Student digital experience survey: results and actions

Thanks to the 680 students who recently provided valuable feedback and suggestions on their digital experience while at university: we have listened!

This was the second year the survey has been run and findings include:

  • students make good use of digital tools and have a positive attitude to the use of technology in learning and teaching;
  • the use of tablets has reduced while the use of laptops and printers has increased;
  • 90% rated the University’s overall digital provision positively;
  • access to WIFI is better but there is still room for improvement;
  • where it is used, students appreciate online collaborative learning tasks such as peer review of each other’s work.

Student suggestions focused on:

  • facilities (access to equipment, WIFI coverage, the cost of printing, access to course-specific software and digital resources such as e-books);
  • support (inductions, help with study skills and equipment; improved awareness of resources such as those on inclusivity or study skills);
  • the need for information to be all in one place instead of having separate systems such as study hub, Learning Space, my Falmouth;
  • the usability of Learning Space and its integration with other systems;
  • the need for consistent, timely and comprehensive use of Learning Space by teaching staff;
  • the availability of digital skills workshops (e.g. in Adobe software).

Senior staff and the Falmouth FXU president reviewed the results and identified actions with aims that include:

  • improving navigation and consistency of information within Learning Space;
  • ensuring the availability of up-to-date industry-standard software;
  • reviewing the cost of printing;
  • improving access to campus IT suites;
  • improving WIFI in residences and away from buildings;
  • improving communication with students on IT matters such as data privacy;
  • promoting study skills tools;
  • fostering curriculum recognition that the employability of all graduates requires extensive digital skills.

Going forward, we will keep listening and align actions to the university strategy.

Student Digital Experience Survey Prize Draw Winner

From mid-December to mid-January we surveyed Falmouth students on the quality of their digital experience while at University. 680 students took part and the prize draw winner was Ben Watkins, who is in the final year of his BA (Hons) in Marine and Natural History Photography. Congratulations Ben!

We will publish our analysis of the results in a future post.

Ben Watkins is the winner of the prize draw
Ben Watkins (pictured right) receives the prize.

Journal, a shiny new thing

For a while now courses at Falmouth have been asking for a blogging/portfolio platform for students and staff to use for all sorts of reasons.

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EdTech have now implemented CampusPress and are running it as a pilot this year. It’s essentially a WordPress multisite set up, with some added extras provided by EduBlogs the company behind it all. It’s called ‘Journal’ and you can access it at: http://journal.falmouth.ac.uk using your usual login credentials.

The added extras are mostly around class/cohort management and are great for keeping track of your student’s blogs or having a collaborative space where students can post to a central area, reflect and comment on each other’s ideas.

There are a few courses officially piloting it for us and we’ll be reporting back on how they get on later in the year; there is an overview of how the BA(Hons) Business Entrepreneurship course is using it in the Falmouth in Focus post about the course. In the meantime though, if you’d like to use it on your course, or you’re a student that would like to create a space where you can record and reflect on your learning or extra curricular activities then login, take a look and get in touch if you need to.

A Lens on… Learning Technologists

In this series of articles, the Educational Technology team will be providing an insight into existing practice using technology for learning and teaching at Falmouth University and also at projects being undertaken within the wider HE sector.

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In this post, we are focusing on the role of the Learning Technologist in HE. The Association for Learning Technology provides this definition as a starting point:

Learning technology is the broad range of communication, information and related technologies that can be used to support learning, teaching, and assessment. Learning technologists are people who are actively involved in managing, researching, supporting or enabling learning with the use of learning technology.

In UK Higher Education, there is usually a function within the institution to support this. Yet, because the practice is so broad, it could be situated anywhere from within Learning & Teaching, Library Services and IT or embedded within the faculty and that can depend on how it supports strategy and how well the function is understood. And role names could vary from Educational/Learning/Academic Technologist/Advisor/Consultant

A ‘Really Useful’ place to gain a deeper insight is  The Really Useful Ed. Tech Book. In his chapter on the structure and roles of Learning Technologists, Peter Reed describes a continuum of job variation from IT focused, which might include server and web development to Education focused, which might include learning design and pedagogy and everywhere in between (Reed 2015: pp. 41 – 51).

