vol IV

On the right track
an analysis of skills and attitudes to technology in Scottish Further Education

JISC Regional Support Centre Scotland North & East 2010

The ETNA Report
This report is the latest in a series published by: the JISC Regional Support Centre Scotland North & East,

Chief Author: Hugh Dailly (RSC Deputy Manager) Series Editor: Sarah Price (RSC Manager) Feedback If you have any feedback to offer on this document, please contact: RSC Manager JISC RSC Scotland North & East

Acknowledgement We are grateful to staff and students in all further education colleges in Scotland for their participation in this ETNA survey. We are grateful also to staff in both JISC Regional Support Centres in Scotland for publicising the survey widely to all colleges, and for their critical commentary on early drafts of this report. Copyright
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution- Noncommercial- No Derivative Works 2.5 UK: Scotland License.


JISC Regional Support Centre Scotland North & East 2010

1 2
2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4


7 9

Background .................................................................................................................................9 The Survey Instrument ..............................................................................................................9 The Sample..................................................................................................................................9 Structure of this Report ...........................................................................................................10

3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7



Introduction ..............................................................................................................................11 Computing Access and Power .................................................................................................11 VLE Use.....................................................................................................................................12 Other Technologies...................................................................................................................13 Application of the Technology.................................................................................................14 The Standard Skills Set............................................................................................................15 Training Delivery......................................................................................................................15

4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7



Introduction ..............................................................................................................................18 Use of the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE)..................................................................19 Other College Technologies ..................................................................................................... 23 Connectivity ..............................................................................................................................27 ICT Skill Set..............................................................................................................................29 Training .....................................................................................................................................34 Attitudes to ICT ........................................................................................................................37

5.1 5.2 5.3



Introduction ..............................................................................................................................39 Key Findings .............................................................................................................................41 Technology Skills ......................................................................................................................42


JISC Regional Support Centre Scotland North & East 2010

5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 5.8

Popular Technology..................................................................................................................44 Web 2.0 Technologies ...............................................................................................................45 Technology and You.................................................................................................................48 Using Technology as Part of the Course .................................................................................49 Attitudes to Technology ...........................................................................................................53

6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4



Introduction ..............................................................................................................................56 Access to Technology................................................................................................................57 Most Used Technologies ...........................................................................................................58 Training Needs and Delivery Preferences ..............................................................................61

7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4



Introduction ..............................................................................................................................65 The Sample................................................................................................................................65 Key Findings .............................................................................................................................66 Detailed Findings ......................................................................................................................67

8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.6 8.7 8.8 8.9 8.10



Introduction ..............................................................................................................................79 The Sample................................................................................................................................79 Gender Age and Breakdown....................................................................................................80 Technical Posts and Activities ................................................................................................. 80 Key Findings .............................................................................................................................81 The College Network ................................................................................................................83 VLEs and Video Conferencing ................................................................................................86 Emerging Areas ........................................................................................................................87 Skillset and Training Needs .....................................................................................................92 Training and Support...............................................................................................................93




The Sample................................................................................................................................96


JISC Regional Support Centre Scotland North & East 2010

9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 9.6 9.7 9.8

Key Findings .............................................................................................................................99 Teaching and Learning Technology...................................................................................... 100 Making Connections............................................................................................................... 104 Technology Connections and Uses ........................................................................................ 106 Management Skills ................................................................................................................. 108 Qualifications and Training................................................................................................... 110 Attitudes to ICT ...................................................................................................................... 112

10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 10.6 10.7 10.8


The Sample.............................................................................................................................. 114 Key Findings ........................................................................................................................... 114 Setting the College e-Learning Agenda ................................................................................ 115 College VLE ............................................................................................................................ 117 Connectivity ............................................................................................................................ 118 Legal Issues ............................................................................................................................. 120 Managing New Technologies & Training Needs.................................................................. 120 Overview of the Application of Technology in Colleges...................................................... 122




ETNA: Executive Summary


JISC Regional Support Centre Scotland North & East 2010


Executive Summary

1.1 Technological Environment
Technology has become embedded in colleges in Scotland; it affects all contexts and roles. The situation has been encouraged, accelerated and facilitated by the Scottish Funding Council’s capital funding initiatives. New and refurbished buildings have grown up alongside virtual learning environments (VLEs), interactive whiteboards and wireless networks, bringing a potential flexibility to teaching and learning and to college business processes which has not yet been fully exploited. Such changes in colleges are mirrored by changes in society more widely, where access to high-speed broadband networks, computing technology and increasingly sophisticated mobile technologies has opened up new, reliable channels of communication and delivery.

1.2 Access to Technologies
In the college context, the vast majority of staff and students report that the technology is sufficient to cope with the demands that they make upon it. Target ratios of staff and students to computers have been almost achieved and the networks which support them have become increasingly robust and, with the introduction of wireless connectivity, flexible.

1.3 Virtual Learning Environments
VLEs are now a central feature of all college networked environments, with high awareness and engagement rates across the survey cohorts and a shared sense (among staff and students) that the systems enhance the quality of teaching and learning. However, awareness is still far higher than actual engagement with the technology and the VLE is often used in a manner which mirrors traditional delivery, without using the attributes of the systems which make them distinct, such as online discussion, assessment and student progress tracking. There is consequently room for innovation and expansion in this area and a need for ongoing staff development. There is also a growing need to monitor quality output and enhancement in relation to the VLE.

1.4 Other Technologies
Interactive whiteboards are a specific technology which is almost ubiquitous across colleges. However, there is an element of resistance against use among some staff and ongoing training is still required. Usage levels of video conferencing (VC) have been almost static since the first ETNA report nearly a decade ago, though the current report of the series points to a recent slight increase in use among senior managers. In the light of the developing sustainability agenda (allied to pervasive and greatly enhanced connectivity), VC is a technology which needs to be reconsidered and embedded more actively in college ICT strategies.

1.5 Training
Staff skills levels, as measured in the survey, are extremely high across the more common software applications, though there is residual demand for training in some areas. As the basics are covered, ongoing training is becoming increasingly targeted, and will probably become yet more specialised. There is an ongoing need to monitor general technological developments, to assess which of these are applicable to the college context, and to deliver appropriate training. Traditional methods of delivery still command the highest satisfaction ratings across all cohorts, perhaps as these represent the best guarantee of safeguarding uninterrupted time for training (lack of time is still seen as the greatest barrier to effective staff


ETNA: Executive Summary

development). There is demand for training to be delivered incrementally to allow staff to integrate and use what they have learned before moving on to more advanced stages of development. This is particularly the case in relation to VLEs and interactive whiteboards. Other specific areas where training is required in the short to medium term are online assessment, mobile technologies, online pedagogy, establishing and maintaining online quality standards and assistive technologies.

1.6 Attitudes to Technology
One of the most positive features of this study concerns attitudes towards the application of technology which are common across the board. The vast majority of staff see the application of ICT not only as essential to keep pace with modern society, but as intrinsically enhancing the teaching and learning process. There are, of course, some reservations and an insistence that technology should never wholly supplant traditional delivery and human interaction. (These reservations were repeatedly voiced both by staff and students). This underlines the particular value of technology if used as part of a carefully developed and communicated teaching and learning strategy. However, with these provisos new technologies are now seen as fully integrated into the processes of the college.

1.7 Wireless Networking , Connectivity and Mobile Technologies
Developments in these areas offer new means of reaching out to students, which have as yet been barely tapped by most colleges. Embracing them more fully will have major implications for teaching and learning and college business processes.

1.8 Technology and the Learner
Learners surveyed are largely very comfortable with the technology they encounter, though a sizeable minority (14%) require additional support in areas such as using the VLE. Overall, learners feel well supported by colleges. Only a small minority feel that too much emphasis is currently placed on technology. However, there is strong feeling among learning resources staff that students may not be equipped to derive the maximum benefit from access to the technology and that information literacy requires more emphasis.

1.9 Online Repositories and e-Portfolios
These areas are currently underdeveloped across much of the sector in Scotland and should be a focus for training.

1.10 The Personalisation Agenda
This developing trend in the way that technologies are used is causing some difficulties for colleges and the trend is likely to increase. The demand from learners for untrammelled access to sites and to be able to connect their own devices – from memory sticks to laptops – to the college network is already generating friction in some places; this is reflected in some of the comments in the student chapter of this report. Acceptable use policies need to be reviewed to take account of ongoing technical developments. The implications of ‘cloud computing’ need to be considered especially carefully in this context.

