Majority of university staff want more technology for teaching, finds report

Jisc's survey of almost 2,000 lecturers found that 61% see themselves as among the first or early adopters of digital teaching tech

survey of nearly 2,000 higher (HE) and further education (FE) teachers shows that 61% of university lecturers feel technology should be used more in the classroom. Despite this, 14% say they are never supported in developing their digital teaching skills.

The report from Jisc shows both FE and HE staff want more time and training to improve digital skills, so they can use technology more effectively to benefit students.

The poll also finds that 38% of HE teaching staff rate their university’s support for developing digital aspects of their role as better than average, with 26% below average.

Demanding workloads are also impacting on opportunities teachers may otherwise have to improve their digital skills. One lecturer said: “Workload is so cluttered during term time that developing new digital teaching practice in response to student feedback during the semester itself is difficult, if not impossible.”

However, there is enthusiasm for using technology, with the poll finding that 61% of teaching staff describe themselves as among the first or early adopters of digital technologies for teaching, and that 51% rate their organisation’s digital provision as better than average. The staff survey is a pilot that builds on Jisc’s student version of the report, which which collated answers from more than 37,000 respondents.

Our role is to help colleges and universities make the most of potential of new and emerging technologies. Paul Feldman, Chief Executive of Jisc

Despite the concerns of some teachers, the student report found that 74% of HE students were happy with the quality of teaching they received, although some became frustrated when teachers didn’t use digital systems competently, especially when it wasted time or reduced access to course materials.

Paul Feldman, Jisc’s Chief Executive, said in a foreword to the new report: “This is the first foray into uncovering the true digital experience of teaching staff in colleges and universities, and gives staff the chance to voice how they are experiencing their digital environment. With the skills demands of the workforce being driven by Industry 4.0 – an industrial revolution fuelled by data and machine learning – it’s also important that education leaders fully understand whether their digital environment can keep up with rapid advances in technology and industry, as well as meet student and staff expectations.”

Feldman continued: “At Jisc we believe that Industry 4.0 can’t truly succeed without an ‘Education 4.0’, and that our role is to help colleges and universities make the most of potential of new and emerging technologies. We want to work with colleges and universities to see their digital environment through the eyes of their students and staff and act on that knowledge. Our teaching staff insights survey provides additional data to organisations, triangulating with the data from their student insights surveys.”