Student Digital Experience Insights Survey Results

This spring, Aberystwyth University ran the national Jisc digital experience insights survey. Over 1,000 of our students told us about their attitudes and experiences of technology in learning and teaching. Here are some of the key findings from this survey.

Summary of key metrics

QuestionOur data %UK data %Wales data %
Well-designed online learning environment404144
Supported to use own device605456
Enabled to access online systems/services from anywhere676867
Well-designed online learning materials565354
Quality of online and digital learning on course696668
Supported to learn online/off-campus575153
Able to access all support services you needed online514950
How well you were supported to learn online586162
  • The data relates to the percentage of students that agree with the statements shown.
  • The benchmarking comparisons are also shown.
  • Five out of eight key metrics are higher for AU than other UK and Welsh organisations.
  • General trends are mirrored in other UK and Welsh organisations (areas achieving lower results for AU are low nationally).

You and your current learning situation

Assistive Technologies

  • 17% of respondents said that they used at least one assistive technology.
  • 13% of these students said we have offered them support to use assistive technologies.

Problems when learning online


Digital platforms and services at your organisation


Technology in your learning

Improving the quality of online and digital learning

Students were asked what one thing should we do to improve the quality of online and digital learning. This was a free text question, which we analysed for themes. Common themes included:

  • 42% mentioned improvements to online learning design and organisation
  • 14% mentioned more engaging and interactive online learning
  • 12% mentioned more interaction with other students
  • 11% mentioned more live teaching sessions
  • 10% mentioned better digital provision
  • 9% mentioned more interaction with lecturers
  • 6% mentioned building digital skills and capability

Positive aspects of online learning

Students were asked what aspect of learning online, if any, had been most positive for them. This was a free text question, which we analysed for themes. Common themes included:

  • 54% mentioned flexibility
  • 27% mentioned access to materials and resources
  • 12% mentioned contact with lecturers
  • 10% mentioned benefits for wellbeing and disabilities
  • 7% mentioned engaging and interactive teaching
  • 7% mentioned digital technology
  • 6% mentioned contact with other students

Negative aspects of online learning

Students were asked what aspect of learning online, if any, had been most negative for them. This was a free text question, which we analysed for themes. Common themes included:

  • 45% mentioned lack of motivation or engagement
  • 23% mentioned online learning design and organisation
  • 21% mentioned lack of social interaction
  • 14% mentioned wellbeing issues
  • 14% mentioned issues with IT systems
  • 9% mentioned lack of contact with staff
  • 6% mentioned lack of practical skills

Overall quality of online and digital learning on course

69% rated us as good or above

Developing your digital skills

Support and guidance for digital skills development

How much do you agree that we have given you:% agree
AU
% agree
Wales
% agree
UK
Support for learning online/ away from campus575153
Guidance about the digital skills needed for your course404143
An assessment of your digital skills and training needs222628

Where do students go for help?

Learning effectively online

Students were asked what one thing should we do to help you to learn effectively online. This was a free text question, which we analysed for themes. Common themes included:

  • 35% mentioned improvements to online learning design and organisation
  • 14% mentioned better access to lecturers
  • 14% mentioned more engaging and interactive online learning
  • 13% mentioned more training and help with digital skills and technology
  • 8% mentioned more help with wellbeing issues
  • 8% mentioned better access to resources and materials
  • 6% mentioned better digital provision

How well supported to learn online did students feel?

58% rated us as good or above

Organisation of Blackboard content – Tips from Students (Student Learning Ambassadors)

Written by Erin Whittaker, English and Creative Writing

The usability testing activity I completed during the Student Learning Ambassadors project prompted me to write my blog post on the ease and accessibility of finding specific information covered in lectures and seminars based on the chronological layout and labelling of their files. Having navigated my way through two previously unseen exemplar modules and another of a module I took in 2nd year, I found that the module layouts that were most accessible and easy to navigate were those in which the information and materials for lectures and seminars were labelled by week and topic title, rather than simply the number of that specific seminar; ie. ‘Seminar: Week 2 – Learning about Specificity’ > ‘Seminar 2’. Labelling the files in this way made finding the information covered in those specific seminars and lectures straightforward and less time consuming than having to trawl through multiple seminar PowerPoints in order to find the specific information I was seeking.

Additionally, the most obvious folder for storing both the lecture and seminar Panopto recordings and accompanying PowerPoint slides would be, in my opinion, ‘Learning Materials’, along with additional materials such as the Aspire Reading List, workshops, tutorials, and schedule overview for that module. However, it would be my recommendation that if the files for seminars and lectures are plentiful in number, ie. more than three files per week, that they are given a separate folder under the title of ‘Lectures/Seminars’ within the left-hand folder column, along with a copy of the Aspire Reading List.

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Weekly Resource Roundup – 16/9/2021

As leader of our PGCTHE programme, I keep an eye out for resources to help staff teach effectively. These include webinars, podcasts, online toolkits, publications and more. Topics include active learning, online/blended teaching, accessibility/inclusion, and effective learning design based on cognitive science. Below I’ve listed items that came to my attention in the past week. In the interest of clarity, our policy is to show the titles and descriptions in the language of delivery.   

Online events and webinars

Resources and publications

Please see the Staff Training booking page for training offered by the LTEU and other Aberystwyth University staff. I hope you find this weekly resource roundup useful. If you have questions or suggestions, please contact our team at lteu@aber.ac.uk. You may also wish to follow my Twitter feed, Mary Jacob L&T.  

