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.

 

 

 

How can we help you with the Blank Course Copy?

Level 2 and Level 3 Blackboard modules for 2019/20 academic year will be created with no content. Previously, year by year the content was automatically copied over for all Blackboard modules.

Preparing the Level 2 and Level 3 modules for the next year will require the module co-ordinators to copy over existing and/or upload new material into the new iteration of their module. All modules will contain an agreed departmental menu template that content will need to be organised under.

We would like to assist staff with preparing their modules as much as we can. We are happy to come to your office or for you to come and visit us. If you would like to book an appointment with a member of the E-learning Group, please let us know a convenient time and place where you would like to meet.

We have prepared these FAQs with detailed guideline on copying different elements on Blackboard and produced the information help sheet below.

We look forward to work closely with all staff and supporting you in any convenient for you way.

 

Using Virtual Reality (VR) in Mental Health

Although individuals using VR are conscious of their experience not being real, the physical and psychological responses induced by it are similar to those experienced in real life scenarios.

Using VR in mental health treatment opens up possibilities of working through responses to problematic stimulus without having to face them in a real life. There is an obvious, practical benefit to it; for example, creating a flight simulation for an individual struggling with phobia of flying is a much easier solution that arranging an actual flight.

Additionally, it allows the therapist to work not only based on the patient’s account but to actually observe their responses. Both therapist and the patient have a control over the stimuli making the treatment potentially safer both physically and psychologically.

‘VR has the potential to transform the assessment, understanding and treatment of mental health problems’ (Freeman, et al., p. 2392). It has been used for assessment and treatment of phobias, anxiety, PTSD, addiction, paranoia, eating disorders and autism. For example, a VR app created at Tulane School of Social Work prevents drug and alcohol relapse in patients ‘by practicing self-control and awareness skills in realistic simulations where drugs and alcohol are present’ (Leatham, 2018, para.13).

Gareth Norris and Rachel Rahman from the Psychology department at Aberystwyth University in collaboration with colleagues in Computer Science have recently done a pilot research project using VR to look at its potential for reminiscing in older adults.

The E-learning Group has acquired virtual reality (VR) headsets and camera for staff to use in teaching and research. You can create immersive learning environments or use already existing VR materials. Book the VR headsets and camera from the library loan stock.

 

References:

Farnsworth, B. (2018, May 1). The Future of Therapy – VR and Biometrics. Retrieved from https://imotions.com/blog/vr-therapy-future-biometrics/

Freeman, D. & Freeman, J. (2017, March 22). Why virtual reality could be a mental health gamechanger. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/science/blog/2017/mar/22/why-virtual-reality-could-be-a-mental-health-gamechanger

Freeman, D., Reeve. S., Robinson, A., Ehlers, A., Clark, D., Spanlang, B. & Slater, M. (2017). Virtual reality in the assessment, understanding, and treatment of mental health disorders. Psychological Medicine, 47 (2393-2400).

Leatham, J. (2018, June 22). How VR is helping Children with Autism Navigate the World around Them. Retrieved from https://www.vrfitnessinsider.com/how-vr-is-helping-children-with-autism-navigate-the-world-around-them/

 

Webinar: Instilling Self-Regulation in Learners & Using Sway for Online Learning

Academy Showcase is a space for sharing good practise among staff from Aberystwyth, Bangor and other Higher Education institutions. Every year we run two sessions with two presentations each, one from Aber and one from Bangor. Anybody can join Academy Showcase from their own machines using the link available here

We look forward this year’s presentations and we hope some of you will be able to join us.

 


20 March 2019 at 1pm -2pm

Instilling Self-Regulation in Learners by Dr Simon Payne (Aberystwyth)

We asked AU students and staff questions such as, “Why do students underachieve or even drop out?,” “What distractions do students face that interfere with their best intentions to study and improve?,” and “What happens to ‘turn students off’ from learning and striving to achieve?” The answers were remarkably similar from both groups, suggesting agreement on the problem and potential alignment on solutions. Self-regulation is the voluntary control of impulses which can facilitate or hinder us from achieving our goals. Hence, self-regulation includes the ability to regulate cognitive processes and activities, e.g. to plan, monitor and reflect on problem solving activities. Self-regulation also includes the control of one’s competing/conflicting motivational and emotional impulses and processes, e.g., overcoming social anxiety to contribute in class. Clearly, the development of self-regulation skills will help students achieve their objectives for entering HE. This presentation will provide techniques for tutors to help their students and tutees to be better self-regulators, and introduce and rationalise an ambitious AU-wide programme of studies that target student self-regulation ability.


