Adventures in Technology Enhanced Learning @ UoP

Student digital experience 2018 – results from the JISC tracker

For the past three years the University of Portsmouth has run the JISC student digital experience tracker – a survey that aims to capture students’ experiences of and attitudes towards the digital environment in HE. I’ve just made a preliminary analysis of the results from this year’s tracker, which ended on 20 April 2018.

One of the useful aspects of the tracker is that it enables us to benchmark our results against the sector. A total of 15,746 students at other English HEIs responded to the tracker, and it’s interesting to compare their experience with the 310 Portsmouth students who responded. (Note: the student profiles of those taking the tracker are slightly different, so the comparison isn’t perfect. We deliberately choose to avoid involving students at L5 and L6, in order to minimise any interference with the NSS. At English HEIs the distribution is ‘flat’: students at all levels take the tracker.)

The good news is that, for almost all the questions posed, Portsmouth students give more positive responses than their counterparts elsewhere! For most questions the difference is only a matter of a couple of percentage points, so it would be wrong to claim there is a statistically significant difference, but in some cases there really is a notable difference. For example:

  • 93% of Portsmouth students rate the quality of UoP’s digital provision as good or above, vs 88% for the sector
  • 85% of Portsmouth students rely on Moodle to do their coursework, vs 74% for the institutional VLE at other institutions
  • 77% of Portsmouth students say that digital tech allows them to fit learning into their life more easily, vs 70% for the sector
  • 76% of Portsmouth students use digital tech to manage references, vs 65% for the sector
  • 71% of Portsmouth students say when digital tech is used on their course they enjoy learning more, vs 62% for the sector
  • 67% of Portsmouth students regularly access Moodle on a mobile device, vs 62% for the institutional VLE at other institutions
  • 67% of Portsmouth students regard Moodle as well designed, vs 56% for the institutional VLE at other institutions
  • 64% of Portsmouth students say online assessments are delivered and managed well, vs 59% for the sector

Even more interesting than the percentages, however, are the students’ free text comments. Students were asked what one thing we could do to improve their experience of digital teaching and learning. From their responses, four clear themes emerged:  

  • Students want lecture capture and/or more use of video
  • Students want a more consistent approach to Moodle use, and a less ‘cluttered’ interface
  • Students want better training/help/support for themselves when it comes to using digital tech
  • Students want staff to make better use of existing technology  

Over the coming months we’ll be considering how best to address these challenges.



  1. Carole Phillips

    this is very interesting data and I wondered if you are publishing this in any way .
    As I start on my EdD journey into enhancing learning through M pedagogy I would be really interested in your data, could we talk /share sometime
    Kind regards

    • Stephen Webb

      Hi Carole,
      Reports for the past two Tracker surveys were published internally, and I’ve distributed the report from this Tracker to management before I make it available more widely.
      Happy to send you them – but if you’d like to meet up first to discuss the background then just drop me a line.

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