1.11 Information Demand
Information and communication technologies present a constantly changing landscape where, as one senior manager commented, ‘the status quo is never an option’. There is no doubt among this group that technology will play an increasingly crucial role in college business processes - 80% of senior managers, for example, see the VLE as ‘essential’ to college activities. There is consequently a high demand among managers for reliable information and advice to underpin the development of learning and teaching strategies and the deployment of relevant technologies. 8

JISC Regional Support Centre Scotland North & East 2010



2.1 Background
This is the fourth instance of the ETNA longitudinal study by the JISC Regional Support Centre of staff (and now in the current volume, of students) in further education colleges in Scotland and their attitudes toward ICT. The series began in 2001 and was repeated in 2004 and 2006. The surveys have had a common objective but because of the rapid pace of technological developments within the sector, the technical environment of each has inevitably been unique. In 2001, technology was only just beginning to make any kind of measurable impact on colleges. Previously the preserve of a small number of diehard enthusiasts and ‘early adopters’, technology was poised to enter the mainstream of teaching and learning where it was about to be welcomed by a mix of enthusiasm and suspicion. But a decade of development and investment lay ahead, spurred on by a wave of newbuilds and refurbishments, supported by the Scottish Executive’s college estates programme. By 2004, Virtual Learning Environments were well-established, and interactive whiteboards graced gleaming new walls in gleaming new colleges. College libraries had metamorphosed into Learning Resource Centres. Meanwhile, methodologies for teaching and learning were evolving to take advantage of new methods of communication and delivery. In the home as well as in the educational sphere, powerful computers were becoming ubiquitous and these increasingly were connecting to the internet. By 2006, these trends and the revolution in mobile telecommunications, which put a small but powerful computer in the pocket of every student in the form of a mobile phone, had the potential to alter the educational landscape out of all recognition. This has not happened, of course, and despite Web 2.0, virtual reality and social networking there are still many aspects of teaching and learning which would be familiar to a college lecturer from a previous century. This latest version of the ETNA series is designed to tell the next stage of the story, to take a snapshot of where we are now and to give some sense of how we feel about the place where we’ve arrived. It is also designed to help predict where we may be going next and how we need to gear up for that journey.

2.2 The Survey Instrument
Scottish FE in 2009 is a very different place to the one first surveyed back in 2001. However, the purpose of the ETNA series remains consistent throughout the decade. The objective of each survey has been to measure the level of engagement of staff with ICT across all colleges. Each survey has contained a core of common questions, allowing us to construct an evolving picture of the development of technology, teaching and learning. Supplementing this common core have been further questions which have evolved to reflect emerging technologies and varying perspectives; this evolution continues in the current report. For the first time, this edition adds an extra important cohort to the survey to allow expression of the learner’s voice. Here also we see the incorporation of new areas for enquiry. For example, for the first time we raise the issue of sustainability and how technology can impact upon a college’s carbon footprint, thereby reflecting the greater emphasis on environmental issues that characterises the end of the first decade of the 21st century.

2.3 The Sample
This report analyses data gathered in the early summer of 2009 via a survey which was conducted entirely online (the option to complete a paper version was on offer but for the very first time there was no demand for this opportunity). ETNA was available in several different flavours designed to probe the experiences, attitudes and training needs of six major groupings of college staff. In addition, as


ETNA: Introduction

mentioned above, for the first time we have collected the responses of a significant number of learners to close the circle and give an all-round view of engagement with technology and the impact of that engagement. The total numbers of responses is 3384 and the percentage per cohort is indicated in Table 1.
Academic Total Responses Cohort as % of Total 1275 38 Admin 766 22 Middle Managers 365 11 Senior Managers 72 2 Learning resources 108 3 Technical Staff 120 4 Learners 678 20

Table 1: Total Responses

The voice of practically every college in the country has been collected, from large citybased institutions to small rural establishments. In the introduction to each survey since 2001, we have sounded a warning about a possible inbuilt bias in these results. Despite the fact that access to technology is far wider than it was at the beginning of this series and that the necessary skills are far more commonly held, it is valid to repeat it here: it is likely that individuals who have ready access to technology and those who might work with it as a primary part of their delivery (staff in computing or business departments, for example) will be more heavily represented in these results than those without access or the necessary skills. They may also feel more positive about the technology than the ‘average’ respondent. As a result, the figures in this survey may slightly overstate the positive side of the picture. Staff who are not enamoured of the technology or who do not have a computer for their exclusive use may be less likely to complete the survey and therefore it remains valid to flag the possibility of their underrepresentation.

2.4 Structure of this Report
This ETNA Report is organised on a chapter by chapter basis, evaluating the needs of each of the seven cohorts. Key and detailed findings are included in each section, some of which are highly specific to the demands of respondents. A further section has been added which charts the ‘distance travelled’ in technology usage and awareness within Scottish Further Education over the first decade of the twenty-first century.


JISC Regional Support Centre Scotland North & East 2010


Distance Travelled

3.1 Introduction
This fourth instalment of the nationwide ETNA enquiry allows a valuable opportunity for backward comparison, providing an insight into how far the sector has progressed since the survey began in 2001. A core of common questions has appeared in each of the surveys, though, inevitably, some new elements have been introduced over the years to reflect changes in the technological and social environments. Lecturing staff are closest to the ‘coalface’ in terms of the core business of colleges; this report will continue to look closely at this group as a means of understanding overall evolving attitudes to technology. Trends observed here are, by and large, common to other parts of the survey (excluding the student section which appears in this report for the first time).

3.2 Computing Access and Power
The decade covered by the ETNA series has witnessed the ubiquitous rise of the personal computer to the point where one machine per person is the norm in industry. Though the technology is not quite that common in education, the period has still seen an inexorable increase in the amount of technology available. The trend is depicted in Fig 1 and the data collected indicates that two-thirds of all academic staff now have a PC reserved for their personal use (the figure is much higher for administrative and support personnel). The other interesting trend in this area is in the provision of laptop computers for staff which has developed in tandem with the rise of wireless networks which have in themselves experienced explosive growth in colleges. On 2006, 38% of academic staff reported that they could connect to a wireless network in their college; this has risen to 68% in 2009. 28% of academic staff had been issued with a college laptop for their exclusive use in 2006, compared with 35% in 2009.

Fig 1: Access to computer equipment over the decade

The trend has also been toward computers that are increasingly powerful. Though staff showed some dissatisfaction with the power or speed of their computers in the early years of the ETNA series (which may, in effect, have been due to the ever-more-sophisticated software they were trying to run, or to a sluggish network in the home college), the overall trend has been up. Now in 2010, the vast majority of staff are satisfied that the computing power available to them is equal to the demands they make upon it. See Fig 2.


ETNA: Distance Travelled

Fig 2: Satisfaction levels about computing power available

3.3 VLE Use
The most innovative technological development in the college delivery department across the first decade of the twenty-first century was undoubtedly the Virtual Learning Environment or VLE. In 2001 the VLE was just beginning to register on the radar of the average member of college staff, but only a tiny minority of enthusiasts had engaged with the technology. The situation has changed markedly as we reach the end of the decade. While VLE use is still far from universal, and only a minority of academic staff indicate that the technology is ‘essential’ to carrying out their roles, the influence of VLE technology has spread widely through college practice. The trend in VLE use is illustrated in Fig 3.

Fig 3: VLE usage over the decade


JISC Regional Support Centre Scotland North & East 2010

In tandem with the increased use of VLEs has been a programme to train staff to operate them and to create materials to populate them. As Fig 4 illustrates, the push to give staff the necessary skills in this area was at its greatest between 2003 and 2006. The rate of increase has slowed somewhat since 2006, but the trend is still upwards.

Fig 4: Have you created VLE materials? These upward trends have taken place against a turbulent background in the industry of rationalisation among the larger commercial VLE providers. Among these Goliaths, the now powerful and popular open source platform, Moodle, has made significant headway. This trend has in turn led to a degree of ‘churning’ of platforms within colleges and often to the situation where more than one platform is employed in parallel within the same institution.

3.4 Other Technologies
3.4.1 Interactive Whiteboards At the time of the initial survey, interactive whiteboard technology was a relative rarity in colleges and therefore no related question was included. However, the landscape had begun to alter by 2003 when 12% of the sample had experience of interactive whiteboards, rising to 26% in 2006 and then to 53% making some use of the technology in the latest survey. 94% of respondents now report that their college has installed the technology; a trend, along with the proliferation of wireless networks, which has been accelerated by the new build and refurbishment of college estates that has marked the last decade. 3.4.2 Video Conferencing

The trend in the use of studio-based video conferencing has been inexorably downward since 2001, but the returns this time show a slight upturn. The overall trend is illustrated in Fig 5.


