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Teaching staff satisfaction with digital support dropping

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

The digital experience insights survey of higher education (HE) teaching staff found less than half (48%) of respondents to the survey rated the support they received to teach effectively online as ‘above average’, down from 54% last year and a fall of 6%.

The drop comes as more than half of respondents said they preferred a blended mode of teaching:

  • 53% of respondents said they wanted a mix of on-site and online
  • 39% said they wanted mainly on-site teaching
  • 8% said they wanted mainly online teaching

Only 14% of teaching staff said they had received an assessment of their digital skills and training needs, and 73% of teaching staff 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.

The survey also revealed that staff are facing challenges caused by digital inequality: 42% reported difficulty with wifi 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. Nearly two-thirds (64%) of respondents 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. 

The survey was completed by more than 3,500 staff from 30 universities between November 2021 and July 2022, the first academic year not disturbed by lockdowns since 2018/19.

The survey, released today, features a foreword by Alison Johns, chief executive of Advance HE. In it, she calls for better support for teaching staff in training and equipment provision, and more rewards for using digital technologies in their teaching practice:

“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.” 

To download the full report, visit the digital experience insights page on the Jisc website.

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