YSJ Student Digital Experience Tracker 2016

The purpose of this research activity was to investigate students’ expectations and experiences of the digital environment at YSJ, and how we develop the capabilities which prepare students for living, learning and working in a digital society.

Digital technologies are an increasingly important part of learning and living as a student. Even today’s students need support with some areas of digital practice, particularly in an academic context, so it’s important to make sure that these needs are met.

Partnership approaches are particularly useful in this area of work, student partners and change agents are a key enabler in the area of technology change. Students may be more digitally confident than teaching staff, and have their own attitudes, experiences, resources, and ideas to share.

This project was influenced by sector-wide initiatives, from Jisc, NUS & TSEP, on student digital experience, digital capability, and students as agents of change. It also linked to institutional agendas such as Graduate Attributes & Employability, and Directorate priorities such as Digital Capability (ILS & ADD) Students as Partners (ADD) & Curriculum Design (ADD).

The Student Digital Experience Tracker should enable us to:

  • gather evidence from learners about their digital experience, and track changes over time
  • make better informed decisions about the digital environment
  • target resources for improving digital provision
  • plan other research, data gathering and student engagement around digital issues
  • demonstrate quality enhancement and student engagement to external bodies and to students themselves

The tracker is based on a concise set of questions which have been tested with HE and FE students for readability and ease of response. It builds on resources such as the Jisc/NUS Digital Student Experience benchmarking tool, and the Jisc Guide to Enhancing the Digital Student Experience. The questions cover issues that are important to learners and/or to staff with a focus on the learning experience.

The survey ran between March – April 2016, and in total we received 143 responses. The responses are summarised in the report, along with a series of recommendations/actions:

[gview file=”http://blog.yorksj.ac.uk/moodle/files/2016/11/YSJ-Student-Digital-Experience-Tracker-2016-REPORT.pdf”]

A Jisc press release https://www.jisc.ac.uk/news/teachers-key-to-delivering-digital-skills-15-jun-2016 was also released on the findings from the pilot and you can access the main report from http://bit.ly/student-tracker-report.

What do you think about the findings in the report? Do you have any questions or comments about the recommendations? Please let us know in the comments below…


Phil Vincent

Phil’s focus is to work across Faculties to support the implementation of the Academic Strategy, and in particular contribute to the effective development and implementation of technology enhanced learning.

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3 Responses

  1. Ian Wilson says:

    Thanks for the report – it makes very interesting reading. As you can imagine I have some comments – sorry

    Q1 – It is interesting that the students use their mobile devices a lot less to support their learning. although the results do appear to support the focus on desktop and printing the results could also indicate that more use of mobile devices and BYOD to learning needs to be engaged with. (there is a spelling error in this section as well ‘would support the assumption’ – its says he

    Q2 – I was looking at this question with a colleague and we both interpreted the question differently. I read it how often can you access as in connect to – is this what it meant? surely it is some concern that 30% of the students can only access the wifi somtimes?

    Q3 – 3.4 is an interesting question – most students probably create a personal record of their learning via notes? I think the online working with others is extremely interesting. I know some modules have had issues with using skype – this is definitely something which I think would support learning further and is easy to implement.

    Q4 – well done support services, this is a very good result.

    Q5 – Another interesting question, although I feel that question 5.2 is rather ‘personal’ and is asking students to pass judgement on support staff – what was the reasoning behind this question?

    Q6 – was the comment about the layout of moodle after the start of the year?

    Q8 – YES!!! lets engage with YouTube more!

    Hope this is helpful feedback – I’m not engaging with the benchmarks etc – have enough of this with a TEF 🙂

    • Luke Hale says:

      Hi Ian, thanks for comments. Will try and give some sort of response:

      Unfortunately, the questions were set for us as we were using a national format (which allowed us to benchmark). We were able to give feedback on proposed questions but still found them rather general and some could be interpreted different ways. We had hoped to have some follow-up focus groups to delve deeper into different areas but project timescales did not allow this in the end, sadly.

      Q1 (and Q5, 8) – there is a huge inconsistency here across staff teams. Some are very comfortable and confident in using tech (either themselves or as part of BYOD learning), others still ‘ban’ use of devices in session. So, I would totally agree the approach needs more engagement from staff – and possiby students as advocates/champions?

      Q6 – this was before the new layout. When I presented the report at conference I noted that this change has since been made, which I think will answer a lot of these queries/concerns. The same goes for cloud storage with the intorudction of Office365.

      Overall, although there are still some key things to imrpove (e.g. your comment on Q2), I think the student response is generally positive – particularly regarding support services.

  2. Annette Webb says:

    I liked the simplistic structure of the questions in the and they raise further question which will be useful to get answers in more targeted focus groups. Interestingly there is still a high demand for open access PCs and printers at university. I wonder if it would have been the same result if distance learners were surveyed?
    In question 2.6 the use of cloud file storage is still quite low and I wonder if this is due to a lack of advertised workflow and confidence in storing files online, future use will surely rise.
    In question 4.5 the findings suggest 20% respondents have never tried to create a positive online profile which calls for more collaboration between staff and students to get the message across.
    There is a lot to be gained from student and staff co-operation and the benefits of having different perspectives in offering a digital curriculum. It is still a trick subject getting students to engage in optional workshops and more of these skills should be embedded in timetabled activities.

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