The Digital Student

GDD students prepping for grad show (cropped)

GDD students prepping for grad show (cropped)

The Digital Student, a term increasingly being talked about in education, so what do we mean by this, and what bearing do Digital Students have on HYMS and it’s teaching. Should we as an institution have a better understanding of our digital students and what their needs are?

With the ubiquitous nature of technology now in education, we can no longer ignore our students digital experience while at HYMS. Increasingly our students today have come from Schools or FE having already engaged with a wide range of technologies such as Personal Learning Environments (PLE), Virtual Learning Environments (VLE), ePortfolios and Records of Achievement (ROA) to mention a few. Their expectation of a HE institutions use of such technology is that it should equal if not exceed their previous institutions.

Although our students are on the whole are familiar with technology and using it socially on a daily basis, this engagement can quite often be superficial. It is our place to develop that knowledge to enable our students to attain levels of Digital Literacies that will prepare them for the world of work once they have left HYMS.

There are a number of questions that we need to address to ensure we are meeting our students digital needs. The questions below are drawn from the Jisc Enhancing the digital experience for students’ cards and perfectly sum up what we should be asking ourselves.

  • How are we managing students’ expectations of the digital environment?
  • How do we prepare students to study in digital settings?
  • How do we give students a sense of belonging to the (digital) institution?
  • How good is the access we offer to hardware, networks, software and services?
  • How effective is our guidance and support for digital technologies?
  • How are we supporting students to use their own devices and services?
  • How are we embedding digital experiences into the curriculum?
  • How are we building the digital capabilities of student-facing staff?
  • How are we preparing students for digital workplaces?
  • How do we ensure an inclusive learning experience with technology?
  • How do we find out more about students’ digital experiences and expectations?
  • How do we engage students in developing the digital environment?
  • How well are we approaching these issues at the strategic level?

Jisc has produced a report on ‘The Digital Student’, laying out what student expectations of a HE institution are and what technologies they believe they are entitled to. These expectations generally distill down to the following, Wi-Fi and web access, access to and availability of appropriate software/hardware and access to learning material online. They also expect their tutors to be well versed in the use of technology. Being the role models they should aspire to emulate, they see this as being part of the professionalism that should go with the role, .

At HYMS we need to look at what we are currently providing for our students and how best we can rise to the challenge, ensuring we give them the quality educational experience that they deserve.

Follow this conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #digitalstudent


Learning Enhancement & Support Manager at Hull York Medical School

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