Words by Laura Flowers, Academic Executive
We recently carried out a survey with De Montfort University (DMU) students to find out how you were finding the transition onto online learning.
Due to the quick move to online learning, everything had to be reactive, therefore there are many things that need to be improved if we are to continue online studies in the future.
In order to fully understand what needs to be improved, I led a mass feedback project which included 550 survey responses and a series of 8 focus groups. This feedback has been presented to the university in a number of ways: it has been discussed at one of the university’s highest boards, at their executive committee, as well as to the boards deciding what next year looks like.
I think that it’s really important to share some of the key highlights of this survey with you:
- Firstly, it is important to recognise that not every student has received online learning. 15% of the students surveyed had not received any at all, and 22% can only access their learning occasionally. When we asked why this was, students responded with barriers such as:
- Technical Difficulties (Wi-Fi, software, machinery)
- Communication (Not knowing how/when to access online learning)
- Being on a practical course which was not able to transfer online smoothly
- Personal Issues
- No online learning provided
- The largest theme that we picked up on throughout this survey was the need for communication throughout the process. Regular updates on exactly what the university is working on are needed in addition to regular ‘check ins’ by university staff to ensure students are able to achieve as best as imaginable.
- When delivering online learning lectures, you urged your lecturers to be engaging and use innovative technology to support teaching. Student who completed the survey suggested using quizzes, activities, visual and audio aids. As well as this, the findings informed us that you need more in-depth content descriptions and questions to check your understanding.
- We are aware that you are understandably worried about your future, that your tuition fees don’t reflect the experience you are receiving, and that you are concerned about being able to achieve in the future.
There’s an awful lot more that we uncovered about your online learning experiences. You can find a shortened version of these findings here.
We will be using this data to inform a variety of our campaigns this year. At DSU, we have a constructive relationship with DMU. They value the student voice are have responded really well to this feedback - it is already informing decisions made about returning to campus. I have no doubt it shall also be very important in planning everything that happens in the future at DMU.
If you would like to view the full report, please get in touch with our Voice team at firstname.lastname@example.org.