Question sets key findings results for Top themes
Refer to table RG1: Tech Profile Responses: top themes (all data on one sheet), or RG1: Tech Profile Responses: top Themes by sheet (individual themes per sheet for ease of reading)
For purposes of interpreting and understanding the responses, Institutional support includes technical or infrastructure provision and policy and strategy content and implementation. It does not specifically refer to ‘support sessions’, either ICT or e-learning, as these were dealt with as separate themes in the literature. Combined, those themes would not have constituted a top theme, as mentions were often duplicated in literature sources for the same content, so overall number of mentions was lower. This might need improvement as showed a possible drawback of this method of literature theme analysis of this field. Support for e-learning was also part of Learning Quality and Pedagogy and Learning Design, so is covered in those themes here.
- Preferred supplier problems – Software (R2,R5,R6,R7)
- No policy for BYOD (though do use) (R1,R2,R4,R5,R7,R8)
- Wifi provision was perceived overall as fairly good (R1,R2,R5,R6,R7)
Q: How would you describe your experience of administration, teaching & learning, libraries, student or staff support, or other significant university work which may rely on technology: devices, software, intranet or internet services? (In respondents own words)
Some key quotes:
- “The use of technology is improving although there are some glitches and the service support is not customer friendly” R6
- “When my teaching/research is dependent on technology provided/administered by the university I experience sometimes problems that affect the quality of teaching & research” R4
- “It can be frustrating at times as the people who control IT provision in the university have little or no understanding of the learning and teaching needs of staff in the university. In teaching rooms it is often a lottery as to what will work and what won’t, what version of browsers will be on each machine, what software they will have installed etc. Very inconsistent and a real obstacle to effective technology adoption by staff.” R5
- “Pretty poor. 1 – Teaching staff are kept outside of the main *** functionality and treated like poor relations. 2 – Blackboard and *** can’t communicate with one another. This one change that could seriously improve student experience of feedback and staff control over assessment…” R3
- “Technology has improved in my years here, but there are times when machines are very slow. An example is a machine taking 20 minutes to be booted, logged in and a program opened for use. The range of software available is improving. The main problem is speed, or lack of, of the computers themselves, and sometimes delays with the printing facilities. Staff and students sharing printers is not ideal, but this has been enforced, at least in my own department.” R2
Overall: Problems are reported or experienced. Open ended responses are particularly predominantly negative.
This theme concerned the increasing ubiquitousness of the digital society, which overall was perceived as a problem, either in creating new problems or exacerbating existing problems. Below are some key responses, predominantly asked using a multi-choice format.
- Device of choice, plus good wifi – would help with the device inequality[R3,R7,R8], would help to teach in the context of 21st century skills[R1,R3,R7,R8], but need both wired network and wifi plus individual devices[R1,R2,R4,R5,R6,R8]
- Working week needs to be redesigned for flexible working – work ‘in the office’ often (perceived as) not productive[R1,R3,R4,R5,R7,R8], need to be able to support students out of office hours but be paid to do so[R1,R3,R4,R6,R7,R8], a need to be able to get help with using technology for work anytime – 24/7[R1,R4,R7,R8]
- Students expect to use technology at university because they use it every day in their daily lives[R1,R3,R5,R6,R7,R8]
- Students need much more flexible ways of studying[R1,R2,R3,R4,R5,R6,R7,R8]
- The digital society has potentially changed everything about what it means to go to university[R1,R3,R6,R7,R8]
Q: In your own words, how do you see the future of your role in academia, over the next 5 years, in relation to technology?
Some key quotes:
- “I believe we will continue to work more virtually and communicate with stakeholders at more non standard times – some people may not embrace this and there is a balance to be made here – a real work life balance” R6
- “My professional life is increasingly spent using technology. If the University network goes down, I don’t know what to do as most, if not all, of my work involves use of the network. I don’t see this trend slowing down…” R2
- “I work in IT and the shift I see is more opportunities/issues surrounding the “consumerization of IT” which is the blending of cloud, mobile, and social media in the academia. While the issues certainly involve maturing technology, it’s the mindset of faculty and staff who have been at the university far too long and cite tradition that are more problematic. We need these folks to be more outwardly open, looking at other industries for examples, and new bloods (sic) for our universities to change” R1
- “It is essential to my role both now and in the future, I see it as increasing potential markets and revenue streams, as facilitating collaborative projects, as making admin processes and systems more efficient and accurate and as continually improving the learning and teaching experience” R7
Overall: Problems are either experienced or foreseen. Some opportunity for change and improvement, though that is also seen as somewhat of a problem.
Pedagogy and Learning Design
This theme concerned pedagogical or learning design changes, redesign, curriculum redesign, or similar areas. Quality is dealt with separately.