ETNA: Distance Travelled

Fig 5: Use of video conferencing over the decade

While the upward trend is so small as to be of little significance, it may indicate that environmental pressures are making staff more conscious of the possibilities of the technology to reduce travel and consumption. (The trend is even more marked among senior staff who appear to be making more use of VC to attend meetings remotely.) Against the more feeble use of official VC suite technology, the current study sees significant increases in the use of user-controlled, desktop VC or IP technology, such as Skype. The use of this technology is building in colleges, but is even more widely used in the home.

3.5 Application of the Technology
The ETNA series has been consistently interested in the most common technologies used by individuals in colleges, and the specific uses to which they have been put. This area has been looked at in great detail. In this consideration of distance travelled, it is useful to look at the overall broad usage categories and how these have altered over the decade. We have extracted three broad categories of activity pertinent to academic staff and measured how technology has been used in relation to each. The picture is shown at Fig 6.


JISC Regional Support Centre Scotland North & East 2010

Fig 6: Trends in use of technology

It is still the case that technology remains most commonly used for administration (even among lecturers) than for actual delivery of classes or learning materials. Using technology for assessment is still on the increase, becoming a majority element for the first time in the current survey.

3.6 The Standard Skills Set
Table 1 looks at the standard set of application skills which staff have been steadily acquiring across the decade. Many of these now appear to be fully developed, while some others (such as the creation of databases or web pages) seem to be skills which are only necessary to a minority of staff in specific roles.

I can…… Use email Use a word processor Search the web for information Attach a file to an email message Create tables in a word processor Insert images into documents Use PowerPoint Use a spreadsheet Insert hyperlinks in documents Use functions in a spreadsheet Create databases Use electronic discussion lists Create a web page Use an interactive whiteboard

2001 90 94 86 83 81 60 63 0 54 44 30 20 -

2003 98 96 96 91 86 79 76 71 50 65 50 41 26 12

2006 99 98 98 96 91 90 89 76 74 64 54 48 36 36

2009 100 98 99 98 91 91 91 73 78 63 50 48 35 53

Table 1: Staff application skills over the decade

3.7 Training Delivery
As well as probing skills levels and attitudes, the ETNA series has been interested in assessing staff preferences about any training felt to be needed to plug any skills gaps. The trend in responses across all four instances of the survey throughout the decade can be seen in Fig 7.


ETNA: Distance Travelled

Fig 7: Training preferences

The trend toward traditional face-to-face delivery has only gained in strength over the years while blended delivery has actually declined a little in popularity since 2006. As we pointed out at the same point in the last survey (2006), it is clear that more staff have been exposed personally to online learning over recent years and, therefore, it might have been supposed that they would exhibit a higher regard for the value of training delivered in this form – compared to other staff development methods. The trend would seem to suggest otherwise (and this is mirrored in each set of staff surveys). However, the comments which accompany these preferences make clear that staff feel that face-to-face methods are more likely to preserve precious development time. There is a perception that training received online, on the other hand, is not ring-fenced and time devoted may be easily eroded through other demands.


JISC Regional Support Centre Scotland North & East 2010


ETNA: Academics


Academic Staff

4.1 Introduction
4.1.1 The Sample Academic staff represent the largest element in the staffing complement of Scotland’s FE colleges and therefore it is no surprise that they comprise the largest single element in the ETNA survey. 1276 responses were received across all colleges, comprising roughly 10.29% of all teaching staff employed within the sector. Two thirds of respondents in this category were full-time staff and 82% of the total defined themselves as ‘lecturers’. 4.1.2 Gender and Age Distribution

The demographic pattern of the academic sample and its gender breakdown mirrors the distribution of staff across the colleges recorded in national figures. Females greatly outnumber males as shown in Fig 1. The demographic pattern is heavily skewed towards the higher end of the age range: 61% of the sample is over the age of 40.
no response 21% male 31%
60 or over, 5% no response, 22%

female 48%

20 - 29, 3%

50 - 59, 29%

30 - 39, 14% 40 - 49, 27%

Fig 1: Gender and Age Distribution


Access to Computer Equipment

Before venturing into the survey proper, we tried to establish an identikit picture of the computer equipment available to the average member of academic staff and their perception of the access to computers available to students in colleges. As can be seen in Table 1, two thirds of all staff have access to a computer for their sole use, while a third have been issued with a laptop by their college. Four out of five staff are satisfied that the technology they have access to is powerful enough for their work requirements. Similarly, just over 80% of the sample feels that their students also have access to sufficient technology to satisfy their requirements.


JISC Regional Support Centre Scotland North & East 2010

Access to Computer Equipment (%) I have my own computer at work I share a computer at work The work computer I regularly use is powerful enough to meet my needs My college has issued me with a laptop for use at work only My college has issued me with a laptop that I can use at home if I wish My college has issued me with a blackberry/mobile device to receive email Our students generally have access to appropriate computing equipment

Yes 66 44 80 6 38 2 85

No 28 56 20 94 62 98 15

Table 1: Access to computer equipment (N=1275)

4.2 Use of the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE)
4.2.1 The College VLE This section seeks to establish the recognition factor for VLEs across a sector which has now seen almost a decade of work and accompanying large investment in this technology. This area has shown a continual advance during the almost 10-year history of the ETNA surveys and is also evident here. While in 2006, 5% of respondents reported that their college did not have a VLE and 10% claimed not to know whether they did, only a tiny minority of staff are now unaware of the existence of their college’s VLE (Fig 2). This technology appears now to have entered the mainstream of college delivery.
no 2% don't know 4%

yes 94%
Fig 2: Does your college has a VLE? (N=1666)

However, there is evidence that VLE usage is in a state of flux as colleges continue to experiment with alternative platforms or even have a number of platforms in use simultaneously. 4.2.2 VLE(s) in Use

While nearly 1300 staff responded overall, the set of questions relating to VLEs and their use saw a drop in response level in the current survey which is difficult to explain. Though 1166 respondents were happy to confirm that their college had a VLE, the number dropped by a third to 807 when the questions became more specific about VLE usage. This might be taken as indication of a lack of engagement with this particular technology.


ETNA: Academics

However this is interpreted, it is clear that trends observable in the last survey have firmed up considerably to the point where the VLE market in Scottish Further Education is dominated by two major players to the exclusion of practically all others. Both Blackboard and Moodle have increased their share in the sector while other products which previously had a significant share have dropped in popularity – this is principally evident in the case of Virtual Campus and WebCT (which was bought out by BlackBoard), and to some extent has been brought about by rationalisation within the industry itself. The decision by the UHI not to continue with the development of the CLAN system has implications here.

Moodle Primary VLE(s) Secondary VLE(s) 27 9

Blackboard 54 9

WebCT 1 3

Virtual Campus 10 2

Sharepoint 2 4

Other 4 3

N= 789 233

Table 2: Which VLE in your college? (%; N=807)

If respondents had identified their college’s VLE as ‘Other’, they were invited to provide supplementary information. This delivered 51 valid returns which provide further evidence of both the trend towards greater consolidation of platforms (particularly towards Moodle) and of a continuing diversity of provision and development which is often based in-house. Details are shown in Table 3 below.

Other VLEs in Use or Development In-House/Custom Development Miscellaneous Platforms Moving to Moodle Don't Know First Class In Development Moving to Dokeos Total Table 3: Other VLEs in use (N=51) 15 12 11 5 4 3 1 51


Using the VLE in Teaching and Learning

Here we seek to measure the engagement of respondents with the VLEs deployed. Roughly two thirds of all respondents chose to answer this question. More than nine out of ten respondents claim to have used the VLE at some point, while 63% make regular use of it. A significant proportion, nearly half, state that the VLE has now become ‘essential’ to their work. Once again this represents considerable progress on the figures available from the last ETNA report (2006) where only 44% of respondents reported that they had used the VLE as part of their work.