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The Really Useful Ed. Tech Book islicensed under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0 Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

This can make things confusing, as many understand the role of IT support and are aware of the VLE, but not always aware of the range and depth that a Learning Technology service covers. These issues are put succinctly in this timely post by Bex Ferriday, which asks how can we help people better understand the role of the Learning Technologist… not just someone who can fix computers!

At Falmouth, we provide an overview of the team on our site. The Educational Technology team operates within the wider ICT department, though we are closely aligned to both ICT and Learning, Teaching and Employability strategies. The team has a broad experience that covers Reed’s continuum of job variation and we find ourselves dealing with things like configuring authentication to the VLE to testing out new technologies with academic staff to hosting workshops in learning design for blended and online modules/courses. One of the most effective routes into working with our academic staff we have found is by working with our PGCHE. Many of our Focus On… initiatives have been born out of the PGCHE Summer School, where staff are given the space to explore and experiment with learning technology. 

We pride ourselves on having an understanding of technology and being able to act as a bridge between technology and pedagogy; being able to explain things clearly to an audience with varying digital practices.

We’d love to hear how it’s approached in other UK HEIs by response to this post or on Twitter.

Dear Geek Santa….

Once the festive season arrives thoughts in the team turn to what Santa might be bringing us in our Christmas stockings. We’ve had another busy year and hope we’re all still on the nice list, so Santa please be kind and make a little note of our tech based wishes!

This year Mark’s keen to get his hands on a pocket synth set, ideally Teenage Engineering’s PO Superset.

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Perfect for making noise on the go the Superset features synthesizer engines, punch in effects and a built in speaker. These ultra portable devices fit in the palm of your hand and allow you to create studio quality electronic beats. We’ll be keeping an eye out for Mark’s future music releases.

Adel recently got herself a bike and would like to upgrade her FitBit Charge to something that will track her cycling and swimming activity. Having shopped around she likes the look of the Moov Now. Although not able to be charged it’s got a 6 month battery which is replaceable, and won the Sports Wearable of the Year 2016 award from Wearable.com.

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It’s safe to say wearable tech has come on leaps and bounds over the last year and exercise trackers and now able to monitor more than before. With the accompanying app you’re now able to track all types of fitness, whereas previously with Moov you needed a different app for every activity. It’s safe to say that fitness trackers will develop more during 2017 so who knows what might be on Adel’s list next year.

Topping Amy’s list this is year is the Sonos Play 5. Already a keen Sonos fan she would like to expand her home based music system. Not only does the Play 5 configure will the other speakers in the Play system it has a dedicated line in making it slightly more advanced than other speakers in the same range.

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With it’s dedicated app and ability to stream music to all speakers in the same system it’s a really great setup for home audio.

Also keen on some new audio for Christmas is Oliver; on his wish list this year is a Kastle modular synth. Pocket sized and reprogrammable using an Arduino it has two inputs/outputs and can be combined with other modular gear such as the PO Superset mentioned on Mark’s list.

So if you could make our Ed Tech Christmas dreams come true Santa that would be great. We’d also like to take the time to wish all staff and students a Merry Christmas and we’ll see you in 2017!

Falmouth Digital Experience Tracker

Monday 5th December sees the launch of our Digital Experience tracker at Falmouth University. With Jisc, we’re joining over a hundred educational providers internationally to benchmark our student digital experience.

At Falmouth we’re also offering the opportunity to win an iPad Mini for taking part.

Students can fill in the 15 minute survey and forward their completion receipt to digital.experience@falmouth.ac.uk for a chance to win.

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We’re opening the tracker until Jan 30th and will be updating the digital signage around campus with response rates and themes. In February, those wishing to continue the conversation will be invited to focus groups to discuss some of the emerging issues and plan how to tackle them.

In April we’ll get an idea of the bigger picture through a comparison with other Universities and be able to benchmark our own Digital Experience at Falmouth.

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