Understanding our student and staff experience of learning technologies

‘Nothing endures but change’. Heraclitus. So true.

This time a year ago I was urging students to complete the 6th EHU Student e-Learning Survey and a whopping 798 actually did. Today I am able to publish the full report and recommendations based on the analysis of that survey’s results. We are very grateful for our students’ generosity with their time and feedback. It is our hope that we repay them with year-on-year improvements that show we are actually listening to what they are telling us.

students using a laptop. Cover of survey report

Cover from survey report

 

The survey’s findings shed light on a number of topics:

  • Access to technology
  • Trend analysis in the use/ experience of Learning Edge since 2008/09
  • Positive and negative features of Learning Edge
  • What students think makes for an ‘ideal’ digital learning environment

 

But there’s more …

 

In addition to publicising the student survey findings, this post is also a call for feedback via its sister survey into academic staff engagement with technology, library and services to support teaching. The survey is currently live until midnight on 29th January [now extended to midnight 5th February] and can be accessed from the Learning Edge home page. We’ve even been able to secure three lots of £15 Amazon vouchers for a free prize draw for entrants.

Please complete the survey and help us to better understand your experience of using technology and the services that underpin it. We have learned over many years that success in providing and supporting learning technologies doesn’t come from following a ‘how to’ guide, but is highly context specific, dependent upon properly understanding how people use them – and what it feels like to use them. Tell us how it is for you and contribute to the ongoing improvement.

Lindsey Martin Assitant Head of Learning Services

Lindsey Martin

Students, technology and study – still time to have your say!

The 6th EHU student eLearning Survey is an important means of gathering large-scale, detailed feedback on how students experience technology in teaching and learning. Past surveys have contributed massively to our development and support of technology-enhanced learning. The current survey has a couple more weeks to run but the responses already reveal interesting trends that I thought worth sharing. Do these reflect your own experiences? There is still time to complete the survey at http://surveys.edgehill.ac.uk/elearning_2014 (and be in with a chance of winning up to £100 in Amazon vouchers).

Trend 1. Mobile devices are essential tools to support your studies

This isn’t really surprising when you think that your smart phone has more computing power than Apollo 11 when it landed a man on the moon. Apart from money, your phone is the one thing you probably won’t leave home without. Survey responses so far tell us that smart phone access to Learning Edge now seems to be a mainstream activity for accessing notifications, presentations and course content. Just under a quarter of you are using Apps to support study – RefMe, PC Availability, Dropbox, Socrative, barcode scanners and note-making apps to name a few.

Table 1 shows how mobile access to Learning Edge has increased year on year alongside other activities. Table 2 shows the types of devices that are being brought onto campus (%).

Table 2. Devices students bring onto campus.

Table 2

 

Table 1. How students use mobile devices for study

Table 1

 

 

 

 

 

Trend 2: Accessing Learning Edge on and off-campus is a much-improved experience

The 2012/13 survey revealed fewer number of you were experiencing technical difficulties when using Learning Edge on and off campus – but oddly, the most dramatic improvement was in the reduction of off campus technical difficulties.

This prompted us to take a fresh look at on-campus access to Learning Edge and I’m pleased to say that it looks like the many #getconnected roadshows and promotion of Eduroam for reliable WIFI access on campus have had a big impact. Early data from the current survey shows a significant improvement in your on campus access to Learning Edge as illustrated by tables 3 and 4.

on campus access to Eearning Edge

Table 3

 

Off campus access to Learning Edge

Table 4

 

 

 

 

 

Trend 3. Learning Edge is essential for 27/7/365 access to your course

Past surveys told us that each year more of you agree with the statement that Learning Edge enhances knowledge and understanding gained at taught sessions. Early indications are that this year is no different – but with a pleasing improvement on 2012/13. There has been a similar improvement in the response to the statement ‘my tutors regularly update Learning Edge with course information and materials –currently 93.4% of student responses agree with this statement (tables 5 and 6 illustrate).

Table 5. tutors regularly update Learning Edge

Table 5

 

Table 6. Learning Edge enhances my learning

Table 6

 

 

 

 

 

Whilst much data has been obtained by this survey so far, it is important to capture the widest sample of experiences and feedback possible. This isn’t a vanity exercise – although praise is always welcomed. As well as the good, we also welcome the bad and downright ugly! This survey is an important part of our commitment to keep listening to you so we can continue improve year on year on what we do.

