National Student Survey suggests big rise in satisfaction with IT resources

Universities have invested heavily in their digital capabilities in response to lockdowns and student requirements

The National Student Survey 2022 has suggested that those finishing their undergraduate studies are more satisfied with their higher education experience than those of the pandemic years, with a marked rise in the perceived quality of IT resources.

The survey of 325,000 students across the UK suggests an increased number of students that “rat[e] their access to resources positively, while views of teaching quality still lag behind pre-pandemic levels”.

Among English providers, there had been “some overall improvements in students’ views about the quality of their education”, said the Office for Students, the HE regulator. The regulator observed “significant variation” between courses, with dips in positive ratings for medicine and dentistry, physical sciences, and teaching quality.

Over three-quarters (77%) in England agreed that IT resources had supported learning well, compared to 72% in 2021. Compared to last year, more students said library resources, including online resources and digital deposits, and course-specific content, including facilities, software and collections, had ably supported their learning. Overall satisfaction with learning resources rose from 73% to 81%.

Eighty per cent said their lecturers were easily contactable. But assessment and feedback scores were generally lower than other aspects of the HE experience. Just 66% agreed feedback on their work had been timely.

Universities and colleges have – by and large – worked hard to return to in-person teaching and ensure students have access to the facilities they need for successful study
– Susan Lapworth, Office for Students

Susan Lapworth, interim chief executive of the Office for Students, said: “This year’s graduates bore the brunt of the pandemic, with much of their time at university affected by lockdowns and other restrictions on student life. The NSS has played an important role in capturing students’ views during this extraordinarily difficult time for students and university staff. This year’s results show that there is still more to do if students’ views of the quality of their course are to improve to pre-pandemic levels. This should be an immediate priority for many universities and colleges.

“Universities and colleges have – by and large – worked hard to return to in-person teaching and ensure students have access to the facilities they need for successful study. It is, therefore, welcome to see a marked increase in the proportion of students agreeing that the resources universities and colleges offer are up to scratch. But on this – and every measure – there are substantial differences in students’ views depending on which subject they study.

“Each university and college will now want to reflect on its results to ensure that the quality of courses remains high. The OfS is stepping up its interventions to ensure that students from all backgrounds have a high-quality education and we will draw on NSS outcomes to inform our work.”

Read more: University rankings failing to account for online learning changes

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