Stephen Webb

Back in spring 2016, JISC piloted a tool – the JISC Student Digital Experience Tracker – intended to allow institutions to gather evidence from learners about their digital experiences. The motivation behind the Tracker was to enable institutions to make better-informed decisions about the digital environment, to target resources for improving digital provision, and to demonstrate quality enhancement and student engagement to external bodies and to students themselves. Portsmouth was one of 12 universities chosen to deploy the Tracker.

We chose to gain a snapshot of our learners’ digital experiences at Level 4, and many of the findings were in close agreement with the national picture. Students – both here and at the other pilot universities – said they wanted universities to stop sending irrelevant emails and to stop “death by PowerPoint” in lectures.

Students said they wanted universities to offer recorded lectures; to make better use of digital learning environments; to offer more activities online; and to provide access to more computers. Just under three-quarters of students (74.4% at Portsmouth; 72% nationally) believed that when technology is used effectively by teaching staff it enhances their learning experience.

A particularly pleasing result for us was that 97.1% of Portsmouth students found Moodle either very useful or quite useful in supporting their learning.

If you would like to read about the results of the 2016 JISC Tracker pilot in more detail, please contact the TEL team. And be on the lookout for results from a second iteration of the Tracker, which was delivered in February and March of 2017. We hope JISC will allow the Tracker to become an annual event: that way we will begin to understand changes in the student digital experience, at both local and national level, over time.

Image credits: Jisc logo – https://www.jisc.ac.uk