Lindsey Martin Assitant Head of Learning Services

 

 

Lindsey Martin, Assistant Head of Learning Services (Learning, ICT & Media Technologies)

 

 

The 6th Student eLearning Survey (and Prize Draw)

StudentSurvey

Where does the time go? The sixth EHU student eLearning survey is now live. Telling us your experiences and expectations of the technology you use to support your learning helps us to understand what works and what doesn’t.

The survey isn’t just a tick box exercise, it drives change – as well as the good, we want to know the bad and the downright ugly so we can continue to improve the features, access and support of EHU systems like the Learning Edge virtual learning environment. Since the last survey we have, amongst other things, dramatically improved the look and feel of Learning Edge based on your feedback – including 1-click access to its home page from the Go Portal and enabled access to your subject library resources.

If you are an Edge Hill student, please (please!) complete our survey. We realise that your time is precious – especially with end of term assignment deadlines looming – and so we have added a sweetener of a prize draw of  £100, £50 and  £25 Amazon vouchers.

The survey may be accessed from the home page of Blackboard, or direct from http://surveys.edgehill.ac.uk/elearning_2014. We plan to close the survey on 23rd January 2015 and in the meantime, we look forward to hearing from you …

Lindsey Martin Assitant Head of Learning Services

 

 

Lindsey Martin, Assistant Head of Learning Services (Learning, ICT & Media Technologies)

Doing something different with data – using infographics to showcase your research

The 5th EHU Student eLearning survey closed in the spring of this year and we will be sharing the full report and feedback shortly, but we wanted to highlight some of the headlines using infographics.  Using pictures to tell a story is nothing new but we have been looking over the past few months at how we can represent research data in an infographic.  We can see many opportunities for communicating to our customers the messages from what in the past, they might have seemed like dry or complex data.  Seeing the trends, figures and statistics which are contained in research can be really hard sometimes but the infographic brings the message to the foreground in a visually appealing way.  Using a graphic can also very easily give your statistic some context, again, something which can be hard when you are writing a report.

A key element of the annual eLearning survey is seeing the trends in terms of the use of TEL and the VLE and also the technology the students are using to access learning.

Here are 5 infographics showcasing the following; the increase in student satisfaction and interaction with Learning Edge; personal means of accessing the internet (we all know where that one is going!); preferred place of study on campus – it is still the library but we will be tracking in future how students are using our new student HUB; the technology students feel could be best used in terms of their learning; and bringing us back to our campus and the facilities, the increase in students using wireless on campus.

We hope you find these graphics more appealing that just a percentage statistic and we will be sharing more technology and Learning Edge data soon, along with some library statistics so if we can excite people about book issues by using graphics, it’s a result!

Student_Survey_graphics

Student_Survey_graphics2Student_Survey_graphics4Student_Survey_graphics7Student_Survey_graphics8

Rachel Bury

Academic Liaison Manager – Quality, Marketing and Communication

Can someone explain what’s going on here?

The 5th EHU Student eLearning survey still has just over a week or so left to run but I thought  I’d share with you an interesting and unusual finding from the large number of responses we have received so far.

In the survey we ask students to respond to the statements On/off campus I sometimes have difficulties accessing Learning Edge and not surprisingly a lot of students agree or strongly agree. The responses to these statements are important measures of how well or otherwise the Learning Edge systems and student support are performing. They are also indicators of how effective Learning Services have been in identifying and resolving Learning Edge technical issues. So it is reassuring to note that since we started collecting data on this question and used the feedback to inform improvements, that the numbers of students experiencing technical difficulties have declined year on year.

Which brings me to the interesting and unusual finding illustrated in the two graphs below (click on a chart to make it bigger).

This positive trend shows students are experiencing significantly fewer technical difficulties with Learning Edge both on and off campus but surprisingly the most dramatic improvement is the reduction of off-campus technical difficulties. This reduction is even more marked in the current student responses and begs the question ‘What is going on here: why isn’t the rate of improvement as dramatic with on-campus technical difficulties?’

