Education Pulse survey 2020 results

In October 2020 we asked you about your experience of blended learning to find out what went well and what we can build on.

What has worked well

The results show some students are finding online synchronous and asynchronous learning well-structured, engaging, and helpful for learning. 

You said you liked:

  • Bite-sized content, activities, short films, quizzes and polls
  • The ability to ask questions in live sessions
  • In-person teaching, despite the mitigations
  • Human connection, a touch of normality, and getting away from screens
  • Flexibility of online learning and the ability to go back to, pause and replay material

You told us:

  • You value the spontaneity and presence of in-person sessions, even with the Covid-19 mitigations.
  • Building friendships and community is easier in-person.
  • Many courses have a structured learning design which includes specially designed and prepared materials. As a result of these materials, some are finding their learning better than in previous years.

What hasn't worked as well

The main barriers identified were:

  1. not having enough in-person teaching
  2. having too many Covid mitigations for in-person teaching. Students felt that it would be better for their education to have face coverings only rather than both face-coverings and visors.
  3. technology and connectivity can be problematic and there seem to be particular issues with Blackboard Collaborate.

You told us:

  • The move from lots of structured  teaching (lectures, seminars, labs) to  lots of structured online learning was quite a burden for some. The amount of online content each unit has varies a lot. The burden is bigger the more online content you have.
  • On some programmes students have struggled to navigate Blackboard and feel they need help structuring their learning. 
  • Some breakout groups  work well, some less so.
  • You would like more live synchronous sessions and smaller online groups.

Comparison between online and in-person teaching and learning

  • Students say they are learning more from online teaching (82%) compared to in-person teaching (74%).
  • Students say they are more motivated to study in-person (79%) than online (62%).
  • Almost twice as many students feel they can connect with their lecturers in-person (80%)  compared to online (44%).
  • Less than one in five students (19%) say that the online environment helps create a sense of community with peers compared to in-person.
  • Almost two thirds of students (62%) consider in-person teaching a positive experience. Only 42% consider online teaching as positive experience.

Education Pulse Survey 2020 results

Read the Education Pulse Survey results (PDF, 604kB).

Next steps

In the second half of this year will continue with the work already in progress and plan further steps:

  • We have asked programmes to increase on-campus teaching hours in the second teaching block where in-person hours are low. This is subject to any new public health requirements.
  • We have removed the need to wear visors for in-person teaching, in line with the latest scientific guidance. Students are now required to wear face coverings only as the main 1 metre+ mitigation for in-person teaching events.
  • We are advising that asynchronous content is comparable across units. This will help ensure that student workloads are manageable.
  • Staff and students are reminded of the Student Digital Equity policy (PDF, 199kB) which provides support for technology and connectivity problems.
  • The Digital Education Office (DEO) is providing guidance to programmes on clear online layouts for ease and simplicity of navigation.
  • We are sharing best practice with staff through Bristol Institute for Learning and Teaching  (BILT) 'Tales of the Digital' workshops in December.
  • We are running a Digital and Blended Design course for staff incorporating innovations and lessons learned from teaching block 1 in January.
  • BILT and the DEO have developed guidance for breakout groups and we are incorporating tactics for breakout groups in our Digital and Blended Design course.

The short online videos have helped me to pay more attention to the lecture content, I can rewind or go over bits again if I don't understand, and I can do my lectures when they suit me.

Student response

Online discussions are sometimes a bit flat. People don’t have the confidence online to express their ideas.

Student response

The in-person teaching has been by far the most valuable learning experience. It has made me feel closer to the cohort and having face-to-face contact with the teachers is a completely different (and less scripted) way of learning.

Student response

I regain my passion for a subject after something is face to face. I definitely have more of a love for practical sessions because of the varied formats of learning.

Student response

It’s been very isolating not being surrounded by people on my course to learn. Difficult to ask questions when confused. Difficult to know what to do at times.

Student response

The most engaging learning experience for me has been the live seminar sessions on Blackboard and Zoom. It has really helped me to see the power of technology in facilitating easy learning.

Student response

In-person seminars have been most engaging for me, as there it was possible engage in proper discussion, which I feel is essential for my course.

Student response
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