JISC Regional Support Centre Scotland North & East 2010

I have used the VLE



I use the VLE regularly



The VLE is essential to my work



I don’t know what a 4% VLE is
0% 20% 40%






Fig 3: Use of the VLE for teaching and learning (Yes / No; N=849)

A cautious conclusion that seems to be emerging is that we see here evidence for a shift in working practices to the point where the VLE is becoming a regular feature of the pattern of delivery in colleges. This tentative view is reinforced by responses to the next topic which asked respondents to quantify the percentage of their teaching which involves some use of the VLE. For the large proportion of those who responded, the VLE is still very much a tool which is intermittently used (43% use the technology for less than 10% of their delivery while only 6% employ it for more than 80%). The figures mask large disparities between subjects where the technology may find ready application and other more vocational subjects where use of the VLE will be necessarily restricted. Detailed responses are shown at Table 4.

Please estimate the % of your teaching which involves the VLE less than 10% 11-20% 21-40% 41-60% 61-80% more than 80% Table 4: Percentage of teaching involving the VLE (N=829)

% 43 23 15 8 5 6

A further question probed respondents’ use of the facilities offered by the VLE. The results are displayed at Fig 4. The two most popular functions used were for the delivery of learning materials to students, and for the reinforcement of traditional approaches through providing supplementary material. Other uses fall well behind these two with both online assessment and the tracking of student progress, which is fundamentally related to it in this context, being employed by under a third of respondents. This suggests that VLE functionality may be underexploited at present in terms of the way its tracking capabilities can ‘add value’ to teaching and learning. The supplementary question at the end of this section yielded 57 responses. A third of these indicated that staff were using the VLE for their own development as part of college CPD (continuing professional development) programmes.


ETNA: Academics

to deliver learning materials to supplement with addl materials to post info & announcements to store files to deliver assessments one to one communication discussion groups to track student progress

81% 81% 60% 56% 36% 30% 38% 31%
20% 40%

19% 19% 40% 44% 64% 70% 62% 69%
60% 80% 100%

Fig 4: VLE functions used (Yes / No; N=813)


VLE Training and Materials Authoring

This section examines the level of VLE training that staff have experienced both in the operational aspects of technology and in authoring materials to run on the platform. The figure of 82% which was returned here, once again represents an improvement on the 62% of respondents who had received training at the time of the last survey in 2006. Since that time, the numbers of those who have been trained in authoring increase similarly from 38% to 51%. Despite these increases there is only a slight (2%) increase in staff reporting that they have created materials for the VLE.

created materials for the VLE



received training to author



received training to use the VLE









Fig 5: Training received on VLE usage (Yes / No; N=845)


Attitudes to the VLE

The final question in this section widens the scope of the enquiry to examine more generally staff attitudes to VLE implementation and their views on how its introduction has affected the process of teaching and learning. The returns indicate a strong feeling that the impact of the VLE has been positive on both teaching and learning as can be seen from Fig 6. It should be noted, however, that though the majority of staff feel that students are


JISC Regional Support Centre Scotland North & East 2010

comfortable with and enjoy using the VLE there is a significant minority of around 30% who have misgivings on both counts.

I'm comfortable about using the VLE



my students enjoy using the VLE the VLE enhances the quality of the learning process the VLE enhances the quality of my teaching
0% 10% 20%















Fig 6: Attitudes to the VLE (Yes / No; N=806)

This topic contained room for any further comment where respondents were invited to elaborate on their views about the VLE. Nearly 200 comments were received which prove to be revealing. To allow for analysis the comments were coded under a series of headings which attempted to reflect the main element of each comment. A short analysis appears in Table 5.

(Supplementary) Further Comments on your use of the VLE VLE Unsuited to the Student Experience Technical Problems Experienced VLE Still Under development Training Required Time Required Miscellaneous Not Applicable Table 5: Further comments on the VLE (N=198)

% 25 18 17 13 12 11 4

Perhaps surprisingly, given the positive nature of responses so far, the majority of the supplementary comments are negative on the impact of VLEs and their usage, or at least contain negative elements. The main concerns of respondents centres round a lack of training – particularly ongoing training in the use of systems and their development, and a lack of time to take part in this or to produce effective materials. There was also a high level of flux in the system; 33 respondents report that their college VLE is in the midst of change, upgrade or replacement. However, perhaps the most surprising set of comments here centre on the fact that the VLE may not be appropriate for many of students and for the learning styles typically found in FE. VLEs are welcomed as reinforcement to traditional delivery, but are felt to be inferior to face-to-face communication methods.

4.3 Other College Technologies
The next set of questions in the academic staff survey examined the use made of a number of technologies which can be employed to supplement traditional delivery. 23

ETNA: Academics


Supplementing Traditional Delivery

Email emerges as by far the commonest tool used by staff in this context, with all other tools lagging far behind and none cited by more than 20% of the sample. However, it is interesting that some of the Web 2.0 tools which have more fully emerged in the last few years are now being employed in teaching and learning.
VOIP (eg Skype) 4% Social Networking (eg Facebook) 13% 96% 87% 90% 85% 82% 80% 79%
0% 20% 40% 60% 80%

VC 10% Fils sharing networks (eg Flickr) Blogs SMS Email 15% 18% 20%

100% 120%

Fig 7: Other internet/electronic teaching tools (Used / Not Used; N=1120)


Interactive Whiteboards

One technology which has become ever more prevalent in the years since the first ETNA survey (ETNA 2001) has been the interactive whiteboard, a focus of significant investment in the sector, especially in colleges if a new-build project has been completed. This is reflected in the fact that 94% of the sample report that their college has installed interactive whiteboards. However, only two thirds of the sample claim to have received any training in how to use the technology. A yet lower proportion, 53%, has used a board for teaching and learning. Detailed responses are shown at Fig 8. A similar question was used in the 2006 survey; significant distance has been travelled if we compare the response gathered then. In 2006, some 77% of respondents reported that interactive whiteboards were installed in their colleges, 40% had received training, while only 26% had actually used one. Respondents were invited to assess the effect of this technology on learning and teaching. Responses here mirrored those received in the context of the VLE: a high majority of individuals felt using the boards enhanced both teaching and learning and were comfortable with using the technology.


JISC Regional Support Centre Scotland North & East 2010

Do you have access to classroom with IWB? Have you used IWB in your teaching?





Have your received training in IWBs?



Are IWBs installed?










Fig 8: Use of interactive whiteboards (Yes / No; N=1154)

27% of respondents state that they do not feel comfortable using interactive whiteboards. A supplementary response was invited to give further details here. All 141 supplementary responses received were tagged and then analysed, as shown in Table 6.

Reasons for feeling uncomfortable using interactive whiteboards Ongoing Training Required Insufficient Access to Rooms where Boards Installed Miscellaneous reservations Technical Problems Using Non-Interactively Table 6: Reasons for feeling uncomfortable using IWBs (%, N=141)

% 43 21 14 13 9

The responses here indicate that many staff have not properly adjusted to the arrival of interactive whiteboards and are not making maximum use of them. There seem to be two major reasons for this. 60 staff cited lack of training as a barrier to increased use of the technology. Many of the comments mentioned that initial training had been given but unless this was followed by repeated use and therefore regular access to a room with this facility, then the ability to use the technology was lost. Secondly, there are problems reported with the technical support of the boards. It is clear from a number of comments that, in many cases, the boards are being used as a static rather than a dynamic resource, often just being used as a projection screen or as a high-tech whiteboard. The ETNA survey did not investigate the type of training that has been offered on IWBs; it is possible that it has been mainly on the technical aspects of the equipment, ignoring the more imaginative and pedagogical applications of the technology. If so, this may explain the above figures which seem to indicate relatively high use, but low perceptions of effectiveness or impact. 4.3.3 Video Conferencing

Video conferencing, its establishment and use have been a common feature of all the ETNA surveys completed to date. Yet, despite advances in technology which bring the ability to use video conferencing to the desktop and remove the need for complex, expensive conferencing suites, and also despite the growing environmental pressures which make this technology a more sustainable option, use of the technology seems at best static. Though the majority of respondents have access to video conferencing in some form or other (see Fig 9), the use of the technology has increased only marginally since 2006. At 25

ETNA: Academics

that time only 2% of respondents described themselves as ‘regular users’, a figure which has risen this time to 4%. Meanwhile 84% of the 2009 sample claim never to use VC technology, compared with 87% in 2006. (Fig 10)

does your college support desktop VC?



does your college support VC access via a VC suite?