Obviously, we’ll be investigating this anomaly in our continuing efforts to improve the student experience of Learning Edge. As a starting point, it would be really helpful if student readers could use this blog’s comments facility to provide some pointers by letting me know where, when and on what devices you tend to experience Learning Edge technical issues. It would also be helpful to learn more about what types of technical difficulties are experienced both on- and off-campus.

Finally, if you have not yet had your say about your experience of technology to support your learning at Edge Hill, there is still just over a week of the EHU Student eLearning Survey left to go. Give us your feedback and enter the prize draw for £50 and 2 x £25  Amazon vouchers. Every 20th participant also wins an attractive 1G USB wristband.

Lindsey Martin eLearning Strategy and Development Manager

Lindsey Martin Assistant Head of Learning Services (Learning, ICT and Media Technologies)

Students have your say – and win Amazon vouchers #2

My last blog post focused on last year’s student eLearning survey winners so I thought this time it  would be helpful to explain why we think the annual survey is so important.

The Student eLearning Survey is now 5 years old and is an important means of finding out how technology supports student learning at Edge Hill. It isn’t just a tick-box exercise; we want to know the bad and the downright ugly as well as the good so we can continue to improve the features, access and support of EHU systems like the Learning Edge VLE. Since the last survey we have, amongst other things, improved the look and feel of Learning Edge based on your feedback. We also redesigned the log in page to make access and support easier, made Campus Pack (personal blogs and Wiki spaces in Learning Edge) available and released the Edge Hill Central app.

So what did we learn last year? We already knew that Learning Edge (Blackboard) is heavily used, but thanks to the survey, we also know that many students rate it as important, with 78.7% agreeing that it enhanced the knowledge and understanding they get from lectures, tutorials and practical sessions.

While technical and access issues with Learning Edge still occur both on and off campus, the trend over the past 4 years is, thankfully, downward. Facebook was frequently cited as a student ‘owned’ technology to support informal learning where they can email, send notifications, use instant messaging, share documents and course information – I think of it as the Facebook ‘Hub’ compared to the Learning Edge ‘classroom’.

I could go on … but if you want to know more, have a look at the results of last year’s survey at http://www.eshare.edgehill.ac.uk/1341/

Finally, if you are a student and want to get your views about technology at Edge Hill heard, then why not complete the survey http://surveys.edgehill.ac.uk/elearning2012 Don’t forget there is a prize draw for £50 and 2 x £25 Amazon vouchers as well as a 1G USB wristband for every 20th response – we’ve already given away loads and would love to give away more!

Lindsey Martin eLearning Strategy and Development Manager  Lindsey Martin, eLearning Strategy and Development Manager

Students – have your say and win Amazon vouchers!

EHU’s fifth student eLearning survey was launched this week and in exchange for your  views and experiences of technology we are offering one £50 and two £25 Amazon vouchers in a prize draw. We know how precious your time is, so as an additional thank you for completing the survey, we are also giving away a Learning Services 1G USB wristband to every 20th student who takes part.

Here are a couple of photos of last year’s prize draw winners – note the wristbands too!

Matthew Cooper and Lindsey Martin

First prize to Matthew Cooper, Human Geography and Management pictured with yours truly.

 

Daniel Campbell

Runner up, Daniel Campbell, Computing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Current students, you can complete the survey. It will close on Friday 25th January 2013.

Here is the link http://surveys.edgehill.ac.uk/elearning2012

Keep an eye out for a blog post coming soon on how we use the feedback from the eLearning survey to make a difference.

Lindsey Martin eLearning Strategy and Development Manager Lindsey Martin, eLearning Strategy & Development Manager

Students – keep telling us what you think!

There is still time to win one of our prizes (£50 Amazon vouchers, 2 x £25 Amazon vouchers or a 1GB USB wristband) by completing the fourth Students eLearning Survey. We have now had 327 responses to our survey so a big thank you to all those who have completed it so far, but we need as many more as possible to give a truly representative picture.

We’ve had a look at the results to date and thought we would share some early feedback with you. We’re delighted to see that a high percentage of students (79.2%) feel that Learning Edge enhances the knowledge and understanding that they get from lectures and tutorials. Last year this figure was 75.2% so it’s great to see that this has increased. Similarly 88.1% of students agree that Learning Edge enables them to learn at a place and time of their choosing; this has increased from last years figure of 83.4%.

