Digital Insights 2018/19: Digital tools and apps useful for learning

In Digital Insights 2018/19 survey, we asked students to give an example of a digital tool or app they find really useful for learning. We thought we will share some of the examples on our blog.

Access AU core e-learning services

 

Research

  • Endnote – reference management software (free to download for AU students and staff)
  • Mendeley – reference management software & researcher network

 

Organize & monitor your progress

  • ApAber– check your timetable, find available computers on campus, see your Aber Card balance, look at local bus timetables and much more
  • GradeHub – a tool to track your progress and predict what marks you need to achieve your degree
  • Asana – is a web and mobile application designed to help teams organize, track, and manage their work
  • MyStudyLife – unfortunately this service is shutting down but try myHomework (app) instead, it will help you to organize your workload

 

Taking notes

 

Study better

  • Forest App – is an app helping you stay away from your smartphone and stay focused on your work
  • GetRevising – revision tools
  • Anki – software for making flashcards
  • Study Blue – online flashcards, homework help & textbook solutions
  • Quora – a platform to ask questions and connect with people who contribute unique insights and quality answers
  • Memrise – a language platform which uses flashcards as memory aids, but also offers user-generated content on a wide range of other subjects
  • GeoGebra – an interactive geometry, algebra, statistics and calculus application
  • KhanAcademy – free online courses, lessons & practice
  • Tomato Timers – ‘Pomodoro Technique’ is a time management method, the technique uses a timer to break down work into intervals, traditionally 25 minutes in length, separated by short breaks

 

 

Digital Insights 2018/19 benchmarking data

As promised in the previous post outlining some of the key findings of this year’s Digital Insights survey for students we will now present you with the benchmarking data from 29 other Higher Education in UK (14560 responses from students).

Having access to the benchmarking data gives us an opportunity to judge how well we are actually doing and determine which issues are specific to Aberystwyth and which are common to all HE institutions in our sector.

Overall, significantly more students at AU rated the quality of this university’s digital provision (software, hardware, learning environment) as ‘Excellent’.

 

 

 

 

In many aspects, the ratings of AU digital provisions were higher than the benchmarking data, however with regard to interactive digital activities such as using educational games or simulations, polling software or working online with others the results were lower.

In the next post from the Digital Insights’ series we will present you with examples of useful learning apps and tools given by students.


Significantly more students at AU responded that they have access to ‘recorded lectures’ at university whenever they need them.

 

 

 

 

Significantly more students at AU agree the university help them stay safe online.

 

 

 

 

 

Significantly more students at AU agree that they can easily find things on the VLE.

 

 

 

 

 

Significantly more students at AU agree that online assessments are delivered and managed well.

 

 

 

 

 

Significantly more students at AU never work online with others as part of their course.

 

 

 

 

 

Significantly more students at AU never use a polling device or online quiz to give answers in class as part of their course.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Findings of the Digital Insights survey running at AU for the second time!

Last year Aberystwyth University took part in the pilot of JISC Student Digital Experience Tracker – an online survey designed by JISC to collect information about students’ expectations and experiences of technology. The 2017/18 pilot has led to a new Jisc service now called Digital Experience Insights.

Digital Insights survey for students run at AU in January 2019. We were very excited about running this survey for the second time, as it enabled us to compare the findings with last year’s result and track our progress on digital provisions.

Below you will see a short summary of some of the key findings. If you wish to discuss them further or get more information on the project, please contact us at elearning@aber.ac.uk.

As you may be aware the Digital Experience Insights survey comes with a benchmarking data from other Higher Education institutions in our sector. The benchmarking data has been now made available and we will share it with you in the next Digital Insights post.

If you wish to read about AU experience of running Digital Insights in academic year 2017/18, take a look at the article published on Jisc website or browse through our previous posts:


Digital Experience Insights 2018/19

 

WiFi

Students’ satisfaction with WiFi increased by 7.3% in comparison to last year’s survey. Although WiFi is still the most common theme in students comment, the number of comments regarding WiFi decreased from 66 last year to 38 this year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

E-books & E-journals

7.7% less students responded that they have access to e-books and journals whenever they need them, this issue has been also mentioned in 19 of students’ comments.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blackboard
The issue regarding a navigation in Blackboard seemed to improve. There were only 3 comments about this issue in comparison to 20 last year and 8.2% increase in the question on Blackboard navigation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*The question wording has changed since the 2017/18 survey which could have impacted the ratings.

 

Security
Students are more satisfied with the provisions regarding security issues.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mobile devices
The use of smartphone to support learning increased slightly. In the comments, students talked about the need of core services such as Panopto and Blackboard being mobile friendly and about usefulness of apps helping them with their studies. Interestingly, when asked whether they would prefer to be allowed to use their own mobile devices in class only 49% answered ‘At any time’, 45.4% answered ‘Only to carry out class activities’ and 5.6% ‘None of the time’.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Use of technology
There is a shift towards using more technology, there were quite a few comments about staff needing more training on the use of technology and there was an increase of nearly 10% of students wanting more technology to be used on their course.

 

 

 

AU Digital experience insights survey for teaching staff 2018-19 now open

We have recently closed the Digital Experience Insights surveys for students where we asked about their experiences of digital learning and digital services. We would also like to know how teaching staff experience these services.