Fig 9: Access to VC technology (Yes / No; N=978)

occasionally regularly 12% 4%

never 84%
Fig 10: VC frequency of usage (N=1127)

Those respondents who use video conferencing were asked to give some details of the purposes for which they use it. 167 responses were received. It is clear that many of these individuals are employed within Academic Partners of the UHI. Although there were some staff who use the technology for a mix of reasons, including meeting, teaching, tutorials and conferences, the major reason cited is to take part in meetings, followed some way behind by teaching, which was cited by just under a quarter of respondents.

Use of Video Conferencing Meetings Teaching Variety of Reasons n/a Table 7: Use of VC (N=164)

% 48 24 17 11


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One area of major expansion in the national context has been online assessment. This is due to a variety of reasons, notably that extended support has been available from the JISC Regional Support Centres and due to initiatives like SOLAR from the Scottish Qualifications Authority. We examine here how widely e-assessment is used across the sector.
Use of Online Assessment I have used formative online assessment I have used summative online assessment I have created online assessments I have used e-Portfolios for assessment My department uses online assessment Never 56 69 67 88 50 Occasionally 26 18 21 7 30 Regularly 10 6 7 3 12 Frequently 8 7 5 2 8

Table 8: Use of online assessment (%; N=1116)

Table 8 makes clear that 49% of respondents indicate that their departments make some use of online assessment. This shows an advance on the use of formative assessment, 35%, and summative assessment, 26%, in 2006. Despite this improvement, e-assessment is clearly one area where considerable support and staff development continues to be required, particularly in the growing related area of e-Portfolios.

4.4 Connectivity
Connectivity has grown exponentially within society as a whole since the first ETNA survey in 2001 and is a useful focus for how the computing power available has shifted locus from the institution to the home in the intervening years. So, for example, four times more use is made of internet telephony, such as Skype, in the home than at work. 4.4.1 Internet Telephony

Awareness of internet telephony is relatively high with nearly two thirds of the sample aware of technologies such as Skype. Only a tiny percentage of respondents make any use of the technology at work though almost a quarter of all respondents use it at home. This serves to illustrate a point already made elsewhere in the survey which is that in comparison with the first such exercise in 2001 where computing power was, to a high degree, centralised within institutions, access to the technology is now ubiquitous; the power available to users at home or even on the move is often at least the equal of the speed of technology available to them at work.

Do you use internet telephony such as Skype? I have heard of it I can access this technology at work I use it at work I use it at home

Skype (%) 69 9 3 27

Table 9: Use and awareness of internet telephony (N=1122)


ETNA: Academics


Work & Home Computing Access

Responses on this topic serve to amplify the observation above and to illustrate once again that the connectivity boundaries between the individual and the institution are becoming ever more blurred. The advent of wireless networks and remote connectivity to college networks means that, for the majority of the sample, it is technically as easy to work from home as it is to work on campus. Indeed 87.5% of respondents indicate that they already do college-related work at home (a slight increase from 86% in 2006). Practically all respondents have access to a computer at home and the high majority of these have access to a broadband connection (compared to just over 75% in 2006). Meanwhile, if we examine the connectivity context within the boundaries of college estates, then clearly there has been enormous growth in the provision of wireless networks. In 2006, 38% of respondents reported that they could link to a wireless network within their college – a figure which has now more than doubled to 67.5%.
Work & Home Computing Access I can access a wireless network within my college I can access the VLE when I'm not on campus I can access my work email when I'm not on campus I use a computer at home I have a broadband connection at home My home computer has internet access I regularly do college-related work at home Yes 68 73 94 98 94 96 88 No 32 27 6 2 6 4 12

Table 10: Work and home computing access (%, N=1131)


Uses of Technology

This area of the ETNA survey sets out to look at the most basic uses of technology in an educational context. It represents a straight repeat of a sequence of questions which have appeared in similar form throughout the decade-long ETNA series. The results can be viewed in Table 11. Practically all respondents (97%) now use the technology to find information or resources, a figure which has stayed remarkably constant over the years. However, if there has been little change at the top of the table, there have been steady increases across all other areas, averaging an advance of between 6 and 8 per cent. 70% now use the technology to improve accessibility and e-inclusion, as opposed to 62% in 2006; 80% use it to teach students as opposed to 73% in 2006. The overall picture then is one of maturing use of technology, which is embedded ever more fully across the range of routine activities undertaken by academic staff.
I can use technology for the following purposes To find information or resources To communicate with colleagues Administration To make information available To teach students To communicate with students To improve accessibility for students To assess students Yes 99 95 91 88 80 79 70 52 Table 11: Uses of technology (N=1130) No 0 1 4 4 8 10 11 29 Partly 1 4 5 6 9 9 12 11 I’d Like Training 2 2 2 5 5 4 9 11


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Using Technology to Communicate with Students

The next question probes in more detail how technology is being used to communicate with students, which channels are being employed, and to what extent. This is shown in Fig 11. Not surprisingly, email is the primary communication tool. It may be more surprising to note the extent of that use, which at 45% is close to entering the mainstream as majority behaviour for academic staff. Other technologies lag far behind; including text messaging at 9%, while blogging has yet to make any significant impact at 3%.
3% course blog 85% 12%




















Fig 11: Technology for communicating with students (Never / Occasionally / Regularly; N=1128)

4.5 ICT Skill Set
4.5.1 Skills with Basic Application Software Table 12 shows a question sequence which has survived almost intact from the first ETNA survey (2001), only changing at the margins as new technologies have arrived on the educational radar. As can be seen from the figures displayed, many of the basic skills now appear to be fully embedded in this staff group, even making allowances for any inherent sample bias as indicated at the start of this report.

I can…tick all that apply use email search the web for information use basic file handling techniques use a word processor attach a file to an email message use PowerPoint create tables using a word processor insert images into documents insert charts into documents use extended features of email packages insert hyperlinks in documents use a spreadsheet use a database

Yes 99 98 98 98 98 91 91 91 84 80 78 73 63

No 0 1 1 1 1 3 5 4 8 10 12 12 23

Partly 1 1 1 1 1 6 4 5 6 10 10 15 14

I’d Like Training 0.5 0.8 1 1 1 3 4 3 5 6 7 8 11


ETNA: Academics

write functions in a spreadsheet create databases use mind mapping to plan projects use electronic discussion lists create a web page use authoring tools (eg Course Genie, Reload) use project management software

63 50 47 47 35 27 25

16 26 31 39 43 46 51

15 14 12 7 9 12 11

11 15 15 12 21 25 19

Table 12: ICT skill sets of academic staff (N=1056)

Responses fall away to lower percentiles in areas which might not be part of the normal role of staff or where tools have been mentioned to which they are not exposed in their work environments. However, even in areas such as project management and the use of authoring tools, there is evidence of steady progress and the acquisition of increased skills. Both of these areas are up some 5% since the last (2006) survey. Staff were asked in a supplementary question to identify areas of ICT in which they require development. 127 responses were received. These were highly varied and often were clearly based on a specialised need such as CAD training. There were, however, fairly high returns registered for VLE authoring training and further training in different aspects of multimedia. The full list is shown at Table 13.
Type of Training Authoring MultiMedia Miscellaneous Basics Web 2.0 Smartboards Web Skills CAD Assessment Podcasts Programming PowerPoint Accessibility Training Requests 23 23 20 13 9 7 7 6 5 5 4 3 2

Table 13: Identified training need (N=127)


Legal Issues Associated with Information Technology

This section examines the level of knowledge which exists on key legal issues related to information technology. Only a minority of respondents claim to have no knowledge of the five key issues flagged up, with the lowest rate recorded for Data Protection (at 4.3%). Full results in Table 14. The areas of highest demand for staff development were related to accessibility, specifically the DDA/SENDA legislation and the Equalities Act. As elsewhere in this survey, slight improvements on the corresponding figures for ETNA 2006 are recorded. A supplementary question on other legal concerns produces no significant responses.


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I understand legal issues associated with IT (%) DDA/SENDA (Special Ed Needs and Disability Act 2001) Equalities Duty (Equalities Act 2006) Data Protection Freedom of Information Copyright & Intellectual Property Rights

Yes 53 57 79 69 70

No 20 17 4 8 6

Partly 23 22 15 21 21

I’d like training 12 10 7 8 10

Table 14: Understanding of legal issues (N=1051)


Awareness of ICT Strategies

Deployment of ICT in colleges and staff engagement with it is driven in most cases by the colleges’ ICT strategies, which are in turn influenced by the Scottish Funding Council’s strategic objectives. As in earlier years, there is a high level of staff awareness that the college strategy exists, though far less awareness of the details of it. Awareness of the SFC strategy is even further back at 21% (one percent lower than the response in 2006).
does your college have an ICT strategy? 95% 5%

are you familiar with it?



are you aware of SFC's strategic objectives?