Using Sway for Online Learning by Helen Munro (Bangor)

 

Sessions will be provided in English.

Polling software: Mentimeter and Poll Everywhere

The E-leaning Group is looking into how polling software can be used in lectures and seminars. Polling software is a great way to increase classroom engagement as it provides interactive presentations ranging from multiple choice questions to live word clouds. With their personal devices (such as mobiles, tablets etc.), students will be able to answer questions, vote and ask queries,which will appear on the presentation slides.  The recent Digital Insights survey, overseen by Information Services, showed that fifty-seven percent of lectures already use some sort of polling software in the classroom.

Some examples of positive comments from students include:

 “Provided quick feedback on what lecture we needed help with”

“Online poll, on parts of the subject asking the class how much they understood. This made it so people put how they actually felt as they didn’t have to speak in class”

“Polls in lecturers keep the students interested”

“It was fun last year when we did online quizzes in the lecture, interactive with each other and then went through the answers question by question on the big screen”

“Method of reviewing prescribed reading material”

The E-Learning Group has found Mentimeter and Poll Everywhere to be especially accessible and reliable:

  • Mentimeter is best used for lectures with larger audiences as it has no limit on participants. With Mentimeter you can create: quick slides, questions and quizzes. There is no limit on the number of quick slides, however with the free version you only be able to create two questions and five quizzes.
  • Poll Everywhere caps its audience at twenty-five so can best work in seminars and workshops. Poll Everywhere provides much of what Mentimeter does with the benefit of having no limit on the number of questions/activities.

There is a guide to creating presentations with both Mentimeter and Poll Everywhere available on our webpages.

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

Quizdom Virtual Remote (QVR) no longer available after December 2018

The licence for the Quizdom Virtual Remote (QVR) which allows students to use their own mobile devices for in-class voting expires in December 2018 and will no longer be available.

We are aware that some of you used it in your sessions, therefore we would like to encourage you to keep using interactive course activities and consider one of the options below:

  • Although it will no longer be possible to use the remote version of Quizdom allowing students to vote from their own devices, you will be able to use four sets of Qwizdom with a total of 118 handsets. Rather than using their own mobile devices students will have to vote using the handsets. If you wish to book the sets please email is@aber.ac.uk including the date(s) and time you wish to use the equipment and how many sets you wish to use.
  • The E-learning Group have been surveying the growing number of online polling tools available. Most of them are paid for services with different packages available depending on the types of tools, size of class etc. However, almost all have a free option which is a cut-down version of the paid-for service. All the services that we looked at are cloud-based – they don’t have software that you download, but you create your presentations via a web page and they are saved and run remotely.

Some of the polling software we recommend:

PollEverywhere

  • 40 participants, unlimited number of questions, 23 question types , PowerPoint integration

Mentimeter

  • unlimited number of participants, 7 questions per presentation (5 quiz and 2 other type), 10 questions types, Power Point integration

Socrative

  • 50 participants, unlimited number of questions, 3 questions types, reporting available

Please note that you will still be able to use the QVR in the first semester 2018.

Please contact the E-learning Group if you wish to get more information or training on using different classroom polling methods.

 

Anticipating AU’s 6th Learning and Teaching Conference: Stepping up Students’ Learning, 11 – 13 September

We’re very excited to announce that Professor Jonathan Shaw, Lauren Heywood and Oliver Wood from Coventry University’s Disruptive Media Learning Lab (DMLL) will be giving the keynote address and providing workshops for this year’s Learning and Teaching conference. The DMLL’s Director, Professor Jonathan Shaw, is giving the keynote, while Lauren Heywood and Oliver Wood, DMLL Innovation & Community Producer’s, will be providing interactive workshops.

Coventry’s DMLL aims to “break and remake existing ways of doing higher education” and is committed to driving innovation and the adoption of cutting-edge curricula design and practices and educational technological initiatives. They also emphasise the value of play as “an important part of learning!” They make available a toolbox of strategies that aim increase interactivity, support problem solving skills and inspire debates. You can check out their toolbox here and you can view videos of their work here.

We are eager to hear the discussions, ideas and fun that Coventry’s Disruptive Media Learning Lab will generate and hope they can offer us some innovative tactics that we can apply directly to our teaching and learning.  Register for the conference here. Keep updated via our blog for further news about the conference. A draft timetable of this year’s conference, focusing on Stepping up Students’ Learning, will be available on our webpages shortly.

