Digital Education 2.0 Student Insight Report

Following feedback from over 1000 students, VP Education Alissa Chohan introduces the findings of our Digital Education Experience 2.0 Survey, outlining key recommendations and what steps the University are taking as a result of what you told us.

You may remember that last term we released a Digital Education Experience 2.0 Survey to all students to provide feedback around online learning, available resources, and the quality of services provided to students in a digital capacity.

We were fortunate enough to over 1000 survey completions, so a huge thank you to everyone who took the time to provide us with this valuable information and congratulations to the cash prize winners of the survey.

What did we do with your feedback?

We used your feedback to create a variety of qualitative and quantitative data that assessed satisfaction levels across various services, teaching on a departmental level, and accessibility arrangements. The analysis of this data then allowed us to create a series of 20 recommendations that were taken to the University addressing the areas that demand the most attention and improvement. There were also some recommendations for us as an SU on where we could better support you and improve your student life. The report was presented in various University-level meetings and was well-received by both the University senior management team, academics, and professional services.

It was also evident from your feedback, as recognised in the report, the huge levels of improvements to the online experience compared to when it was first introduced in March 2020 and the efforts of academics to continue to support you in your studies. The report acknowledges the general success of lecture capture, which my predecessors worked hard to lobby for, the increased access to online resources, and the flexibility that the blended learning model provided. What was evident is that work is required to provide a higher level of consistency across these areas. There are also larger pieces of work to be undertaken in relation to improving the personal tutor system, the functioning of the hybrid teaching approach, the accessibility of functions such as attendance monitoring, and provisions to aid online fatigue and the mental health and wellbeing of students.

You can find the full report with the recommendations below.

Read the report

What were the key recommendations?

Whilst all recommendations are hugely valuable, we selected some key ones which from the feedback we received, felt required the most immediate attention, whilst further work is ongoing on the other recommendations. They were as follows:

  • 1.1: Recording and uploading of lectures within a 48-hour period, or in advance of a seminar/Q&A session.
  • 1.2,1.7: Timing of classes and breaks.
  • 1.3,1.4: Functioning and positioning of microphones and cameras.
  • 1.6: Increased student engagement especially through microphone and camera use.
  • 2.6,2.7: Personal tutoring.
  • 2.8: Digital financial aid – internet and data connectivity.

It should also be acknowledged that there is a large demand for increased support with student mental health and this is an ongoing piece of work that we will continue to work with the University on to find new and effective ways to support students’ individual needs.

What are the University doing in response to these recommendations?

  • Recognition that there is a need for more consistency with the use of Moodle which includes the uploading of recordings, timing, and structure of sessions. Work is being done to produce a ‘good practice’ briefing note and it is recognised that more needs to be done to monitor the consistency across the schools. If you are experiencing persistent issues with the uploading of recordings, in particular, it is very useful to contact one of your academic reps who will be able to feed this back to the appropriate level.
  • Practical improvements are being made to support hybrid teaching and better quality microphones have already been installed in eight new rooms.
  • Ongoing work is being done to support and improve the wellbeing of students and the consistency of the personal tutoring system, as well as the quality of internet on campus and potential support for those with internet struggles off-campus. There is also the Study Support Grant and Digitally Disadvantaged Fund to helps students with financial struggles. 
  • Accessibility: A staged roll out of ‘Ally’ will begin shortly. This is a platform that increases accessibility for students in terms of the ways they view resources, specifically online, and gives academics the tools to make their teaching more accessible for everyone.

Next steps

As you can imagine, some of the recommendations in the report are relatively easy to implement in a short time frame, compared to others which require more resources and are part of wider ongoing pieces of work. We will continue to update you all on how the ongoing bigger pieces of work progress and include you in relevant conversations where elaborated student guidance may be required. It would be great to be kept updated on any progressions and improvements you witness with your online experience. Alternatively, if you feel that these recommendations and responses are not being implemented successfully and you are continuing to face to same issues, I would urge you to reach out to your course, departments, or school reps, where we can then use this information to further challenge the University and seek further solutions. You can do this via our Find Your Rep page.

Lastly, I would like to thank everyone who was involved in the making of this report. I am incredibly proud of the work that was undertaken and look forward to seeing the positive impact it has on your university experience. I extend my thanks to all members of the University who took the time to read the report, take on board the recommendations, and continue to work with us to give students the best possible experience.

If you have any further questions about the report please do not hesitate to get in contact with me at VPEducation@su.rhul.ac.uk.