- Only distance learning or ad hoc class level increase in TEL[R2,R3,R7,R8], low awareness of what was happening institution wide[R1,R5,R6]
- Pedagogical approaches more suited to technology settings needed to be demonstrated and publicised[R1,R5,R7]
- e-learning technical support is provided, but not enough[R1,R2,R4,R6,R8]
- Little support from management (faculty or senior) to redesign our courses – either time or funding[R3,R7,R8]
- Need for good overall user experience in an LMS, including design[R1,R2,R4,R5,R6,R7, navigation[R1,R2,R4,R5,R7,R8] learning material online suitability and technology used[R1,R2,R3,R4,R5,R6,R7,R8]
Future pedagogies of interest in relation to technology (also relevant to Student Centred Learning theme)
- 7 respondents agreed: Technology could offer ways of innovating curriculum design for personal learning[R1,R3,R4,R5,R6,R7,R8]
- 7 respondents agreed: Technology could help with real engagement for students, such as communities of learning[R1,R2,R3,R5,R6,R7,R8]
- 6 respondents agreed: Technology could help with self-directed group work through social media[R1,R3,R,R6,R7,R8]
- 7 respondents agreed: Technology could help with delivery of individual timely relevant feedback[R1,R3,R5,R6,R7,R8]
- 6 respondents agreed: Technology could encourage self-directed peer critiquing and critical thinking[R1,R3,R5,R6,R7,R8]
Overall: Problems in either new learning design knowledge or provision, but potential benefits are strongly agreed with.
Student Centred Learning
This theme concerned all aspects that might be included in any approach putting the student at the centre of any learning or teaching process. Significant overlap with Pedagogy and Learning Design as well as Learning Quality are apparent, but difficult to clearly distinguish, as naturally overlap in these areas.
- Results were ambivalent for staff perceptions of student engagement:
- It improves direct student input, discussion and sharing[R1,R7,R8]
- Staff try to use fun aspects[R6,R7,R8]
- Staff impression is that it is popular with students in general[R3,R7,R8]
- Results not conclusive about staff perceptions of students and technology:
- It’s a cheap option to save money, rather than be provided with a ‘proper’ lecturer[R2,R4,]
- Students know more about the technology than staff[R2,R6,R7]
- Providing learning material online makes students lazy[R2,R3,]
- Lecturers often think that using technology is pointless, and offers no real benefit over ‘traditional methods'[R3]
- ‘It’s wrong to think that all students love technology, some really don’t'[R2,R3,R4,R5,R8]
Overall: Very ambivalent in terms of support of conviction surrounding benefits of technology in relation to student centred learning. A clear indication of more (or more convincing) evidence needed, therefore this is a Problem.
This theme is about the quality of the learning experience, or the reliability and quality of academic provision and support for a learner. Findings here are confined to those which are not already replicated in Pedagogy and Learning Design, and Student Centred Learning, both of which also significantly effect quality of learning.
Asked whether teaching with digital tools compromised academic integrity and quality, results indicated quite strongly that staff are not convinced about technology enhancing quality and integrity of academia:
- I believe academic integrity and quality is ALWAYS enhanced [R6]
- I believe academic integrity and quality is not changed by use of technology [R4]
- I believe academic integrity and quality is SOMETIMES enhanced [R5,R7,R8]
- I believe academic integrity and quality SOMETIMES can be compromised [R1]
- “Quality of lectures, learning materials and curriculum is certainly improved. Intellectual property is altered in ambivalent ways – the unprecedented wealth of material has completely transformed scholarship but this new mode of work tends towards unpaid” R3
- “I believe academic integrity and quality are only compromised if tools are used without enough forethought” R2
Q: “The notion of technology enhancing learning is a false assumption, and the reality is very different.”
(LIKERT, 1-5, where 5 strongly agrees)
1 = [R5,R6,R7]
2 = [R1]
3 = [R2,R3,R4]
4 = [R8]
5 = NONE
Overall: Very ambivalent in conviction or confidence that technology ALWAYS enhances learning. A clear indication of more (or more convincing) evidence needed, therefore this is a Problem.
Convenience/Work Life Balance
This theme, in the perception of this research, is perhaps the most significant theme, though that may not be apparent at first look. It acts as a litmus test indicator of the mindset of the respondent, and concerns general factors involved in digital life purposes and tasks.
- 7 respondents said they couldn’t exist without the internet at home (for living, not just working)[R1,R3,R4,R5,R6,R7,R8]
- 5 respondents worked from home more than 3 times per week[R1,R3,R4,R5,R6,R7]
- 6 respondents reported worked away from their desk more than 25% of the time[R1,R3,R4,R5,R6,R8]
- 7 respondents reported fairly high volumes of daily email[R2,R3,R4,R5,R6,R7,R8]
- 5 respondents reported that they often worked after 5pm[R1,R3,R5,R6,R7]
A clear statement prompt question about TEL produced interesting results, which overall are positive:
Do you think the drive to use technology in learning and teaching is a cost saving exercise, or that it provides a way of creating more opportunities and choices for everyone?
- We need to be more competitive so this allows for more choices of study[R1,R2,R3]
- Course consolidation is a motive in our institution[R7]
- Students want more technology in their learning experiences[R1,R3,R7,R8]
- It means I need to work more hours for the same money[R3]
- Overall I believe it will reinvent how we teach, learn and assess in higher education[R1,R3,R5,R8]
- It allows students to study whenever and wherever they choose [R1,R3,R4,R6,R8]
- It is used as a cost saving exercise & to signal alignment with a trend. R4
- Senior managers in the institution have no apparent vision for technology in the institution. I don’t think I’ve read a single institution-wide email about MOOCS, for example. R3
Overall: Very clear evidence that a predominance of staff work away from the workplace much of the time, and that work practices do not cater for their needs. Therefore this is a Problem.
Problems and Benefits Hierarchy version 2
Iteration 2 of the Problems and Benefits Hierarchy is now possible, showing further evidence of the problem or benefit placing of the theme, overall.
Table 2: showing the second iteration of the Problems and Benefits Hierarchy, with contextual category ranking scores from literature
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