Image courtesy of the Disruptive Media Learning Lab, Coventry University

DMLL’s director, Professor Jonathan Shaw, drives innovation in curricula design, learning spaces and leads the “implementation of cutting edge educational technology initiatives”

Workshops led by Coventry’s DMLL’s Innovation & Community Producers

Oliver and Lauren promote flipped and playful learning to enable rethinking of traditional modes of teaching and learning. They work with teaching staff to help them generate “new, exciting, and rich educational experiences.

Welcome to the Aber E-Learning blog!

The E-learning Group help staff and students throughout the University to use technology to enhance learning, teaching and assessment. Aberystwyth University has been recently awarded Gold in the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) and the E-learning provision was mentioned as one of the institution’s strengths. For all those interested in how technology can make learning and teaching more effective please follow our blog. Each member of the E-learning Group will be writing posts about their area of expertise and interests. We welcome your comments and suggestions! 

Who are the E-learning Group at Aber? 

 

Kate Wright, E-learning Group Manager  

I am the E-learning Group Manager, and I have worked in e-learning since 2003. During this time I’ve seen a lot of changes; when I started, Blackboard was used voluntarily by interested staff and we spent a lot of time explaining to students that they couldn’t see modules in Blackboard because their lecturers weren’t using it. Since then I’ve worked on a number of change projects to increase the uptake of e-learning, including introducing the Blackboard required minimum presence, e-submission and e-feedback, and lecture capture. I have a particular interest in online assessment, and have been heavily involved in the use of Questionmark Perception at the university.  

I have been involved in a number of externally funded projects included HEA E-learning Benchmarking, HEFCW Gwella project, JISC RSC Wales Technology for Learning Small Grant, JISC Digital Student and Staff Experience Trackers. I have presented at several international conferences, I am the chair of the Blackboard Wales User Group, and have published co-authored article in the British Journal of Educational Technology. 

 

Dr. James Woolley, E-learning Enhancement & Engagement Theme Leader  

Hello, I’m Jim and I’m the E-learning Engagement and Enhancement Theme Leader. I joined the E-learning Group in February 2018 following the completion of a PhD, 3 years as a librarian and a few years before that as a Postgraduate Teaching Assistant, all here at Aberystwyth University.  

My job entails working together with academic colleagues to provide the best possible support in using our portfolio of services. I organise our E-learning training plan and the annual Learning and Teaching Conference. I really want to hear from you if you’re doing something innovative with technology and learning or if you wish to experiment with some new technology. I’m looking forward to working with staff on projects to enhance E-learning provision and learning. I have a particular interest in how E-learning provision supports more collaborative modes of learning. 

If there’s a training session that you think we should be doing or would like to meet with us, drop us an email. 

 

Robert Francis, E-learning Support Officer  

I support the practical use of a wide range of TEL tools at Aberystywth University. In addition to our Blackboard VLE this includes; Panopto, Turnitin for assessment and Questionmark for online examination. I am directly involved in providing technical support and solutions for Staff and Students using this software. I aid in the implementation of the University strategy relating to TEL, accessibility, provision of training, consultation, support materials and technical support.  

I have a background in teaching History and English in the UK and abroad.  I enjoy experimenting with new technology. I have worked in the HE sector providing technical support since 2010. 

I speak Welsh as my second language and I am passionate about its use. 

 

Susan Ferguson, E-learning and Training Assistant  

As E-learning and Training Assistant I support staff and students using e-learning tools, including supporting Blackboard, Questionmark Perception, Turnitin, Panopto, and Qwizdomamongst others, via phone, email, and face-to-face.  This includes supporting staff in using the equipment in teaching rooms, providing training sessions, investigating new equipment and software, and creating user guides. 

 

Anna Udalowska, E-learning Support Officer  

I started working with the E-learning Group in 2017 as graduate trainee. Drawn by innovative and problem-solving nature of the job I applied for the E-Learning Support Officer position which I currently hold. 

For past months I have been working on the promotional campaign and findings analysis of the Student Digital Experience Tracker which ran at Aberystwyth University for the first time. Along with the E-learning Group Manager, Kate Wright I have presented the findings of the AU Digital Tracker at the national conference DigiFest18 organized by JISC. I have been also working on implementing the Component Marks Transfer Tool.  

As part of the E-learning Group I support staff and students who use Panopto, Blackboard and Turnitin as well as oversee smooth running of the online exams using the Question Mark Perception system. I am particularly interested in how technology helps in providing alternative, dynamic and inclusive methods of communication, learning and teaching.