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Jisc survey shows mixed picture for online teaching in higher education


Mark Say Managing Editor

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Higher education teaching staff want more support to teach effectively online, according to the results of a new survey from Jisc.

The membership organisation for technology services in higher and further education said 48% of respondents to the survey rated the support they received to teach effectively online as ‘above average’, down from 54% last year.

The latest of its digital experience insights reports – this one from a survey of more than 3,500 staff from 30 universities between November 2021 and July 2022 – shows 53% of respondents wanted a mix of on-site and online teaching, 39% wanted mainly on-site and 8% wanted it to be mainly online.

Only 14% said they had received an assessment of their digital skills and training needs, and 73% reported going to colleagues for help with digital problems, compared to 48% contacting IT staff.

Just 6% of teaching staff agreed that they are rewarded or recognised for their digital skills.

Inequality challenges

The survey also revealed that staff are facing challenges caused by digital inequality. 42% reported difficulty with Wi-Fi connections, 16% reported no suitable computer or device to deliver the digital elements of their courses and 14% reported having no safe, private place to work.

Generally, staff were positive about the teaching platforms their organisations used. 64% rated the online teaching environment they used as above average and just 11% rated it as below average. 

Asked where they wanted universities to invest for the future, 37% wanted to upgrade platforms and systems, 32% wanted better IT support, 16% wanted more computers or devices and 14% wanted specialist software. 

In the report’s foreword, Alison Johns, chief executive of Advance HE, says: ““At this moment, when expectations are rightly high and digital transformation is touching every part of modern life, it is both critical and timely that higher education institutions support their educators, review their teaching and learning strategies, and consider the extent to which the level of digital competence needed is reflected in staff and student development and support.

“They also need to ensure the right equipment is available to individual teaching staff and consider how reward and recognition strategies reflect the pressing demand to up our game in the digital teaching and learning space.” 

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