There are only about 20 questions that ask about your digital teaching methods and your experience of our digital provision. Please spare ten minutes and have your say so we can improve the digital experience for our staff and students.

https://staffinsights2019.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/aberystwyth-univeristy

Digital Experience Insights 2018-19: How do you rate technology at Aberystwyth University?

For the second time Aberystwyth is taking part in the Digital Experience Insights project aiming to explore our students’ experiences of technology. The project is based on online surveys designed by Jisc and used by different institutions across UK.

It allows us to get better insights on how students use technology and benchmark our results against other HE intuitions in our sector.

We would greatly appreciate your help in promoting this survey to all students:

Jisc Digi Tracker: findings from students in UK further and higher education

Take a look at the full report of the findings from all the institutions that participated in the 2018 Digital Experience Tracker. Many of the key messages included in the report correspond to findings from Digital Tracker at Aber.

Consistency in the VLE

We have repeatedly received feedback from students asking for VLE navigation to be more intuitive and the organization of content to be more consistent across modules. Findings from the Digital Tracker at Aber and the benchmarking data from UK emphasise this issue. Students would like all the materials for their courses to be available on the VLE in a timely manner and possibly in the same location in all modules so that they can navigate easily to the content that they need.

Engage students in class using technology

Can we use technology to make lectures more engaging? Our results in the digital course activities section of the tracker were lower than the benchmarking scores. Students have also asked for their sessions to be more interactive in the open text comments:

Make lectures more interactive and able to include the students to interact more. There’s an online website where you can join to get the right answer which gets people competing and learning.’

We are happy to support any members of staff who would like to enhance their teaching with digital course activities. Contact us to discuss your ideas and possibilities or come to one of our E-learning Enhanced: What can I do with Blackboard? Sessions.

Digital skills for life

Although most students use technology on a daily basis, they are not necessarily aware what these essential digital skills are and how important digital skills are for their employability. Less than a half of AU Digital Tracker respondents don’t feel that the university prepares them for the digital workplace.

You may notice that the report is called Digital Experience Insights rather than Digital Experience Tracker. The Digital Experience Tracker 2018 was a pilot study which led to a new service now called Digital Experience Insights. We believe that the participation in this project helped us to more effectively meet digital expectations’ of our students. We hope to share examples of good practise in this area on our blog.

If you wish to share your experiences of supporting students digitally as a guest blogger, please contact us: elearning@aber.ac.uk

Read:

 

 

 

 

Jisc Digi Tracker: benefits and what to do with findings?

Read Jisc Digi Tracker and Jisc Digi Tracker: Key findings

What benefits came out from the project?

  • Clear directions for improvements.
  • The benchmarking data helped us to reflect on AU strengths and weaknesses in comparison to other institutions.
  • As a valued participant in the pilot Student Tracker we were the only Welsh university invited to take part in the pilot Staff Tracker and we’ve worked closely with JISC and the Aberystwyth University Translation Unit to provide a Welsh language version of the survey.
  • Aberystwyth was asked to be part of a series of 10 Institutional vignettes on how the digital experience tracker has supported our practice. The vignettes will be published by Jisc in September.
  • In March, we were chosen to give a presentation at the national conference, Digifest 2018.

What next:

  • Full sets of benchmarking data will be available in mid-September
  • Taking the findings to TELG
  • Consulting SU on communicating the findings to students
  • Provide training sessions that address the areas for development
  • Presenting the findings on this year’s Learning and Teaching Conference

We would like to hear your thoughts on this project and seek advice on how to best take the findings forward and communicate them to students.

Please leave a comment or contact elearning@aber.ac.uk

Next post from the series on DigiTracker:

Experience of using the tracker – Aberystwyth Univeristy vignette prepared by Jisc

Jisc Digi Tracker: key findings

Read Jisc Digi Tracker

Key findings of the tracker:

What did we find particularly interesting?

We know that students use mobile devices, but the fact that nearly the same percentage of students support their learning through use of smartphones (30%) as through use of laptops (33.1%) was surprising. It is useful to have the starkness of this data to emphasise changing habits and reinforce how important it is.

62% felt they would like digital technologies to be used much the same as they are now rather than more. There is a tendency to think ‘we have done something, let’s see how we can push for next/different thing’. Perhaps we need to concentrate on things we are doing now that are really good and improve them rather than try to introduce new services.

It was also interesting to see what students considered an assistive technology. We were not sure if students didn’t understand a question or had a different understanding.  A lot of things students said we would not have considered to be an assistive technology (e.g. student app, google, end note).  We tend to think of assistive technology as something that helps you if you have a particular need – students perhaps see assistive technology as ‘something that helps me’.

Next post from the series on DigiTracker:

Benefits of running the tracker and what will we do with the findings?

Jisc Digital Tracker

This year Aberystwyth University participated for the first time in the JISC Student Digital Experience Tracker – an online survey designed by JISC to collect information about students’ expectations and experiences of technology.

Why did we decide to take part in the project?

  • The tracker is a simple and well-designed tool. It is credible across the sector and has a reliable methodology.
  • It comes with a benchmarking data from HE and FE institutions in our sector.
  • It is the only survey aimed entirely at the digital learning experience.
  • Institutions participating in the project received a great deal of support from JISC in customising, promoting and analysing the survey.
  • Hugely important- it was already translated into Welsh.

We will share the benefits of taking part in the project and some key findings from the data analysis on insitutional and on the sector level in the next few posts 🙂

Next post from the series on DigiTracker:

Key findings and what did we find particurlarly interesting.