A Jisc survey of more than 21,000 higher education students has found that just 36 per cent agreed that they were given a chance to be involved in decisions about online learning – A decision that would undeniably have a positive impact on the trajectory of their learning.
Another element that was lacking lustre in the survey was that of collaborative working. Collaborative working can truly help with the development of skills that frequently aren’t taught, but acquired through time spent in an academic environment such as development of leadership skills, the ability to communicate effectively, cohesively higher-level thinking, self-management, and more.
It’s not that students don’t want to collaborate, it’s that they haven’t had the chance to do so, with 63 per cent wanting more opportunities for interactions with other students, (JISC). With institutions only opening up for select courses, virtual learning is going to continue for the foreseeable future, so what can institutions and academics do to ensure they understand the needs of their students and their yearning for collaborative learning?
At Kortext, we take pride in our accessible platform and all of the functionalities it offers. As well as offering the opportunity to gain access to essential texts anytime, and anywhere, Kortext also has the ability to allow students to collaborate on their learning by sharing notes, as well as reading together on Microsoft Teams via the Kortext add-on.
The report shares some of the further student issues that are not being addressed such as:
As part of the survey, JISC asked how students felt the quality of online and digital learning could be improved, and what one thing they felt their universities should do to help them learn effectively online. Their responses has essentially provided a very valuable checklist for staff to take note of to enhance online learning delivery. The checklist includes…
- Get the basics right –wifi (on/off campus), access to reliable hardware and software, clear navigation to learning content, timetabling and session scheduling, audio and lighting of online sessions
- Make learning sessions more interactive (eg quizzes, games, tests), small group tasks so students feel connected to each other, their course and their university
- Record lessons and make them available soon after delivery to aid personal learning preferences, revision and catch up
- Train and support lecturers to use online tools in a pedagogically sound and inclusive way
- Think about the pace of delivery (too fast/too slow) and consider shorter bursts and regular breaks for students
- Create opportunities to talk to/ask questions of lecturers and fellow students and give timely individual and group support
- Offer timely feedback on formative and summative assessment activities
It’s clear to see that students care and want to have an influence on the delivery of their virtual learning from the findings of the survey. Whilst online learning may not be what they signed up for when they applied via UCAS, it’s their present and their foreseeable future. That said, there is no time like the present to act on this and work with students to ensure their VLE represents the kind of learning environment that is inspiring, collaborative and engaging to allow for the best possible outcome.
For the full survey findings, please click here.
-by Amber Lovell