Fig 12: Awareness of ICT strategies (Yes / No)


Use of ICT to Deliver Learning

This section of the survey sets out to measure overall understandings of the role of online learning and its application among academic staff. Awareness appears to be very high, especially in the context of combining electronic and traditional delivery methods (which has come to be termed the ‘blended’ approach to online learning). However, this might be seen as quite a surprisingly high number given that responses to a later question indicate that only around a third of the cohort have participated as a tutor on an online course, while fewer than two thirds have taken part as a learner.
Use of ICT to deliver learning I understand how online learning can be combined with traditional delivery I understand how online learning can be used to deliver the curriculum I understand how learners can be supported online I understand how learning performance can be improved online Table 15: Using ICT to deliver learning (N=1042) Yes 94 90 89 80 No 6 10 11 20


ETNA: Academics


Training of Greatest Benefit

We next consider the type of training which respondents feel would be most advantageous. The most popular choices here reflect the stage of development that the sector is currently passing through: the technical infrastructure is for the most part in place and progressively embedded in current delivery and plans for the future. It can be no surprise then that the main demand is for materials to run within the new delivery systems and there is an underlying desire to keep this process in the control of the practitioner, which explains why training in various aspects of design for e-learning appears as the most popular elements in Table 16, as indeed it did in 2006. The table also makes clear a strong and ongoing demand for support with e-assessment; this is the second most popular choice for training.
Which elements of e-learning training would be of benefit to you? designing and developing new online learning materials designing online assessments designing for flexible/blended delivery online tutoring and mentoring making online materials accessible ensuring quality in online learning materials evaluating online learning materials locating third-party online learning materials (eg NLN) understanding the theory, practice and pedagogy of online learning introduction to Assistive Technologies within the online environment making the most of built-in accessibility options Other (please specify) Table 16: Elements of e-learning training felt to be of benefit (N=958) Response (%) 78 65 64 62 60 58 53 52 52 48 45 3

The fact that only just over half of respondents select training in the theoretical aspects of online learning mirrors the responses in the last survey, and may suggest that many respondents feel themselves to be beyond this stage in their professional development. The supplementary question which closed this set invited respondents to suggest other areas in which training may be of benefit, but no consensus emerged in these responses. 4.5.6 Current ICT Qualifications

Just over a third of academic respondents answered this question and results are displayed at Table 17. As has been true since the beginning of the ETNA surveys, the European Computer Driving License (ECDL) in both its basic and advanced forms is by far the most common of qualifications held, with PC Passport falling some way behind. As has been pointed out in the past, ECDL is primarily an ICT qualification and is less useful in terms of conveying how technology works with the pedagogy of teaching and learning.
Qualification ECDL Advanced ECDL PC Passport Working Towards (%) 35 42 57 Table 17: ICT qualifications held Completed (%) 65 58 43 N= 448 124 54

Once again, a supplementary question invited respondents with other formal qualifications to provide details. Over 130 responses were received here (see Table 18), reflecting the fact that a high proportion of the overall cohort have a degree or other higher level


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qualification underpinning their appointment to teaching posts in curricular areas such as computing and business. There is little that can really be drawn from these figures other than the fact that there are some new qualifications making ground since the last ETNA report, notably EPICT in its various forms. The other significant trend is towards the holding of a formal qualification in online learning.
Other qualification held Degree Miscellaneous MOS/IC3 Vendor Online Learning Qualification Higher National EPICT Experience National Certificate Basic College In-House Post Graduate Baseline Part Degree N 24 19 14 13 13 10 8 7 6 6 4 3 3 2

Table 18: Other formal qualifications (N = 132)

The next question in this set examines any demand for advanced ICT skills training. Around two thirds of the sample chose to respond to this question. Training in multimedia and the creation and manipulation of multimedia assets prove most popular (Table 19).

Which advanced ICT skills training would be of most benefit to you? creating flash movies and animations creating and manipulating digital images creating and manipulating moving images (video) creating and manipulating digital sound files Other (please specify) Table 19: Advanced ICT training felt to be of use (n=751)

% 63 63 61 48 8

In the years which have elapsed since the 2006 ETNA survey, an area which has received a great deal of publicity has been Web 2.0. Here a great deal of anecdotal evidence exists for the adoption of Web 2.0 or social networking technologies in the intervening years up to the present. A question in this area appeared in the earlier survey and the corresponding question this time indicates large advances in awareness of tools like wikis. For example, 22.5% of respondents are unaware of wikis in the current survey, compared with 57% just three years earlier. In fact, a significant minority of staff are already employing these technologies in their teaching as can be seen in Table 20.


ETNA: Academics

Please indicate your awareness of emerging technologies for teaching and learning (%)
Unaware Aware Already Using I’d like info I’d like training

Blogs Wikis Podcasting Videocasting Animation Mobile Technologies e-Portfolios Virtual Worlds (eg Second Life) Micro-blogging (eg Twitter) Serious Gaming

8 22 14 21 20 23 27 40 32 47

69 53 66 62 59 56 53 45 54 42

14 14 6 3 6 7 6 2 3 3

11 11 12 12 11 12 14 12 12 9

24 22 25 22 24 20 24 15 15 9

Table 20: The use of new technologies in teaching (n=1033)

Of the technologies listed, only virtual worlds and serious gaming failed to be recognised by a majority of respondents. However, it would appear that the bulk of these technologies find very little utilisation in colleges to date. The highest demand for training is for podcasts and e-portfolios. A follow-on question asked for any other areas of emerging technologies where training might be required. 18 diverse replies were received under this heading from which no clear trend could be discerned.

4.6 Training
The next section of the survey closely examines all aspects of training, the respondents’ experience of it, preferred methods of delivery, and factors which shape its uptake. 4.6.1 Participation in Online Study

As can be seen from Fig 14, the returns here fall out rather neatly in that almost two thirds of the sample have taken part in an online learning course themselves as a learner, while just over a third have acted as a tutor. These figures represent significant advances on 2006 where the corresponding totals were 46% and 28% respectively. However, a glance back to 2001 gives the strongest indication of distance travelled by the sector. In that year the respective figures were only 23% and 10%.
I have taken part in an online course as a tutor



I have taken part in an online course as a learner



Fig 14: Participation in online courses as tutor or student (Yes / No, N=1029)


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ICT Training Over the Last Session

Given the central role which technology now plays in college delivery and the major investment which has flowed into creating the infrastructure to implement this delivery, it might be assumed that technology training would play some part in the staff development of the majority of staff across the session when the survey was carried out. However, among academic staff 45% claim to have received no ICT training in session 2008-9.

No 45% Yes 55%

Fig 15: ICT training over last session (N=1029)

A supplementary question here asked respondents to describe any ICT training experiences which had been found to be particularly effective. 341 comments were received which cite 362 separate elements of effective training received over the session. These comments reflect some of the current key technology concerns of staff in colleges. The most commonly cited positive training experience is in connection with the VLE. The perceived usefulness of this kind of training is perhaps not surprising given the central and growing role this technology occupies in college delivery. This was followed in frequency by interactive whiteboard training (reflecting the fact that many colleges have been moving to new premises over the session concerned) and training in aspects of Microsoft Office as many colleges upgrade to newer versions of that software. 4.6.3 Staff Development Modes

We turn to examining the attitudes of staff to various possible modes of development. This has been a constant topic since the first version of the survey and has influenced the methods adopted by sector support agencies, such as the JISC Regional Support Centres, to satisfy the needs of staff. Responses are displayed at Table 21.
Most suitable methods of training (%) Traditional face-to-face workshops/courses? A 'blended' model (flexible/supported online?) Occasional attendance at forums Open and flexible learning supported wholly online? Advice by phone, email or electronic discussion lists? Yes 92 67 66 41 39 No 5 21 21 43 44 N/R 3 12 13 16 17

Table 21: Preferred methods of training (N=1033)

As has consistently been the case across the four ETNA surveys to date, traditional face-toface delivery of staff development training is the method most favoured by respondents. Indeed there has been a slight increase in this view since the last survey, rising from 89% to 91.8% this time round. Despite an overall drop in favour from 71% last time to 67% now, the blended method has nudged its way into second place in the table. A supplementary question here invited respondents to describe any factors which influenced their choice of training method. 311 replies were received and these fall into broad groups (see Table 22).


