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June 12, 2008

Great expectations?

Another interesting looking report from the JISC, this time focusing on how well UK universities are meeting the ICT expectations of new undergraduates, Great Expectations of ICT: how higher education institutions are measuring up.

There's a lot of material here, which I haven't looked at in detail yet, but the key findings are reported as follows:

  • General use of social networking sites is still high (91% use them regularly or sometimes). Frequency of use has increased now that they are at university with a higher proportion claiming to be regular users (80%) - up from 65% when they were at school/college.
  • 73% use social networking sites to discuss coursework with others; with 27% on at least a weekly basis.
  • Of these, 75% think such sites as useful in enhancing their learning.
  • Attitudes towards whether lecturers or tutors should use social networking sites for teaching purposes are mixed, with 38% thinking it a good idea and 28% not. Evidence shows that using these sites in education are more effective when the students set them up themselves; lecturer-led ones can feel overly formal.
  • Despite students being able to recognise the value of using these sites in learning, only 25% feel they are encouraged to use Web 2.0 features by tutors or lecturers.
  • 87% feel university life in general is as, or better than, expected especially in terms of their use of technology, with 34% coming from the Russell Group of universities saying their expectations were exceeded.
  • 75% are able to use their own computer on all of their university's systems with 64% of students from lower income households assuming that they are able to take their own equipment, perhaps due to lack of affordability and ownership.

The following comments, from towards the end of the JISC Web page for the report, also feel significant and present a somewhat less than positive view about staff attitudes to the innovative use of ICT for learning within the university sector:

Students do not perceive HEIs to be leading the way in developing new methods of learning. Their perception is that current technology training for students tends to focus on how to use different systems. There is little sense that the HEI has a remit to encourage these students to think differently about information, research and presentation.There is also emerging evidence that student-driven ICT, including the use Web 2.0 features is very beneficial in their learning despite relatively few feeling they are encouraged to use Web 2.0 features in this way. Attitudes as to whether social networking sites could be used in teaching are mixed, however, where social networking emerges organically among the students, it is shown to be more successful than networks put in place by the teacher...


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Social networking sites is good in the sense that one will be able to interact with others to seek help and to share what one knows, I think this is very important to help one progress be it in career or personal development.

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