Another positive finding is that technical difficulties experienced when using Blackboard (now Learning Edge) have decreased. Last year, 60.7% of students had problems off campus compared with 43.5% this year. 45.9% of students had problems when on campus last year, but this has reduced to 38%. This hasn’t happened by accident; Learning Edge is a more robust and reliable system, underpinned by high quality technical and learner support. We’ve also created lots of new guides for students so we hope this has contributed to the reduction in problems!

We know how important it is to many students to be able to submit assignments online (84.7% said so this year and 82.7% last year) and we’re pleased to report that there are developments underway to improve this process and to offer more options to both students and tutors….so watch this space!

If you are a frequent viewer of our blog you will have seen previous posts about Mobile Learn, the mobile app for Learning Edge. Many students have already downloaded the app which is great news, and we’re keen for more students to make use of the app. The results of the survey show that last year 36.1% of students had an internet enabled mobile phone, but according to this year’s results so far this has increased to 78%. The launch of our mobile app was obviously very timely! For more information about the app have a look at this post.

The results mentioned above are based on the responses so far, so if you’ve not already completed the survey please do so and contribute to our findings for this year. Remember, as an added incentive, we are offering a grand prize of £50 Amazon vouchers and two runner up prizes of £25 Amazon vouchers to the lucky winners of our prize draw. We are also giving away one of our very exclusive Learning Services 1GB USB wristbands for every 20th response. We’ve already given away 16 of our wristbands – complete the survey now for your chance to be the next winner!

Current EHU students can access the survey from Learning Edge, the GO portal, your email or from http://surveys.edgehill.ac.uk/elearning_survey_2011/.

Katherine Richardson
LTD Operations Co-ordinator

You’ve got to be in it to win it …

Our fourth Students eLearning Survey has only been open for a week and we’ve already had 180 responses – thank you to everyone who has completed it so far!

As you know we are giving away one of our Learning Services USB wristbands for every 20th response so this means we have given 9 away already – check your student email to see if you’re one of the lucky winners.

Have a look at the picture below to see what these exclusive wristbands look like and complete the survey quickly so you don’t miss out on your chance to win one!

Don’t forget that the main prize draw will take place when the survey closes at the end of January 2012, with a grand prize of £50 Amazon vouchers and two runner up prizes of £25 Amazon vouchers!

On a more serious note, the survey really does help to inform developments and in fact one of the main drivers for moving to Learning Edge was the feedback from last years survey that told us you wanted a more reliable, stable and professional system. We think Learning Edge has provided these but want to hear your views .

Current EHU students can access the survey from Learning Edge, the GO portal, your email or from http://surveys.edgehill.ac.uk/elearning_survey_2011/.

Katherine Richardson
LTD Operations Co-ordinator

Students – win £50 Amazon vouchers!

Believe it or not the time has come again for us to launch our annual students’ e-Learning survey! This is the fourth year we’ve ran this survey and it’s great that we’re able to build up a picture of our students’ experiences and expectations of technology and see trends emerging over the years.

The survey informs change and developments and we really do take on board all of your comments and suggestions. As an example, last year you told us you wanted a mobile App for Learning Edge (Blackboard 9.1)…..Mobile Learn was launched in September 2011 and as you can see from previous blog posts we have a lot of students now using the app and feedback so far has been extremely positive which we consider to be a resounding success! Keep an eye out for blog posts over the coming weeks telling you more about what changes we’ve made based on the results of last year’s survey.

Learning Edge (Blackboard 9.1) was introduced this academic year and so it’s the perfect time to have your say and tell us your experiences of using it. We know how precious your time is, especially during the assessment period, so as a thank you for completing the survey we are offering a grand prize of £50 Amazon vouchers and two runner up prizes of £25 Amazon vouchers. We are also giving away one of our very exclusive Learning Services USB wristbands for every 20th response!

Current EHU students can access the survey from Learning Edge, the GO portal, your email or from http://surveys.edgehill.ac.uk/elearning_survey_2011/. We plan to close the survey on Friday 27th January 2012.

We look forward to reading your responses!

Katherine Richardson
LTD Operations Co-ordinator