In researching the DIGE report we found that students will compare provision across, and beyond, the University and that responsibility for the student digital experience extends beyond the remit of central IT services or UAS. There is a clear need across colleges and departments for uniformity of provision, rationalisation of interfaces and systems and integration of data.
The report recommends that:
- all units and colleges should make effort to increase wireless provision across their estate.
- all services should consider moving to single sign-on and support identity access management.
- those who provide listings data of lectures, course timetables, exam timetables, talks, training sessions and seminars should provide it in a way which can be used in a single , central list and in a form suitable for personal calendaring.
- all units and colleges should encourage teaching and research groups (and those tasked with outreach and alumni relations) to record lectures and talks for distribution to the public.
- all units and colleges should make effort to streamline the multitude of systems used to book and arrange tutorials.
- all units and colleges should promote comprehensive and consistent use of MobileOxford, OxCORT and WebLearn.
- we should all refrain from making any more services which are named to begin with ‘Ox’.
Students were particularly unhappy with wireless coverage.
“The internet facilities are wholly insufficient. In 2011 wireless networks are standard the world over.”
“Living at Oxford is great … but there is no accessible wireless, which feels like being in the woods.”
“Not having wireless internet in Oxford accommodation is ridiculous.”
And information websites.
“I remember when trying to register before coming to Oxford, I was very confused as to what all these different sites were and what I would be using them for.”
“When I applied, admissions information was not very clear. The university and my college websites have now much improved.”
“The disparate nature of the University means colleges and departments are not even remotely consistent in the range and structure of the information they present, which makes it very difficult to contrast different options when applying.”
“The admissions section of the website is labyrinthine. I presumed it was a deliberate choice – along the lines of ‘If you have to ask how to find something, you aren’t smart enough to come.’ Once I found information I made sure I printed it out as I could never guarantee I’d ever find the same page twice.”
“Tutorials and supervisions are generally arranged through a convoluted system of group bargaining and discussion on Facebook while a single student negotiates times with our tutors via email.”
The DIGE report describes digital services provided by Oxford for students and staff to enhance the learning experience and learning support activities, and a vision for the systems and services for the next five years. The recommendations report was reviewed by Education Committee on 1st June.
In October 2012 we asked 942 Freshers:
‘Thinking ahead to your life as a student, please indicate how important it is to…’
- Do most of your reading online
- Obtain online copies of handouts to read before each lecture
- Obtain online copies of handouts to review after each lecture
- Listen to/watch a recording of a lecture afterwards
- Take notes on your laptop or tablet during lectures and other classes
- Submit your written assignments online
- Get feedback on your written assignments online
- Have Wi-Fi (wireless) access everywhere in the University
These graphs show the percentage of each student group who rated each feature as “very important” or “fairly important”. For all groups, wifi access everywhere was the highest scoring feature. Obtaining copies of handouts to review after each lecture was also important to many people. Working online – reading, submitting assignments and receiving feedback assignments – was rated higher by postgraduates than undergraduates. 67 to 74% of respondents felt being able to watch TV on the web in their rooms was very or fairly important.
Desirable resources and facilities by student category