Digital Experience Insights survey – what we learned from your responses

July 29th, 2022

Earlier this year we asked our staff and students to complete our Digital Experience Insights survey. We received around 2,400 responses and your feedback has helped us to build a picture of the university’s digital landscape in 2022 and how it has evolved over the past few years. 

The Digital Experience Insights project consisted of four separate surveys, one for each of the following cohorts: Professional Services staff, teaching staff, researchers and students. This has allowed us to assess the varying needs of the university population. Similarly, the feedback can be divided into four themes: You and your technology, Technology at your organisation, Technology in your role and Developing your digital skills. 

The headlines and key findings – what’s going well and what could be improved – from the staff survey can be found below. 

You and your technology 

  • There was a significant increase in the number of staff who reported receiving offers of support in using assistive technologies 

Technology at your organisation 

  • 85% of Professional Services staff rated the quality of the online working environment as ‘good’ or better, which is an increase from 60% in 2020 
  • Only 62% of teaching staff rated the quality of the online working environment as ‘good’ or better, suggesting a disparity in experience 
  • Both Professional Services and teaching staff indicated a preference for investing in IT support when asked about investment preferences 

Technology in your role 

  • The percentage of respondents saying that poor WiFi was problematic reduced across all cohorts – by 13% for teaching staff and 8% for Professional Services staff 
  • Despite improvements, WiFi was still seen as the biggest challenge to online teaching and working 
  • Teaching staff shared concerns about online learning, including a loss of community, students not making good progress, and assessment equitability  
  • Teaching staff reported that the most negative aspects of teaching online included a lack of interaction and disengaged students, both of which featured more prominently in responses than in 2021 
  • In comparison, teaching staff felt that workloads and technology were less of a limitation to online teaching and learning than in 2021 

Developing your digital skills 

  • All cohorts reported an increase since 2021 in using online videos and resources when requiring help 
  • The proportion of both Professional Services and teaching staff who felt that the university’s support for online working and teaching was ‘good’ or better decreased by 14% and 4% respectively 
  • When asked what one thing the university should do to help learn/teach/work effectively online, the most popular response for all cohorts related to training and support 
  • Fewer than 50% of all cohorts felt that they had been offered training and support for the vast majority of digital skills 

While the results have demonstrated broadly positive progress over the past three years, there are some common areas of improvement that can be identified – most notably increased support for digital technologies and the development of digital skills. 

Similar themes can be found in the results of the student population, although there is some variation. The results for students are generally in line with, or slightly better than, the average for both the Russell Group and the broader sector:  

You and your technology 

  • There was a significant increase in the number of students who reported receiving offers of support in using assistive technologies, although this was below the Russell Group average 

Technology at your organisation 

  • 82% of students rated the quality of the online learning environment as ‘good’ or better, compared with 77% for the Russell Group average and 78% for the sector average 

Technology in your role 

  • 83% of students agreed that online learning materials were accessible to them, compared to the Russell Group and sector averages of 78% and 77% respectively 
  • 52% of students said that flexibility was the most positive aspect of online learning – an 11% increase on 2021 – citing improved comprehension due to being able to re-watch materials, as well as the option to schedule part-time work around their studies 

Developing your digital skills 

  • 69% of students thought that the support the university provides for online learning was ‘good’ or better – a 12% increase from 2021 and better than the national average of 65% for the Russell Group and 66% for the rest of the sector 

As per the guidance of the Teaching and Learning Committee, recommendations based on the above findings are to be established at a school/department/Professional Services department level. These might feed into faculty plans,  department plans, strategic delivery plans and Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework plans.  

For more information, please consult the Digital Experience Insights 2022 Executive Summary. The detailed feedback can be found on Tableau (login required). 

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