ETNA: Academics

Factors influencing training preferences Time Face-to-Face Preference Access Support Distance Prior Knowledge Miscellaneous Blended Learning Preference Online Learning Preference

% 47 27 4 3 3 1 10 1 3

Table 22: Factors influencing training preferences (N=311)

The key factors that influence training preferences are in tune with information gathered from previous surveys. ‘Time’ (meaning ‘lack of time’ in the working day) was cited by nearly half of all respondents and has remained the key influence in selection of training method since the initial ETNA survey in 2001. There is also a trend in these responses to cite a direct preference for face-to-face training. Although initially it may seem inconsistent that respondents feel themselves to be short of time, while at the same time preferring to receive any training in a face-to-face context (which is arguably more time-consuming than online and time-flexible training), there would appear to be a linked reason which can explain the paradox: the expectation of respondents is that ring-fenced time would normally be available for the traditional forms of study, whereas time risked being eroded in the online context. There is also a straightforward suggestion that the direct human contact associated with traditional training methods is preferable. The final question in this section asked respondents to provide details of any other training needs they have in relation to technology. These are displayed in Table 23.
Other Technology Training Needs Practical Support Miscellaneous On-going Multimedia Basics/File Management Multimedia VLE Interactive Whiteboard Advanced Applications Online Development 18 9 8 7 7 7 5 5 4 2

Table 23: Other technology training needs (N=72)

No real consensus emerges from these comments but there are echoes of concerns expressed elsewhere in the survey. There is a need for ongoing, locally-based and supportive provision of training - though perhaps the notion of training expressed in that way is too formal. What emerges is a need for professional development which would put in place all the necessary ingredients for staff to be able to take learning into their own


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hands. That means time and the developmental environment as well as a context where practical help can be provided at the right time for individual members of staff.

4.7 Attitudes to ICT
This was the final main section of the survey of academic staff and in many ways perhaps the most important in that it seeks to identify the range of attitudes displayed by the sample. Respondents were asked to select their level of agreement with a series of statements, where 1 was to agree strongly and 4 represented strong disagreement.
Attitudes to ICT (%) The use of technology is a positive step The use of technology is a negative step Technology has the potential to enhance teaching and learning Learners welcome the use of new technologies Learners generally have the ability to use the new technologies Learners generally have access to the new technologies 1 75 2 72 36 24 16 2 22 3 26 52 50 49 3 2 19 1 11 23 31 4 1 76 1 1 3 4

Table 24: Attitudes to ICT (N=1030; 1=agree strongly: 4=disagree strongly)

The question attracted over 1000 responses and, as can be seen from Table 24, respondents viewed the application of technology to teaching and learning as overwhelmingly positive. They were slightly more reserved when asked to consider the implications of the application of technology from the point of view of the learner; while learners are generally felt to welcome new technology there are reservations about their ability to use it and the level of access to technology that learners enjoy. Lecturers’ perceptions of learners’ attitudes may be compared with what learners said directly in the following chapter of this ETNA report.


ETNA: Students


JISC Regional Support Centre Scotland North & East 2010



5.1 Introduction
5.1.1 The sample For the first time in the ETNA survey series, which has specialised in gathering the views of staff over a number of years, we incorporate a chapter on the learner - a step which is in line with JISC’s own committed research into the ‘learner voice’. The move chimes well with an increasing appreciation of students as consumers of education – consumers with economic and other important rights that institutions must place centrally within their focus. Having decided to bring in the student voice, establishing the channels through which the voice could be heard proved challenging. Student Representative Council presidents in colleges around Scotland were contacted by email and their support requested. This was reinforced with publicity materials developed and sent widely by the Regional Support Centres. Perhaps inevitably, however, returns from across the country were sporadic; while some student voices were not heard at all, literally hundreds of returns were received from one institution. Our thanks are due to all those SRC officers who supported the survey around the country. 5.1.2 Survey responses

Given that there were close to half a million enrolments in colleges in Scotland in 2007-8, our sample is inevitably small. 678 learners started the survey, with 86% of these completing all questions. A wide geographical spread of responses encompassed a wide range of curricular areas. As elsewhere in the wider survey it is useful to remember that learners responding online are probably those who, by and large, are most comfortable users of technology and that the returns will therefore contain an inbuilt bias which may overstate both the level of engagement with technology and the fluency of its use by learners. Despite this, both the qualitative questions responded to and, particularly, those questions which invited an evaluative comment make for interesting reading. It should also be noted that while figures for the session 2007-8 record that part-time study accounted for 84% of all enrolments with full-time students at 16%, our study effectively reverses this position. 82.9% of the learners who responded to ETNA were full-time students with only some 9.1% following part-time courses. In practical terms, full-time students will have had more time and opportunity to complete the survey so this balance of returns may not be surprising. However, a potential positive benefit of this bias may be that the learners responding here are more familiar with their college’s technological infrastructure than if they were attending college for a strictly limited period of time per week. 5.1.3 Gender and age breakdown

As can be seen from Fig 1, females outnumbered males in the survey by a considerable number though this is almost entirely consistent with the gender pattern displayed in enrolments across the country where women comprise 56%.
male 44% female 56%
Fig 1: Gender

However, in one further demographic area the ETNA sample diverges somewhat from the representative national pattern of enrolments. In colleges, according to the statistics for 2007-8, 51% of students were over the age of 25. Returns to the ETNA survey showed a


ETNA: Students

higher proportion of younger students among the sample. Students over the age of 25 here represented 37% of responses.
over 60 50 - 60 46 - 50 41 - 45 36 - 40 31 - 35 26 - 30 21 - 25 19 - 20 16 - 18 Under 16 0 2 50 100
Fig 2: Age (N = 675)

10 19 21 46 41 39 74 121 113 189




Course details

Respondents were asked to select both the level and the year of the course they were enrolled upon. The level of course is illustrated at Fig 2, while year of study is illustrated at Fig 3. The typical ETNA respondent is a first year student following a full-time Higher National course which contains a strong element of ICT (of the 668 respondents who identified their course of study through this question, 155 were following courses in which IT itself was either the focus of the study or provided a crucial tool). Over a third of respondents (39%) claimed some form of formal prior qualification in IT, acquired before entering their current course, ranging from PC Passport and elements of ECDL to a full IT-related degree.

Degree, 2% HND, 26%

Professional Qualification, 2% Introductory Course, 14%

HNC, 20% City & Guilds, SVQ, 3% 2%

National Certificate, 18%

Fig 3: Level of course


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Third, 4% Second, 22% Fourth, 1%

First, 73%
Fig 4: Year of study

5.2 Key Findings
5.2.1 Strengths and weaknesses of the ETNA student survey Although these findings are based on a relatively large sample (678), this is small in relation to the large number of enrolments at colleges each year and this survey points to the desirability of a larger-scale research exercise which would be able to look in more depth at the diversity of the FE audience. The findings presented here are on the basis of a sample which may be younger than the FE average, and which is enrolled on full-time rather than on the more typical part-time courses. A larger scale study could address these defects and also use focus groups to enhance the study data. 5.2.2 Technology skills

The majority of students declare themselves to be ‘comfortable’ with using technology. 5.2.3 Technology and study

95% of respondents see technology as ‘essential’ to the satisfactory completion of their course. 5.2.4 Accessibility

Though 12.5% of the sample felt they had ‘additional support needs’, only a minority of these have used any kind of assistive technology to help with these needs. 5.2.5 Portable technology

Students commonly use a range of portable devices, the most common being a mobile phone – owned by 98% of respondents. The majority of these devices are very powerful, three quarters being capable of displaying web pages. Little formal use is made by colleges, as yet, of this potential delivery channel. 5.2.6 Web 2.0

Levels of awareness of Web 2.0 technologies were high though engagement is often passive - with the exception of social networking and file sharing. Again, little formal use is yet being made by colleges of this potential delivery channel. 5.2.7 College network security and site blocking

A significant minority of students object strongly to those college networks which deny access to some sites, particularly social networking sites (though some other respondents agree with this action). Site blocking represents a point in the survey where institutional and individual views can diverge widely. 5.2.8 Student ownership of technology

PC ownership and home broadband connectivity are all common within the sample.


