Pilot process

We were delighted and amazed by the response to our call for pilot institutions for the Tracker, with over 50 applying for a space on the project. If you are one of the 24 institutions selected, consult the pages of guidance which are being updated as you go through the pilot.

If you are not one of those institutions, this page provides information about a pilot project running from March to June 2016 as part of the ongoing Jisc Digital Student data service. You can also find out more by joining the list http://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/jisc-digitalstudent-data.

About the tracker

The Student/Learner digital experience Tracker enables colleges, skills providers and universities to:

  • gather evidence from learners about their digital experience, and track changes over time
  • make better informed decisions about the digital environment
  • target resources for improving digital provision
  • plan other research, data gathering and student engagement around digital issues
  • demonstrate quality enhancement and student engagement to external bodies and to students themselves

The tracker is based on a concise set of questions which have been tested with HE and FE students for readability and ease of response. It builds on resources such as the Jisc/NUS Digital Student Experience benchmarking tool, and the Jisc Guide to Enhancing the Digital Student Experience. The questions cover issues that are important to learners and/or to staff with a focus on the learning experience.

The beta version of the Tracker has been extensively researched and tested and is now being used with thousands of learners in the pilot institutions. The findings from the Tracker pilot are now available here.

Running the pilot

Successful applicants to joint the pilot process completed a series of questions about their aims, their learner cohort, and how they will carry out the survey process. They considered how to engage stakeholders from different areas, including:

  • IT systems and resources: IT managers, heads of library, learning resource managers…
  • Learning and teaching: e-learning staff, curriculum leaders, quality staff, educational developers…
  • Student experience: students themselves, student union/course reps, student experience staff, learner engagement staff, access and inclusion staff, careers staff…
  • Senior managers and governors

If you would like to replicate this process you can download the Tracker planning sheet for discussion and note making. Please note that submitting these questions now will not qualify you to join the pilot.

Institutions then received an institutionally tailored version of the tracker in BOS with guidance on set up, implementation and student engagement. Once students have submitted their responses, institutions have access to their complete data set – with all the analytical tools of BOS – along with a summative report on data from other institutions in their sector. Further guidance supports their interpretation of the findings, including benchmarking data from other pilot institutions. Finally they receive guidance on how best to respond to the findings.

Evaluating the pilot

Every pilot institution is asked to complete an online evaluation survey that asks about the implementation process, their use of the guidance materials, and how they have analysed and responded to their data. Further questions probe their views on the Tracker, whether and how it was useful, and how Jisc could improve it for any future use. Six institutions out of the 24 will be selected to provide a case study in their use of the Tracker for the benefit of others adopting it in the future.

The evaluation process is extremely important. This is where pilot institutions have a chance to shape the Tracker project, and to decide whether it should be taken on as an ongoing Jisc service. We need to gain a full picture of the pilot process, including any institutions that had problems or did not manage to collect a full set of data.


Thank you for the incredible interest there has been in this project: we look forward to sharing the outcomes soon! For more information contact: Sarah Knight or Tabetha Newman