Do your modules on Blackboard speak your student’s language? – Student Learning Ambassadors

Written by Angela Connor, Psychology

I know asking whether your modules on Blackboard speak your student’s language may seem odd. I can almost hear you declaring “Of course they do”. Obviously, you upload materials in English and Welsh. But that’s not quite what I mean. To ensure Blackboard is as easily accessible for as many students as possible we need to put ourselves in their shoes for a while and look at the layouts and content objectively to see if they are laid out as best they can be for the intended cohort so they can easily understand your modules.

It is often said in education that if you adapt your delivery to those with additional needs in mind, you’ll actually be making it easier for everyone. Perhaps this ethos could be applied in terms of Blackboard, enabling all students to fulfil their peak potential with as little stress as possible.

There are undoubtedly elements of a Blackboard module that require formality and professionalism, such as Unacceptable Academic Practice, and the module handbook. The handbook acts almost as a contractual agreement between the module coordinator and the student, and vice versa, as it clearly outlines what the module will deliver and what will be expected from the student in return. However, keeping educational jargon out where possible, or introducing it gradually can help with increasing your students’ confidence and familiarity with these terms. For example, how many students really understood the new terms of “synchronous” and “asynchronous” that were suddenly thrust into education last year? And when they were understood, were they occasionally mixed up for sounding so similar occasionally? I know it caught me out a few times.

So, think about students who are neurodiverse, dyslexic, have ADHD, care leavers who are going it alone for the first time, mature students who are often juggling work and caring responsibilities, and joint honours students who have two departments and their nuances to work with. If your modules are laid out clearly, all of these groups in the student population, and many others, will be helped a tremendous amount.

I shall be using examples to demonstrate some points from Dr Victoria Wright and Dr Alexander Taylor’s Blackboard modules, both from the Psychology Department, whom I thank for their permission to do so. Their modules have been chosen for clarity, resourcefulness, enthusiasm, motivation and ease of use. As a final year student these module layouts, and the resources provided, really supported me to work through the modules to my full potential. Well, full enough potential, as with a pandemic going on I was probably hindered at least a little.

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Welcome to new staff joining Aberystwyth University

We’re the Learning and Teaching Enhancement Unit. Based in Information Services, we work with staff across the university to support and develop learning and teaching. We run a wide range of activities to do this.

All the information that you need is on the Learning and Teaching Enhancement Unit webpages. We have recently worked intensively with academic colleagues to develop solutions in response to the Covid 19 pandemic. Our Supporting your Teaching webpages will help you with various teaching solutions.

We write a blog full of the latest updates, details on events and training sessions, and resources.

If you need to get in touch with us, you can do so using one of two email addresses:

lteu@aber.ac.uk (for pedagogical and design questions, or to arrange a consultation) or

elearning@aber.ac.uk (for technical queries regarding our e-learning tools listed below)

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Support for Teaching In Person

As we look towards teaching in person again, we want to remind staff that they are not alone in re-adjusting to in-person delivery, which may yet face some changes with regards to group sizes, delivery modes, distancing, and masks.  

This blog post will address standard teaching room equipment and managing student expectations, and point staff in the direction of relevant resources for those topics. 

Standard Teaching Room Equipment 

Information Services has developed a guide to using the standard teaching equipment in the central teaching rooms. You can watch a playlist of teaching room equipment demonstrations

Enhanced hygiene and Health & Safety protocols may still be in place in September, so please keep up to date with them, including one-way systems in buildings, staggered arrival/ departure times for staff and students, sanitation stations, and seating plans. 

We also want to remind staff of the university’s lecture capture policy – returning to in-person teaching may require a return to live lecture recordings. Making lecture recordings will have a number of benefits as we return to face-to-face provision. Students unable to attend lectures because of illness will be able to catch-up with their work more easily. And if students know that lecture recordings are available, they can avoid in-person situations if they are feeling unwell. All this helps with work across the university to protect everyone’s health and wellbeing. 

If in doubt, revisit our playlist on Panopto. 

It may be that your teaching is not in a central teaching room, and other equipment than the central standard is available. Please make sure you are aware of the relevant risk assessments for your teaching spaces and check how to best implement them with the appropriate person in your department. 

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Weekly Resource Roundup – 8/9/2021

As leader of our PGCTHE programme, I keep an eye out for resources to help staff teach effectively. These include webinars, podcasts, online toolkits, publications and more. Topics include active learning, online/blended teaching, accessibility/inclusion, and effective learning design based on cognitive science. Below I’ve listed items that came to my attention in the past week. In the interest of clarity, our policy is to show the titles and descriptions in the language of delivery.   

Online events and webinars

Resources and publications

Please see the Staff Training booking page for training offered by the LTEU and other Aberystwyth University staff. I hope you find this weekly resource roundup useful. If you have questions or suggestions, please contact our team at lteu@aber.ac.uk. You may also wish to follow my Twitter feed, Mary Jacob L&T.  

Vevox update – new question types available

Vevox will have an update on 13th September which will introduce a couple of new question types involving images.

Pin on Image Poll

You can upload an image as the question type and ask your students to mark on the image the solution. This will be great for diagrams, maps, or graphs:

Screen grab showing Pin on Image Poll type.

Multichoice on Image poll

Another image type question, but this time give your students the opportunity to select the correct answer from a number of distractors:

Screengrab showing Multichoice on Image poll

A reminder that we’ve got Vevox running training sessions on:

  • 09.09.2021, 11:00-12:00
  • 28.09.2021, 14:00-15:00
  • 06.10.2021, 10:00-11:00

These sessions will cover:

  • How to gain access to an account
  • How to create a session
  • Create and Run polls 
  • Vevox Q&A – display, moderation 
  • Surveys 
  • Data & settings 
  • MS Team Integration Setup
  • Q&A – any questions from participants  

Book your place online.

For a list of all updates coming on 13th September, check out Vevox’s blogpost.

All of our guidance for Vevox is available on our polling webpages.