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Teaching staff digital experience insights survey 2020/21: UK higher education findings

This year, 3,729 teaching staff from 24 universities and one college delivering higher education took part in our digital experience insights survey. The survey was conducted between October 2020 and July 2021.

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The pandemic has changed the role of teachers.

There is no doubt that the pandemic has had a significant impact on teaching and learning, and this report highlights the experiences of teaching staff during this period. Now is the perfect time to utilise these insights to build a robust future for a digitally capable sector.

Key findings:

  • Two-thirds of teachers were offered support with online teaching during the pandemic; however, 73% said this added significant new stress to their workload, leading to anxiety and exhaustion.
  • 76% of staff felt that online teaching changed their role as a teacher by having to consider the delivery of the class and technical challenges their students may face. Furthermore, 44% of respondents received guidance about the digital skills needed in their role, with only 15% receiving an assessment of these needs.
  • Online teaching caused technical challenges for 82% of staff, with many experiencing problems on several occasions. Not all respondents could access the online systems and services required, and over half had wi-fi issues.
  • Over half of the teaching staff felt they were not given enough time to explore new digital tools and 67% felt they were not rewarded or recognised for the digital skills they’ve had to develop.
  • 59% of respondents felt their teaching environment was safe and secure. These responses were less optimistic than desired. High numbers of teaching staff gave ambivalent responses or disagreed, indicating room for improvement.
  • Overall, teaching staff are pleased with online learning quality, with 84% rating it as ‘best imaginable’, ‘excellent’ or ‘good’.

Although there have been evident struggles for teaching staff, some key recommendations in the report will enhance the education sector if implemented.

Download the full report (pdf)

About the authors

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Clare Killen
Senior consultant, Jisc
I work primarily with digital experience insights service and Jisc online surveys. We focus on supporting members and customers by providing data analytics and services which enrich the student experience and provide powerful business intelligence and analysis to providers from further and higher education.
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Mark Langer-Crame
Senior data intelligence analyst (team lead), Jisc
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Emma Jones
Senior consultant - business intelligence