The tracker is a short survey to gather students’ expectations and experiences of technology, based on a concise set of questions which have been intensively trialled with higher and further education students for readability and ease of response.
The tracker has been a key outcome of our digital student work to date.
It builds on resources such as the Jisc/NUS digital student experience benchmarking tool (pdf), and our guide to enhancing the digital student experience: a strategic approach. The questions cover issues that are important to learners and/or to staff with a focus on the learning experience.
The 2017 survey includes questions on access to digital devices, course-related digital activities, institutional level digital provision and support, and learner skills.
The tracker is delivered in online surveys (formerly BOS) - a service specially developed for the UK education sector. Institutions using the tracker will receive guidance on implementation in online surveys, real-time access to their own data, are able to benchmark their data against their sector data, and access further guidance on how to understand and respond to the findings.
Benefits of the study
The student digital experience tracker will allow universities, colleges and skills providers to:
- Gather evidence from learners about their digital experience, and track changes over time
- Make better informed decisions about the digital environment
- Target resources for improving digital provision
- Plan other research, data gathering and student engagement around digital issues
- Demonstrate quality enhancement and student engagement to external bodies and to students themselves
Results so far
The tracker was piloted with 24 colleges, skills providers and universities in 2016. It was then edited in response to feedback, new questions were added, and it was run again as an open pilot in 2017.
Outcomes from the open pilot (2017)
This year, 74 UK institutions ran the tracker with their students collecting 22,593 student responses, while 10 international universities collected an additional 5,000 student responses.
Institutions had the options of running surveys designed specifically for their learner types, HE, FE, adult and community learners and skills learners, and those learners studying remotely online. Our report highlights the key findings from the pilot.
You can also:
- Take a look at the key findings from the report (pdf), including areas where institutions may wish to further develop their digital environment to better support their students
- Download our briefing booklet (pdf), which summarises the survey's findings across the UK and offers insights into how individual institutions have used the tracker
- View the summary slides (via SlideShare)
We've also collated 14 snapshots of institutional practice, highlighting how universities, colleges and providers have used the tracker to support the developments of their students’ digital experience. They show the different approaches institutions have used to encourage students to participate in the survey, how they are engaging students with the analysis of the data and working in partnership to take forward the resulting actions.
Outcomes from the closed pilot project (2016)
We'll highlight the key themes from the tracker data analysis in a series of forthcoming briefings. We'll also be producing these for key roles within institutions such as IT directors, library and learning resources staff and senior leaders.
In addition, we'll produce institutional vignettes to share how colleges and universities have used the tracker to inform their digital developments and how they are working with their students to take forward the resulting actions.
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