April 21st, 2015

Student Focus Groups

Student Focus Groups on Digital Learning

Student Focus Groups on Digital Learning

The first piece of research being carried out as part of the Digital Learning Fellowship is to investigate students’ expectations and experiences when using technology. There are two key ideas to consider. The first is looking at what students expect from digital technology and secondly the importance of recognising that all learners are different and to think about how we begin to talk about learner difference with respect to technology use in a way that is meaningful and helpful.

Student focus groups will ensure the involvement of students and the development of their student voice. When implementing new digital projects, it is vital to have student representation from the start.

I will be consulting with relevant staff members over the next few days to schedule the workshops, which will take place at all campuses, for all students.

Once all the workshops are completed, I will produce a report to detail the findings.

The workshops are structured around three activities. The first is a survey for students to complete, the second is a card sorting activity and finally a group Q&A session.

The card activity asks four questions based on four different themes.

Students are then asked to sort in priority a series of cards which provide prompts for discussion. Students are asked to agree a priority of importance and to add additional ideas on flip charts. Students can also discard any cards which they consider irrelevant.

The card activity designed by JISC is detailed below:

Access to technology items:

Q. Which of these do you expect your college to provide for you?

  • Robust broadband (wifi) connection
  • Access to social media (e.g. skype, facebook, last.fm)
  • Email account
  • Access to cloud storage (e.g. Dropbox)
  • Access to industry standard vocational technology (Robotics, Computer Aided Design, Google Earth, Data Analysis tools)
  • A Virtual Learning Environment with tutor contact, group forum, etc.
  • A Virtual Learning Environment with personal space to store college work; portfolio tool for coursework, digital templates e.g. CV etc
  • Device (laptop, tablet, desktop computer etc) for individual use when required
  • Access to a printer when required
  • Access to a digital camera when required
  • Lecture notes and lecture recordings in electronic format
  • Course management aids – electronic diary, timetable, work experience information, rooming information, library catalogue

Useful Skills items

Q. Which of these skills do you expect to acquire at college?

  • Basic ICT skills e.g. use of browser (search engines), email, word processing
  • Use of technologies to overcome disability or disadvantage
  • Use of College systems (e.g. library catalogue, virtual learning environment,
    submission systems)
  • Use of search engines and online search techniques
  • Use of social media to build networks and share ideas
  • Writing computer code – opportunities and/or training

Experience items

Q. Which of these experiences do you expect to have during your time at college?

  • Experience with technologies used in the workplace
  • Experience with technologies used by researchers (e.g. for data collection/
  • Experience with presentation software (e.g. PowerPoint, Prezi, animation)
  • Experience building/contributing to a public site (e.g. wiki, blog, website)
  • Experience creating and editing with digital media (e.g. video, audio, apps)
  • Experience working with social media for educational purposes
  • Experience participating in online discussions
  • Experience collaborating online with others e.g. sharing files

Attributes items

Q. Which of these personal qualities or attributes do you expect to gain from your time at college?

  • Ability to choose appropriate technologies for different tasks
  • Ability to judge value/credibility of messages in digital media
  • Ability to judge value/credibility of online information
  • Understanding of safe, ethical use of social media (cyber-bullying, e-safety, the need to protect private information, adopting a clear moral code, etc)
  • Understanding of the latest digital trends (gadgets, media)
  • Knowing how to project a positive digital identity / profile
  • Ability to enter a workplace and feel confident in the use of technology

Other Blog posts that may be of interest:

Engineering Student Focus Groups in Basildon

Read the full report here

Visit PROCAT Prospects College of Advanced Technology

This PROCAT Digital website is produced to report on activity from the Digital Learning Fellowship at PROCAT Prospects College of Advanced Technology, funded by The Education and Training Foundation.