DIAL Benchmarking Survey – your comments – a retrospective

Back at the start of the JISC funded DIAL Project, I put together an online survey for UAL staff and students. This had two key objectives: to contribute to the ‘benchmarking’ of digital literacies, practices and aspirations; and to raise awareness of and engagement with the DIAL Project itself (as individuals and groups became aware of potential synergies between their aspirations and the goals of the DIAL project).

Chris Follows (DIAL Project Manager) and I were discussing this again recently and Chris suggested it might be useful to showcase some of the feedback and quotations received at the time in a blog post. “When by?” I asked. “How about by the end of July?” said Chris. So here goes …

The survey was designed as a simple to access and complete online form which mixed multiple choice questions (for example to establish preferred devices and web platforms) with free form text areas for more detailed and personal answers. Quantitative data gleaned has been covered extensively elsewhere (some in this blog); qualitative data and verbatum quotations less so – although they have influenced the DIAL Project.

Here follow some of those questions – with some of the responses received …

Question: How do you use University Online Services and how useful are they?

“I’ve dipped in to most of them but haven’t used any consistently. I will be using BB more in the near future to mark and feedback on work.”

“Blackboard to store course documents, send group emails and make announcements. The blogs are used to discuss ongoing work we have links out to students’ personal blogs”

“I use them all to a greater or lesser extent – I am particularly keen on myblog, Workflow and Process Arts but Blackboard also offers a lot and acts as a core resource. Have sampled Lynda and it looks very useful; looking forward to using Alto when it links easily with other resources.”

“I use them for archiving my own processes and I often point students to them verbally.”

“Blackboard I use less and less but it’s good for globally emailing student groups.”

“Blackboard is a bit confusing but it serves a purpose and I have now learnt it and its fine. UAL blogs are good.”

“Research outputs of the university – very useful.”

“Workflow about to do a pilot study to improve employability”

“Process Arts as a repository for research paper for the fashion colloquia which I help promote”

“Lynda for software updates eg Adobe CS etc”

“I went on a WorkFlow training course and thought it was great but really wouldn’t have time to develop this into the course I teach on, I would need a dedicated period of time, which at the moment is scarce.”

“Lynda–an excellent teaching resource for learning software”

“All our courses are on blackboard … used chat discussion board and wimba voice tools.”

“We use the blog to update the language centre announcements”

“Blackboard is used as the main means of communication with students on course. All course related paperwork is posted here as first point of contact for students.”

“Blackboard is a horrible user experience and needs replacing with something more intuitive. The sooner I can get my course onto Moodle the better.”

“Workflow, not very useful, don’t use it much either … Blackboard & Blogs, very useful, use it all the time”

“ALTO is a great resource for course materials (add and using).”

“Blackboard is okay as a filing system… although like any filing system it doesn’t help you read the mind of the person who organised it.”

“The blogs are great and Mike is a star for being so responsive to development requests. Have only just started using Workflow but as SuperMike is also responsible for this I have high hopes for it.”

“Process Arts is great – I’m getting the PG Cert participants to upload their project videos to it next month.”

“I think it’s the Blogs (WordPress?) LCC Intranet to upload papers and information sharing. Blackboard is useless. Lynda is excellent.”

“Bb for communication with students and staff and distributing resources, workflow for student portfolios, lynda for learning software, process arts just to view what is on there ”

“Blogs … finding out what’s going on. Process Arts – research/finding out what people are doing. Lynda – learning skills”

“myblog.arts for sharing practice and research outcomes, and participating in the UAL learning and teaching community. Same with workflow.”

“Advising colleagues and other UAL staff to use Lynda.com to address specific gaps that they may have in their IT skills.”

“I read the blogs occasionally. I have started to look at the others but I haven’t used them extensively yet.”

“Intermittently, reluctantly, depressed by ignorance, confusion and lack of confidence.”

“Lynda & Workflow – promote to staff & students by linking to these resources in Images section of Library Services webpages and briefly demo’ing in user education sessions”

“Blackboard … I use it primarily as it’s the only means to get access to students via email.”

“Library services catalogue to check availability of books/DVDs and renew and reserve my own and help students and staff.”

“Blackboard to keep up with what lectures there are, etc. Also to find briefing informations and sign up for briefings. Sometimes extra info for briefings can also be found there. I can see my timetable and all the messages on the board from my tutors. I can access the library which is excellent since in most cases I would need to spend more time in the university library, which is not comfortable for me. I just feel better studying at home on my own, rather than being with other people around. Also, I can access my grades and the advertisements for available positions in different companies when you log in”.

“I find blackboard is very helpful to find out about my course handbook or assessment guidelines and other informations. Also for signing up for new workshops around university.”

“Lynda.com is AMAZING!!”

“The ‘BOB: Box of Broadcasts’ (http://bobnational.net/) service is useful to students not able to afford a TV set for watching TV programmes with educational as well as entertaining purposes.”

Question: If you use (any of these) EXTERNAL services for learning / teaching please say why – and how useful they are.

“Use them to promote events, inform people of the website activity.”

“Twitter is a more recent resource and we’ve just decided to tweet in a ‘group’ a few of us have the account access to make things nore dynamic and live and responsive to what’s happening.”

“Very useful for getting info, sharing and trying to develop own community of practice among a group of students, even like minded staff. Good for developing an online identity, digital competency.”

