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Universities Called To Do More To Include Digital Education

As the digital landscape for businesses and consumers continues to change the way we work and day-to-day duties, more UK leaders and members of the general public are eager to pick up digital skills. Those who manage to attain a degree will find the job market increasingly competitive, and must have the skills to match job requirements or skills in current demand. As a result, university students have called upon universities to do more to include digital education.

A recent survey of more than 20,000 university students revealed that a quarter of students failed to give positive feedback in regards to the quality of digital teaching they had received.

The survey entitled ‘Student Digital Experience’ which was published by Jisc , found that 23% of students could not rate the quality of digital teaching and learning on their course as ‘good’, ‘excellent’ or ‘best imaginable’.

A lack of guidance regarding digital skills was a major issue – 51% of students said that they receive guidance on digital skills. Following the response, that led to the non-for-profit organisation commenting that students deserved ‘high-quality experiences’.

Jisc said: “suggesting the higher education sector must up its game to deliver the high-quality experiences students deserve, and the skills they need to thrive”. There was some positive responses from the students surveyed. 60% of students (surveyed before and after Covid) said that the quality of support that they receive to develop their digital skills was ‘good’ as well as ‘excellent’. However, only 34% said that their organisation provides the chance to assess their digital skills.

The biggest concern for students was the lack of preparation towards a potential future in digital. With digital skills being high in demand, Michael Barber, chair of the UK’s Office for Students, believes that there needs to be “substantial” work done in order to reduce the digital divide within education.

“It is essential that students receive practical support to develop their digital skills both to ensure they progress academically as well as in preparation for the careers of the future,” he wrote.

“We should not make the assumption that all students are confident and capable with the new tools and apps they are being asked to use.”

Due to the current restrictions large parts of the UK face, businesses have been forced to adapt accordingly, meaning large parts of workforces working remotely or in covid-secure environments.

Jisc’s head of data and digital capability, Sarah Knight stated that universities must do what they can to make sure that all students are well-equipped with an equitable experience to deal with different circumstances, whether they’re learning face-to-face, remotely, or through a blended approach.

“Covid-19 has highlighted the urgent need to address digital poverty.

“Helping students develop preparedness for online teaching and learning will support their education and increase their confidence in the digital workplace,” she concluded.


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