OU Conf: Alison Ashby

Niall Sclater chairing.

The OU Student Experience: How do we measure up across our diverse student population?

Context – Nov 2007 end of course survey.  Very short, QA instrument. KPIs for QI.  60% response rate, like National Student Survey.  15k respondents, 121 courses. Often have issues with ‘neither agree nor disagree’ point – target for followup.  Looked across range of groups, incl lower socio-economic groups (which we get extra funding for, so key for us.  Also low ed quals on entry.

Method – Concentrate on 10 Key Performance Indicators.  Looks at two KPIs where there was a sig diff: 7 of 8 groups differed significantly on: ‘Overall, I was satisfied with the teaching materials provided on this course’ and ‘The workload on this course was higher than I expected’

Younger students were more positive about the online environment.  Steady effect with age – down a few %age pts per 10y age band.  Under 25 64% satified with quality of online interaction, but only 50% of over 56.  (Why only 56 top band?)  Younger students – U25s – less positive about f2f than others.

Workload and scheduling more of an issue for youngest students (actually, correlation with age and keep-up and meet-assignment, but U25s pop back up a little)

Students with no formal quals more positive about the online environment – but again less satisfied with f2f.  ELQ students less positive – so perhaps not a total disaster for us.

Students from lower socio-economic background slightly more positive about the online environment.

Open comments – many nice ones about the online environment, just what you’d hope actually.

Younger students – VLE should be well received, students confident in the environment; difficulty not a problem but keeping up to date is; engaging with employers about this is important too.  No formal quals is a small group but positive; need to make sure get in at the right level.  Lower SEGs – slightly more positive online, struggle with workload and keeping up to date – overlap with no quals.  We have a very diverse student population.

(Wow – Alison on time)

R07 ST? – work with low SEG people – early data he’s getting about online learning – but a surprise that they are finding it.  Issue with the pedagogy of online learning – just giving them computers and broadband isn’t a solution.  Were you surprised they were receptive and positive?

Alison – Offers students opportunity to talk to each other and get support from each other.  Need to dig deeper and see which courses they’re on, why are they having a satisfactory experience and some aren’t.  e.g. training moderators worked well in one place.

s/o interested in prisoners – do you have data on that?

Alison – Don’t ask but can identify them.  Small group in the survey.  Could extract but don’t have it here today.

Pete – Widening participation – looked at financial support or not?  In Scotland, PIs set by funding council – our students are spread across all quintiles of the SIND.  Some very poor students living in very rich areas, even though the areas are very small.  Best predictor of whether you’re hard up is whether you’re on a financial award rather than anything else.

Alison – We have that but haven’t picked it out (yet).  Looked at social deprivation vs FAF for retention modelling, and FAF is a key predictor.  Can provide that info for you – but multivariate analysis too much to do in the time.

s/o – Do you have info on student w/o English as first language?

Alison – Don’t collect data (yet) – but is a question on withdrawal questionnaire pilot at the moment; thinking about it for next years.

s/o – Online tutorials – some students value highly, some quite successful, some run for a long time, hard to get those to be quite successful – info not transferred across the university.  More cross-course information, training ALs properly how to moderate online tutorials.

Alison – Real difference between individual courses – understand which courses are web-enabled, web-focused etc – and share info.  Find out what really works well, and what doesn’t.

Ingrid Nix – Experienced or new online learners?  Your response would be very different if it’s not your first course online.  Would be good to separate in to these groups – see what the range of responses are.  e.g. with older/more experienced learners are better able to formulate discussions and use forums.

Alison – Want to extend Courses Survey

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Author: dougclow

Academic in the Institute of Educational Technology, the Open University, UK. Interested in technology-enhanced learning and learning analytics.