March digital experience insights blog

Welcome to the March digital experience insight blog post. These monthly blogs provide general tips and advice on how to run the insight process, latest best practice and guidance, as well as the latest news in and around the area of staff and student digital experience insights.

Digital insights developments

  1. Survey close dates

For those that haven’t yet launched their surveys, we wanted to give you a heads-up of when the surveys will close. Remember you’ll need to allow time to plan your survey, including engagement and marketing, before launching the survey. We then recommend you keep the survey open for around 2-4 weeks (for more information please see our relevant guidance on planning to use insight surveys). The close dates for all the insight surveys are:

  • UK student: April 30, 2019
  • UK teaching staff: June 28, 2019
  • International: October 31, 2019

Note that all benchmark data will be available via Jisc online surveys approximately one week after the survey in question closes. To access the benchmark data in Jisc online surveys you will need to click on the ‘analyse’ tab within your survey, then click on ‘advanced’ and then in the dropdown click on ‘benchmark’.

  1. Still time to sign-up to 2019 insight surveys

There is still time to sign up to participate in the 2018-19 insights surveys for teaching staff and students. If you are interested in participating and would like to find out more information, please complete the form here.

  1. Getting started on insights webinar

We will be running a ‘getting started on insights surveys’ webinar on Tuesday 19th March (between 12.30 to 1.30pm). This will be aimed at (but not exclusive to) institutions who are new to the service and would like to know how to get started quickly and ask any specific questions you may have to the Jisc digital insights team. The invitation for the webinar can be found here.

  1. Call for volunteers for expert review panels

We are looking for volunteers to join our annual expert review panels for both the student and teaching staff surveys.

Review panellists will be among the first to see the analysis of data from the Jisc digital experience insights surveys. The panel members and will:

  • discuss how to make sense of the findings, including any that are controversial, unexpected or unclear
  • explore what further analysis would be of value
  • discuss how best to communicate the findings, including headline messages for key stakeholders and opportunities for promotion, publication and presentation
  • work with the Jisc team on recommendations for the relevant sector bodies and education providers

The benefits to participating are the:

  • chance to feed into and influence the final reports and recommendations
  • chance to engage with other institutions who have undertaken the insight surveys and share best practice
  • opportunity to learn about latest developments with digital insights surveys
  • opportunity to develop and add to own continuous professional development (CPD)

In terms of time commitment this will involve attendance at two, one-hour webinars. Members will be asked to review a data report before the meeting and review at least one externally-facing report after the meeting.

We will be advertising how you can apply to become an expert panellist via JISCMAIL later this week so look out for the email.

  1. Digital insights community of practice event in Birmingham – 22 May 2019

We now have a page for booking a place on the digital insight’s community of practice event in Birmingham, on the 22 May 2019. This can be found here. Our last one was really well attended so book a place soon!

Additionally, as part of the online booking process you will see that we invite members of our community to share their practice by contributing a short PechaKucha style presentation on your work. Typically, these consist of 20 slides and take approximately 7 minutes. This is one of the ways that we use to live up to our aim of making it a community owned and lead event. These present an opportunity for you to share things like:

  • Your motivations for using the digital experience insights sureys
  • How you engage students and staff in discussions about their digital environment and practice
  • How you have analysed the data and with an overview of your actionable insights
  • How you have fed back the findings to respondents
  • Your future plans in this area.

We have time for 6-8 PechaKucha sessions and it is a lively and much enjoyed feature of the community events – great for networking too.

  1. Digifest 2019 this week – are you attending?

Digifest 2019 starts this Tuesday. If you are attending, then please pop along to our session on Wednesday 13th between 11.30-12.30. The title of the session is ‘How can we measure our staff and students’ digital experience?’ (in Hall 11). As part of this you will get the chance to hear from two institutions who are using insights to inform their digital developments (Conrad Taylor from City of Wolverhampton College and Stephen Webb from the University of Portsmouth).

  1. Is your institution developing its digital strategy?

Have you thought about what technology will be still be around in 5-10 years? Have you been following all the coverage about the fourth industrial revolution – Industry 4.0, as it’s sometimes called? Big data, artificial intelligence and robotics will fundamentally change the way products are designed and built and how services are provided. They are already changing how we live and communicate.  Why not read our blog to find out more.

  1. Australian and New Zealand (ANZ) 2019 pilot

We are following up on the ANZ 2018 pilot with a 2019 student and teaching staff pilot. If you are an Australian or New Zealand University and would like to participate, please complete this short online form and we will get in touch. If you have any further questions, please contact Ruth (

The new digital experience insights survey of ANZ students can be found here.

In addition to this Ruth Drysdale has posted a very interesting and informative blog about her workshop at the ASCILTE 2018 conference on ‘understanding the student digital experience – national and international insights’. The blog can be found here.

Hints and tips in using Jisc insight surveys

  1. Six simple steps to get your survey launched in under one hour!

Are you new to digital insights?

Have you copied, customised and launched your insight survey(s) yet?

If not, don’t worry. Here are six simple steps to get your survey launched in under one hour.