“My students and I use these things to create, store and distribute content. We also use content to upload or embed within our group blog.”

“Facebook, Twitter and WordPress is mainly related to sharing information. I’ve also made instructional quicktime movies.”

“I put resources into Google Docs and Google Photos, Vimeo and YouTube and then embed them into Blackboard and MyBlog.arts.ac.uk etc.”

“I believe these contribute extensively to my ‘informal learning’ via networks, people, resources etc that I access through these tools.”

“Keeping up to date”.

“Video to embed in lectures and post on Blackboard, Flickr and tumblr to add images to lectures. Twitter I talk about as a social media marketing tool.”

“Advise students to get a profile on linkedin to get contact and create networks.”

“Short films are good as examples / evidence to back up theoretical point – they help to break up a theoretical lecture, like a picture also does.”

“I use them in my external workshops and my own practice. But unable to integrate them with my teaching at UAL which is frustrating as other members of staff do not understand the significance or power of social media.”

“cautiously, but in the belief that they could become much more useful in managing increased numbers of students we face in the future.”

“youtube and vimeo carry video occasionally unavailable on specialist sites, the wiki is in constant development and is used for direct teaching of 3D technique, as well as instruction in recording, access to suppliers, h&s etc.”

“Still work in progress as yet unevaluated”.

“I use wordpress in teaching quite a bit with students as a tool in which they can communicate and disseminate ideas”

“Twitter for trends, links and networking. Vimeo for video sharing and submissions. WordPress for personal website with T&L links…”

“Youtube for Language teaching purposes occasionally and blogger for follow up to workshops.”

“Use youtube for videos/animations to illustrate processes/sequences of events”

“Sharing and empowering users. As a resource, research, or for portfolio creation.”

“They are useful as ways of extending the sharing of information with students, improving their experience and access to tutorial and practice expertise outside the formal teaching hours.”

“Google Docs and Google Sites are already much easier than using Blackboard.”

“Checking for images of designers and blogs on subject areas that will be useful to students that I can recommend for further research. I also check Flickr regularly to see if people have been stealing our images”.

“I learn a lot from youtube demos, and get info about exhibits & shows on twitter”.

“I learn from DIY videos and tutorials on Youtube”

“I get updated on what’s going on in the fashion world regularly on Facebook – I blog so people can learn about my projects, ideas, etc”

“Because a facebook group is the fastest and most reliable way to communicate with students – I use it to plan tutorials, tagging students so that they are informed about their time slots and to share articles and insights. I also use the board to answer questions – once and for all!”

“Flickr and YouTube are great repositories.”

“I’ve used Facebook briefly for the Learning Studio and for an open online course I was doing last year and it worked well for that, but these were quite transient and task-focused uses. I probably wouldn’t use it in an ongoing way for anything other than socialising.
I used to use Twitter a lot but stopped when the stalking got too annoying (and if you get addicted to it it can be a terrible time-waster); I only use it for specific events (conferences etc) these days.”

“Some people learn better with video – i think we can make far more of this.”

“Recruitment & spreading of information & stories, i.e. often the same story will go onto the College blog, Facebook page, Twitter account etc. YouTube & flickr more for sharing videos and images.”

“Sources of visual information – sometimes hard to find something on Flickr you can use which is licenced accordingly”.

“I teach costume and there are many resources for watching film trailers job ads examples of work etc”

“Studio blogs are an invaluable tool for communicating with and between students. Especially when centred around collaborative projects such as degree shows.”

“They are free, user friendly,’global’ – almost every student or teacher use them”.

“Youtube/Vimeo for showing exemplary work. WordPress for recording links / info / tutorials that may later be useful”

“Delicious – have listing of over 100 Image sites at artslondonimages. Due to selectivity of image databases on the e-Library, wanted a home for all the additional sites I had bookmarked. Link to it on Image section of Library webpages.”

“Issuu – online library guides, leaflets etc.”

“Essential tools for disseminating info to the college/UAL/outside world. Only way to communicate info using common tools that our audience are using 24/7.”

“Facebook is useful to advertise events such as student shows, flickr for images to put on the website, vimeo and youtube for videos to embed on the website, issuu for showing student work on website”.

“We have a first year facebook page, which is very active.
I have tried to set one up for for a project but with less success.”

“Facebook – we have facebook groups for certain briefs, tutor groups or projects that are useful to keep in touch with everyone and set certain deadlines etc. Tumblr – really only personally for projects, to keep inspiration logs and dig into other collections. LinkedIn -> to keep in touch with teachers and classmates.”

“On Facebook our course has a group where we have the chance to be able to discuss altogether the topics, which are important to us and even sometimes exchange opinions in the peer group.”

“I occasionally use Youtube e.g. tutorials. I use wordpress to write about some projects or various other things. But I do not have always access to internet, therefore I cannot use them much.”

“Youtube for digital tutorials – some great, some awful!”

“Twitter is great for learning about upcoming shows, also keeping up to date with fashion, news etc”

“I usually retweet lots of articles from my phone, as a way of storing interesting articles I will then go back and use in some of my lectures or use the design references from twitter, to upload to my tumblr site, which I sometimes refer to during seminars.”

“There is a great deal of useful information that can be used in lecture’s directly from the internet.”