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)

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