More than three-quarters of UK university lecturers want to use tech in their teaching

Despite the keen interest to up edtech use in higher education, just 29% of teaching staff feel their institution provides the digital skills guidance needed for their jobs

More than three-quarters of UK teaching staff in higher education feel increasingly motivated to use technology in their teaching, according to a new Jisc report.

In a survey of 2,677 university lecturers, the edtech non-profit also found that, despite the enthusiasm of staff, only 29% feel their institution provides the digital skills guidance needed to thrive in their job.

On top of this, just 14% agreed they had time to explore new digital tools and approaches, and 12% felt they have the chance to assess their digital know-how, for example, for career planning. Only 7% confirmed that they receive reward and recognition for digital skills development.

Just under half (48%) of responses were submitted after the UK’s first COVID-19 lockdown on 23 March 2020.

These findings mark an opportunity for the sector to capitalise on edtech enthusiasm. As Jisc CEO Paul Feldman commented: “COVID-19 has increased our requirement for remote and online delivery, so universities are asking staff – now more than ever – to design and deliver interactive and engaging learning for all students across all disciplines. Investment to support them as they develop these digital skills, enabling them to teach with confidence and innovation, is vital.

“Ensuring all staff have sufficient time to innovate, to be creative and to develop their practice within an organisational culture that recognises and rewards these endeavours is a priority. Teaching staff are clearly committed to developing their own professional practice, both in their discipline and in their use of technology. However, there are some areas highlighted in this report where staff feel less confident and where further support is needed.”

Sarah Knight, Jisc’s head of data and digital capability, added: “Academic staff have recently shown that they are developing their digital skills and practice at an impressive pace. It’s thanks to staff that the rapid transition to ‘digital-first’ teaching has been possible, and their achievements deserve celebration. Since lockdown, 5% more staff discussed their digital skills informally with managers, 7% more in meetings with colleagues, and 5% more in staff meetings and CPD sessions. These are steps in the right direction, and hopefully such conversations will soon become commonplace.

“Moving forward, we need a stronger focus on supporting staff to gain and nurture the skills to embed digital within curriculum design and redesign. This will help students to develop a preparedness for remote teaching and learning, supporting their digital capabilities and increasing their confidence in the digital workplace.”

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