Digital insights drive our digital transformation

The way that we teach and learn has changed immeasurably since the start of Covid-19. In this blog, Professor Jo-Anne Murray shares why digital transformation is so important.

Appointment of the Pro Vice-Chancellor: Digital Transformation. September 2022

If you’re involved in delivering teaching or supporting teaching practice, you’ll know that the way that we teach and learn has changed immeasurably since the start of Covid-19. 

In March 2020, when the student experience went online, it became possible to teach and learn from anywhere in the world and at (almost) any time. There were exciting innovations in teaching practice. For many students, it was the first time they saw how we could harness digital education tools like Ally or video lectures to help make teaching more inclusive and accessible. 

But whilst that had incredible benefits, we know that some aspects of our digital journey remain a challenge.

How many of us have struggled to manage questions from a class of ‘raised hands’ on Zoom or Teams? Or, worse, been faced with an online classroom of invisible faces and no questions at all?

Digital transformation offers many possibilities to improve the student experience

Now, we’re teaching back on campus. But our expectations have changed, and the expectations of our students have changed too. Students want to be able to learn from home as well as in-person, and they want easy access to the tools and systems that help them do that.  

This is why our digital transformation is so important. By investing in creative and innovative digital and data approaches, we want to elevate our ways of working, our research capabilities and our student learning experiences. But to do that, we need to hear from you. 

Hearing different voices

I’ve talked before about how important it is for us to hear about the experiences of colleagues and students. Every voice is vital in helping us test ideas and making sure that the needs and experiences of staff and students closely inform the steps we take as part of our digital transformation. 

This is why I want to invite both teaching staff and, for the first time, professional services colleagues to take part in the Jisc Digital Experience Survey. 

Teaching staff and colleagues working in professional services roles are encouraged to take part in the Jisc Digital Experience Survey. This is a national survey used by universities to find out how well academics and professional services staff think digital technology helps support teaching and learning. We’ve taken part for the last few years, and the insights have helped us to make changes across the institution. This year, we’re expanding the survey to include professional services colleagues because it’s vital to include perspectives from everyone engaged in creating the student experience.

Take part: 
•    Teaching staff survey
•    Professional services survey

The survey closes on Monday 17 April. This year’s questions have been updated to reflect current teaching practice, and we’ll be using your responses to plan for the future so please have your say. 

Over the past three years, we’ve made many improvements thanks to your feedback in the Digital Experience survey: 

Some of you felt that you needed to improve your digital skills 

So we: 
•    Launched the JISC Discovery Tool for you to assess your digital skills strengths and to identify areas for development, along with a resource bank of advice and activities to draw upon to develop your skills. 

Many students said they had experienced difficulties with connectivity 

So we: 
•    Updated guidance on connectivity, internet access and broadband on the IT Knowledge Base 
•    Are offering an O2 4G Dongle and separate SIM to students who have connectivity problems and who are unable to resolve the issue themselves 

Some of you said you were struggling with online teaching

So we: 
•    Provided additional support for teaching staff to prepare interactive, engaging, online learning activities 
•    Conducted focus groups to understand students’ experience of online and multi-mode learning 

Upcoming events to find out more

If you would like to find out more sign up for an event sharing the Digital Transformation Strategy roadmap and latest developments on Wednesday 12 April between 1-2:30pm. You’ll hear from Professor Arunangsu Chatterjee, Dean of Digital Transformation Arunangsu and Our Pro Vice-Chancellor: Digital Transformation, Professor Jo-Anne Murray. 

You can also come along to a coffee afternoon for the opportunity to meet our Pro Vice-Chancellor: Digital Transformation, Professor Jo-Anne Murray. Drop in anytime between 2-4pm on Wednesday 19 April. Sign up via Microsoft Forms

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