Reflecting on last week's Future Edtech event, we see that student engagement is a big focus area for university ICT leaders. The varied presentations and discussions highlighted the important role technology can play in this respect.
We carried out a survey at the event and it confirmed that student engagement is one of the big reasons for getting systems online and making them accessible to students. Scoring highly in the findings are 'better communication with students’ and 'better organised and performing students' – both are considered key advantages of online student-facing systems.
Practical considerations around engagement came top in the findings, namely 'mobile access to information' and 'information availability while off campus'. Plus 'electronic submission of documents and assignments' ranked as a further important advantage - no doubt it’s become an operational necessity to many universities.
Students’ access to and awareness of resources also took a high score - 100% considered it to be an important advantage of online systems, with a third emphasising it as 'very important'. But what resources are we talking about here?
Well according to the results, ‘group study rooms’ is top - underlining the need for collaboration and the drive to facilitate it as part of student learning. Access to ‘student advisory and service appointments’ also ranked highly, as did ‘Training workshops and inductions’.
During the conference, Imperial College discussed their initiative to champion and implement an ICT project each year chosen by students. The University is confident that students know best above institutional strategy. Their presentation covered recent projects, including their success in developing their personal tutor system for improved tutor engagement. It was interesting to see in our survey findings that facilitating access to 1:1 tutorials was also considered important albeit to a slightly lesser degree than some of the other areas mentioned above. We wonder if Imperial College’s presentation had any impact on some of our survey responses…
Happily at Imperial a group study room and training workshop booking system is also already in use with the University being one of our connect2 customers – note a case study is on its way!
Our conclusion – online access to resources is an important part of student engagement but it tends to involve a wide variety of areas and items. Whether it’s rooms, tutorials, training sessions, tablets or AV equipment - we're pleased to facilitate access to them all.