Step 1: log into your Jisc online surveys account and take a look at the master insight survey(s)

  • The Jisc online surveys login page is here
  • Email address required. Password required. Sign in. Forgotten password or lost invitation?
  • If you’ve mislaid your login details, just click on “lost invitation” to trigger a new one.
  • Once you’re inside your Jisc online survey dashboard, de-select “just my surveys” to see the survey we have placed there for you (as per the handy green text box at the top of the dashboard)

Step 2: copy from the master surveys(s)

  • You will have access to the master survey(s) you requested in the ‘getting started’ form
  • Take a copy of these using the purple “copy” icon on the dashboard
  • Name your insight survey: [name of your institution] [HE/FE/HE online/FE online student and/or teaching staff] [2018/19] [insight survey]
  • If you’re using the Welsh version, please indicate either by putting the title in Welsh or adding “(Welsh)” into the title.
  • Remove the word “locked”
  • More information can be found here

Step 3: customise your survey questions

  • Most questions cannot be edited, because we need them to be identical, so we can group everyone’s data and share this group data with you all (allowing you to compare your institution against “all data” in the benchmark). However, you can make the following edits:
  1. Customise question 28 (page 12) of the student survey to allow you to group your institutional respondents in a way that makes sense to you (eg by broad subject area of study, by campus etc)
  2. Customise or delete question 27 (page 12) of the student survey or question 20 (page 11) of the staff survey which offers further questions or prompts on an ‘agree, neutral, disagree’ scale
  3. Add an alternative or additional question on page 12 (of the student survey) or page 11 (of the staff survey) if you feel confident to do so.
  • More information can be found here

Step 4: check the survey(s) before you launch it!

  • Once you press LAUNCH you can’t edit the survey, so make sure you check it carefully first
  • You can create and share a PDF of the survey by going to “Preview Survey” and clicking on the cog in the top right of the screen

Step 5: launch your survey(s)

  • From the dashboard click on DISTRIBUTE
  • Check that you are happy with “public URL” link address (if not you can change it under “distribution settings”)
  • You can change the close date if you want to
  • More information can be found here.

Step 6: engage with your student and staff to ensure a reliable and valid sample size

  • To get data that reflects true opinions from your student or staff population as a whole, you should aim to collect responses from at least 20% of all students or staff, or target a sub-sample that contains all student variation in opinion and get responses from everyone in this sub-sample (eg by walking into some lectures with a box of chocolates and kindly asking everyone to complete the survey on their smart phones in return for chocolate!). Or you could do both
  • You could share the public URL link with your students eg in lectures, on twitter, via the student union, via their tutors
  • Several institutions have decided to run their surveys in a single given month and to make this “digital student” month. They are engaging learners with posters and sharing initial findings whilst the survey(s) are still live. Is this something you want to consider?

More ideas on engagement can be found here.

  1. Ideas from within the insights community for raising engagement

In addition to the guidance we offer on engaging respondents to complete your survey, we also have an ever longer list of case studies, many of which cover the area of student and staff engagement. These can be found on our main website. However, here are some selected ideas you may want to try:

  • Canterbury Christ Church University: within a wider engagement strategy, CCCU used tray mats and table top publicity material in the student canteen/refectory.  This raised the profile
  • University of Stirling: they were clear (as were many) that evidence from monitoring hits showed that individual emails were the most effective approach. Also, strong engagement from learning resources including use of student-focused social media
  • Aberystwyth University: use of an intern with data analysis skills and 1:1 engagement through library and ‘going to the places that students are’
  • London South Bank Universityand City of Wolverhampton College both got involved fairly late in the pilot and found that the resources (last year’s examples still available on the blog) and wider community support helped them get up and running more easily than they would have done on their own.

Some other factors from the case studies and other providers are:

  • Some institutions are getting support with managing data analysis process from specialist units within the organisation and this is proving really useful to all – particularly as the business intelligence units can also make use of the data (London South Bank, University of Queensland)
  • London South Bank are using their data to inform a new strategy
  • Many did offer prizes, although at least one said the winner didn’t collect it, so the prize isn’t necessarily the motivation for taking part (although nice and good for publicity). Prizes varied from things like an iPad, Kindle, prize donated by supplier to vouchers (usually Amazon)
  • Most of the FE examples are using tutorial time and the pastoral care/tutorial teams as a means of securing engagement.
  1. Naming your insight survey(s)

Can we remind you all to please include the following in your survey name: [name of your institution] [HE/FE/HE online/FE online student and/or teaching staff] [2018/19] [insight survey]. You will need to do this for each of your surveys.

If you’re using the Welsh version, please indicate either by putting the title in Welsh or adding “(Welsh)” into the title.

  1. Removing test/practice surveys

Some of you have created a test survey to practice with. Please can we ask that once you have finished with this you delete it, as we can see all insight survey copies made in this account, and we need to clearly find each of your “real” insight survey(s) in the master dashboard in order to put you in the right benchmarking groups.

Upcoming events:

  1. Digifest – 12-13 March 2019

Our annual Jisc conference will take place on the 12-13 March in Birmingham. If you are attending, then please pop along to our session on Wednesday 13th between 11.30-12.30 on ‘How can we measure our staff and students’ digital experience?’ (in Hall 11).

  1. Advance-HE Surveys and Insights Conference 2019 – 08 May 2019

The Advance-HE Surveys and Insights Conference 2019 will be taking place on the 08 May 2019. They have extended the deadline for submissions if anyone is interested in presenting about their insights journey and the impact it has made. More information can be found here.

  1. Digital insights community of practice event in Birmingham – 22 May 2019

The next community of practice will take place on 22 May 2019 in Birmingham. As mentioned above places can now be booked here.

  1. Change agents’ network 29-30 May 2019

The 8th annual change agents’ network conference will take place on 29-30 May at the Open University, Milton Keynes. This event supports the sharing of practice of student and staff partnerships. More information can be found (and places can be booked very soon) here.

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