Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Elevate Team Student Inductions, Student Digital Literacy and the messages we take

The Elevate Team provide a student induction workshop for new and returning students at UCS around the topic of using technologies to enhance their learning. The slides are available from:

Part of the session involves the use the audience response system to gather information from the students on a range of technology enhanced topics. This is to help steer the workshop and give a quick heads up in terms of evaluation. We have been doing this for a number of years.

So based on this years replies, what messages can we (Elevate Team) take from it?

  1. the session seems to be achieving its aims, is it relevant and fit for purpose
  2. we need to ensure the focus of our student surgeries and the software services we provide contain a mobile device dimension
  3. the provision of our student digital literacy courses must accommodate the full range of needs, from those who classify themselves as power users, to those who are stressed and anxious when it comes to technology

We use a number of measures to identify the current level of engagement of technologies for the new intake. The simplest indicator is is they have and use a social networking tool, such as facebook or Twitter (n=330). The responses indicated 81.2% had, with another 7.6% not willing to tell us, and 11.2% not having an account. This is a very similar pattern to the results from the September 2011 inductions (Yes 85%, No 10%, Not telling 5%).

The next question asks them to classify their technical ability against the following classifications (n=328):
  • I’m a power user. I’m very competent with Microsoft Word, I’m a master of the pivot table, I update blogs, I’ve added content to youtube and I use Google Docs (17.4%)
  • I’m a novice. I’m very good as some aspects of Microsoft Office, I read lots of material from web sites, I access multimedia (video and audio) online, and I have used skype (37.5%)
  • I’m a happy amateur. I tend to use UCS computers and software, and share most of my word documents as email attachments. It meets my needs (39.9%)
  • I’m rather stressed and anxious when it comes to technology. I don’t feel in control, and what I’m currently doing isn’t very satisfactory (5.2%)
This is a complex process and is very subjective, however, it is interesting the spread across the range with relatively large percentages of power users (17.4%), and those who are stressed and anxious when it comes to technology (5.2%). We need to accommodate this when planning our student focussed sessions. These results are not dissimilar to those in September 2011; 11.5% Power Users, 66.3% Natty Novices, 17.3% Happy Amateurs and 4.9% Technology Anxious)
A question we included this year was to try to identify some common tasks students completed. There was a number of drivers for this, in particular the hope of being able to feed any support needs into our emerging digital literacies course.

We asked the student to select the top four tasks (most common first) they’d completed from the list. The results are outlined below (in rank of most common across the cohort). It is interesting to identify the dominance of tasks being completed on mobile devices. The scores are in brackets. I’d suggest this is an indicator of how often the top four tasks are completed.

  1. access your email on a phone or tablet (2149)
  2. take a photo on a phone and share it (2028)
  3. write a document in word (1951)
  4. download an app to a mobile device (1470)
  5. create a video on a phone and share it (587)
  6. embed a picture or video in a presentation (465)
  7. use google scholar (192)
  8. none of the above or other (178)

In terms of where the students would like us to place the emphasis when we deliver our workshops (n=301), the most popular was on collaborative writing in Google Docs (42.9%), compared to using twitter to develop your personal learning network (25.9%), reflective blogging and note taking in Mahara (21.6%), or social bookmarking using Diigo (9.6%).

The session is evaluated as part of the wider Student Induction Programme, however, we do ask a question to gauge initial interest in the areas covered. This question is, to what extent do you agree with, “after this session I will look further into what has been discussed to bring into my learning” (n=325). It was very pleasing to see 61.5% Strongly Agree, 29.2% agreed, and only 4.3% either disagreed or strongly disagreed.

A number of twitter posts from students mirrored the view the sessions had achieved the aims of encouraging students to think how they might use technology to enhance their learning.

  • Would like to thank @thedavidmullett for introducing me to google drive and a better use of twitter today :-)
  • @thedavidmullett thanks for todays talk, interesting stuff. now a google drive convert
  • @thedavidmullett fab presentation yesterday! Never even knew google drive existed but I can see it being a life saver from now on! Thankyou

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