Why you should sign up for the 2017-18 Tracker!

Last month we published a report from this year’s Student Digital Experience tracker project, representing the voice of 22,000 learners from across the UK. Findings from the project have attracted national and international interest, and we’re starting to see some exciting lessons about what makes a difference to the learning experience. But the main purpose of the tracker has always been to help institutions understand and make a difference to your own students.

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Word cloud showing responses to the question ‘what is your main reason for engaging with the Tracker?’

We asked participants in the 2016-17 Tracker project what they wanted from the process, and what they had gained. We found that the main reasons for engaging with the Tracker were (in no special order):

  1. Inform ourselves about the student digital experience
  2. Gather evidence to support specific actions (e.g. in respect of the curriculum, student digital support, and/or digital infrastructure)
  3. Demonstrate that we are engaging with students and responding to their feedback
  4. Evaluate ourselves – against other institutions (benchmark), or over time (monitor), or in relation to our aims for a specific initiative/strategy/project etc (evaluate)
  5. Gain intrinsic value from the project process (e.g. student engagement, other stakeholder engagement, benefits of working with Jisc/other institutions)

When we asked whether the tracker had helped them to meet these goals, 45 institutional leads responded. They told us that the tracker process had been either useful (n=21) or very useful (n=22). All but one was keen to use the tracker again in the future. Of the 45 who reported back, 37 described concrete actions they had taken in response to their tracker findings, from wifi upgrades to new digital learning strategies.

How useful was the tracker process? Click to zoom in.

We have also collected a range of case studies and practical examples to show the Tracker making a difference in a range of different contexts. You can read some of the feedback from participants here, and see more quotes below.

Quotes from 2017.001
Quotes from 2017 participants – click to read

So rather than waiting to read another report about our national findings, why don’t you get involved and start collecting your own data? As well as a great way of engaging with students and showing you care about their views, the tracker process connects you with change agents at other institutions. Find out how others are working in partnership with their students to implement the tracker, analyse the data, and act on the findings.

Nearly 95% of users find our guidance valuable, and the whole process is based on a body of research and evidence. Factor analysis has confirmed that the survey is robust, and we have refined the questions still further for 2017-18 to ensure you only ask learners about issues that are clear, relevant, valid, and actionable.

New features for this year will include:

  • overall measures of digital satisfaction
  • better correlation with the NSS for HEIs
  • questions for institutional leads about organisational drivers
  • opportunity to send out individualised links to learners
  • data tracking by anonymised IDs to support merging with other sources of learner data

How can you get involved?
The 2017/18 tracker project will launch in September with the Tracker surveys going live to students any time from October 2017 to April 2018, to suit the needs of institutional users. The project will continue to be supported by Jisc with a full range of updated guidance. BOS is transferring to Jisc in October 2017 so there will be an excellent technical infrastructure and the reassurance of data security throughout the process.

If you’re interested in participating in the Student Digital Experience Tracker for 2017/18 please sign up before the end of September 2017 using the following online form:

You will complete a second form in September when we will ask for more details about your organisation and your plans for the tracker. This is to help you plan the process, engage your stakeholders, ensure a representative sample of students respond to the survey, and set you up for success.

From October you will be able to customise and launch your own survey using our detailed online guidance and resources. You will also be added to the tracker pilots Jiscmail list that allows you to share ideas and experiences with other participating institution, and that gives you first access to new resources and FAQs.

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