can result in greater distraction (24%)

Just over 10% of HE learners disagreed when asked whether they could access digital training and support when they needed it in comparison with only approximately 7% of the other learner groups (FE, WBL)

Learners were asked whether they were told how their personal data was stored and used. They could agree,remain neutral or disagree with the statement. Fewer than half of all online, FE and HE learners agreed with this statement. HE learners had the most negative response

When asked whether they know where to get help if they are bullied or harassed online 20% (one in five) of HE learners disagreed, in comparison to 5 – 7% of learners from the other three groups.

Similarly 10% of HE learners disagreed when asked whether their university helps

them stay safe online, in comparison with fewer than 2% of learners in all other groups. This may reflect a historically lower level of expectations for responsibility when it comes to digital safety issues among HE institutions.

HE learners (37%) most commonly turned to online information to learn new digital skills. However, they were almost as likely to turn to friends and family, and (if on campus) fellow students.