FE Digital Student Project Kicks Off

Data collection for the FE Digital Student project kicked off in September. The desk study looking at published material relevant to understanding FE students’ expectations of their digital learning environment is now well underway. The team are looking at both openly available research and policy documents and internal documents that institutions have made available to us. If you are willing to share relevant institutional evaluations or student feedback you can still let us know using the contact details below.

Early findings from the literature will be available to examine and reflect on in the staff consultation events starting in 2015. A new staff consultation event has been announced for Wales on 23 April 2015, making six of these events overall.

The desk study is accompanied by FE student perspectives gathered through focus groups. In September nine first year students studying for a Foundation Degree in Marketing from Abingdon and Witney College participated in a pilot focus group designed to trial the card sort tools and focus group protocols developed for the project. Using a card sort activity the students identified their expectations in terms of the availability of different types of technology to support their learning. As students in the field of marketing the research participants were intrigued by experiencing for themselves the focus group research approach. Participation in the pilot not only helped the researchers prepare for the real thing, it hopefully gave the students an experience that will benefit them in their future careers.

We made some minor tweaks to the card sort and focus group protocols following the pilot. Once we’re completely satisfied with them we’ll publish these tools so that practitioners in any FE college can use them.

Now we are moving on to the site visits for the actual student focus groups. Starting in October we will visit six Colleges and speak with groups of students from a variety of courses both at the beginning of their studies and approaching the end of them. The following six Colleges have confirmed their participation as sites for focus groups:

Borders College
Sussex Downs College
Activate Learning
Myerscough College
City of Bristol College
Coleg Gwent

Stay in touch with the project using any of:

Twitter: #digitalstudent

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