We had a great meeting with some student representatives last week over coke and pizza to get their feedback on the draft of a new IT Strategy, and I thought I’d share some of their feedback. We covered a lot of ground so I’ve picked out some key areas – if I haven’t mentioned something below, don’t worry – I haven’t forgotten!
We discussed the role of mobile devices – iPads and Android tablet computers and how these might be used by students in the future. Everybody seemed to agree these were great for accessing and checking information and services off Campus or on the move, and that their use would grow. There was some caution that we should not “force” the use of tablets but take advantage of them as they become more widespread in the student population.
Wireless printing was in high demand – we are working on that and plan to make that available from this Summer – students will be able to print from their laptops and mobile devices. They asked if we could also make it easier for them to use the University photocopier fleet for scanning – we’ll look at that. There was also a strong request to expand the wireless coverage across the Campus – that’s on the forward plan.
Students are frustrated at some people “hogging” University workstations for lengthy periods – one idea we discussed is to provide some workstations as “hot desks” with a time limit of 15 minutes – perhaps standing room only to discourage anything longer.
Students get too many e-mails from the University – this has been raised elsewhere and we are looking at how to cut this down. IT Services are using Twitter wherever possible – we’ve had good feedback on this. We will also look at the new Student Portal as a better way to push out important messages.
Some people felt that our “web blocking” was too restrictive – they recognise that some controls have to be in place for objectionable material, but our current controls seem to be too restrictive – we’ll look at that.
We talked about how we can do better to communicate with students and help with training on use of our software and services. There was an offer to get students more involved in providing some of this training and help. We’ve done that before and it worked well, so we’ll follow up on that one.
We did acknowledge some frustrations – slow performance and logins in some areas, web browsers out of date, some out of order PC’s and printers to be fixed more quickly. These issues were also raised in some other student feedback sessions recently so we’re on the case.
Finally, it was a good discussion – we all enjoyed it, hope the student reps did as well, and look forward to doing this again.