ETNA: Students


Laptop connection

Only a minority (25%) of students bring laptops to college and connect these to wireless networks. 5.2.10 College technologies Students are generally very satisfied with their access to technology in colleges, with the numbers of computers available, and with the speed of college networks. 5.2.11 Virtual Learning Environments This was a major focus of this study and the following key points emerged: • • • • • • • The majority of the sample have used the VLE in their studies Respondents feel that VLEs are easy to use VLEs are used in college and at home and in other locations VLEs are largely used to store and access course materials Discussion and reflection tools within the VLE are under used The high majority of the sample feel the VLE ‘enhances’ their studies The majority are ‘comfortable’ using the VLE but a significant minority (14.4%) state that they require more support.

5.2.12 Online assessment Online assessment is a minority experience to date. A small majority of students are against increasing the frequency of its use, though there are grounds for thinking that this may be due to unfamiliarity with the technology as greater exposure seems to generate higher approval levels. It is therefore possible that rejection of increased online assessment may in some cases be more to do with a fear of the unknown, rather than representing an informed rejection of technology for this purpose. 5.2.13 e-Portfolios These have made very little impact to date and are used by under 10% of the sample. 5.2.14 Teaching and technology There is a preference for classroom-style traditional delivery, though nearly half felt that computer-based delivery is acceptable. 5.2.15 Attitudes to technology There is a wide acceptance that technology is an essential component of all courses and part of the ‘hidden curriculum’ necessary for successful participation in life in the 21st century. Most respondents prefer to see a mix of traditional and online delivery, though there is concern that human interaction is not eroded by too heavy a reliance on electronic delivery.

5.3 Technology Skills
5.3.1 Common applications The ETNA survey aimed to find out how students feel about using the most common applications – both in college and in the wider world. The results are presented at Table 1:

How do you rate your skills with the following? (%) None Word Processing 1 Beginner 9 Intermediate 49 Advanced 41


JISC Regional Support Centre Scotland North & East 2010

Spreadsheets Presentations Web E-mail

6 4 2 1

26 18 7 6 Table 1: Basic IT skills (N=674)

50 49 44 43

18 29 48 48

These figures represent the respondents’ own interpretations of the meaning of the qualifiers. It is clear that most students consider themselves to be fairly proficient in the use of common applications. It was therefore no surprise that in a supplementary question in this section 95.8% of respondents declared themselves ‘comfortable’ with the technology they use in their course. 140 respondents provided additional information on areas where they feel further training could be useful. (See Table 2).

Where do you need to improve your technological skills? Spreadsheets Databases Word Processing Presentations Generally Miscellaneous (often course specific) Table 2: Desired improvements in IT skills (N=140)

% 33 10 4 10 12 31

The largest area of concern for respondents is in connection with using spreadsheets, where roughly a third feel that they need to improve. 5.3.2 Additional support needs and assistive technologies

Respondents were next asked if they considered themselves to have any additional learning support needs. The 85 responses received were broken down into the categories illustrated at Fig 4. Of these 85, only 15 use assistive technology ‘all the time’ while 28 use it ‘sometimes’. 13 other respondents would like to know more about it. This section does not assume that the needs of those with additional learning support needs are necessarily resolved through assistive technology; it is perfectly possible that these needs are met in other ways.
Literacy, 31% Numeracy, 28%

Mobility, 16%

Hearing, 9%

Sight, 16%

Fig 5: Additional support needs


ETNA: Students

5.4 Popular Technology
This section of the survey looks at the technologies which are available directly to learners, often owned by them and therefore independent of the college. This is one area where the pace of change appears to have been extremely rapid. 5.4.1 Mobile technologies

Respondents were asked to select from a list all of the types of mobile technology they currently own. Answers are displayed in Table 3.

Which of the following portable devices do you own? MP3 Player (e.g. iPod) Video Player (e.g. iPod with video playback) Gaming Device (e.g. Nintendo DS or Sony PSP) Digital Camera Digital Video Camera USB Flash Drive Table 3: Portable devices owned (N=633)

% 80 35 44 73 28 83

Each of these devices has the potential to store or to create information and each therefore has the potential to be useful as part of the learning process. Of course, the one ubiquitous portable device which increasingly combines much of the functionality of all of these listed devices is the mobile telephone (owned by 98% of all student respondents). Something of the sophistication of these devices can be gauged from the next question which asks respondents to list the facilities available on their own mobile phone. The results are shown in Table 4.

Features of your Mobile Phone Camera Music Player Video Player Video Recorder Can connect to the internet (display web pages) Can read email Wireless (wifi) Access Can read documents Can write documents Table 4: Features of my mobile phone (N=603)

% 97 89 79 79 77 61 40 34 29

The range of facilities available on the standard phone is truly staggering if compared to the power and specification of the average personal computer at the time of the first ETNA survey in 2001. The ability to connect to the internet, to send email and to read and write documents means that mobile phones have evolved into something far more powerful than simple communication devices. Such devices clearly offer potential for use in education, but only 14.7% of students informed the ETNA survey that have used mobile technologies as a ‘formal part’ of their course.


JISC Regional Support Centre Scotland North & East 2010

However, when this 14.7% were asked to elaborate on how these technologies are being used, little evidence was provided for formal involvement in their courses. The most commonly-used application on the mobile is the camera – either still or moving images. Next to that, phones are used for storing information. Given the ubiquitous availability of personal mobile devices, it would seem that further work could be done to establish how the potential of this technology could be better exploited within the college context.

5.5 Web 2.0 Technologies
An area of technology which has seen major expansion in the last few years is that of ‘Web 2.0’. Under this heading, we decided to review knowledge of a range of relevant technologies in the ETNA survey of 2006. This review is carried forward in the current work, with the objective of establishing what formal use there is – if any – of Web 2.0 technologies in taught courses in colleges. 5.5.1 Blogs and wikis

ETNA sets out to establish levels of awareness about blog and wiki technologies by students, as well as ascertaining student levels of engagement with them. All three elements can be viewed at Table 5.

Blogs & Wikis Knowledge and Use I'm aware of them I know about them, but am not interested I read other people’s I contribute to other people’s I know how to set one up I have to use one as part of my course I have my own, and update it regularly I have my own, but don’t update it regularly

Blogs (%) 77 38 41 20 38 10 14 20

Wikis (%) 52 26 21 7 16 10 5 5

Table 5: Awareness and use of blogs and wikis (N=570)

While awareness of blogs and wikis appears to be relatively high there seems to be a certain amount of resistance, with large numbers of students declaring a lack of interest, despite an awareness of their functionality. Both blogs and wikis are treated by the majority of respondents as passive media – in other words, while 41% of respondents are happy to read the blogs of other people, far fewer contributed to others’ blogs or established and regularly maintained their own. Still fewer claim to use either blogs or wikis as part of their course, though wikis are marginally more popular here. It may appear initially surprising that a large number of respondents claim to know how to set up such online tools, but this may be linked to the high proportion of computing and IT students who responded to the survey. 5.5.2 Podcasting

Awareness of podcasting by students is displayed at Fig 6. The numbers of students who are actively engaged with podcasts – at least to the level of being subscribed to one - is relatively small at 10%, though the perception that they are useful is shared by a far higher percentage. The lack of interest displayed earlier in relation to blogs and wikis reappears here with 31% aware of the technology but ‘not interested’ in it.


ETNA: Students

I don’t know what a podcast is 30%

I subscribe to a podcast 10% Podcasts are useful 29%

I'm aware but not interested 31%
Fig 6: Podcasts


Sharing pictures and videos online

Sharing files through common sites such as YouTube or Flickr perhaps attracts the highest levels of interest in the student body, which illustrates the sites’ general popularity in the world. This popularity may also be at the heart of a tension, which we will examine later in more detail, between the decision in some colleges to restrict access to certain sites and the desire of students to access them. The other major point to note in this context is that here students appear to be far less passive than in other areas, uploading both videos and still images to file sharing sites.

Sharing pictures and videos online I watch videos online (e.g. on YouTube) I’ve uploaded videos to the internet (e.g. to YouTube) I share pictures online (e.g. on Flickr/Bebo/MySpace)

Yes (%) 95 49 79

No (%) 5 51 21

Table 6: Sharing pictures and videos online (N=618)


Social networking and virtual worlds

Some of the factors already observed above recur when we come to look at the category of online applications and student engagement with them. Social networking scores a remarkably high recognition factor here and nearly 60% of the sample claim to make regular use of such networks. The engagement rates for both virtual worlds and micro blogging (such as Twitter) suggest that both have some distance to travel before they are widely accepted by this cohort.
Experience of Social Networking, Virtual Worlds & Micro Blogging (%) Never heard of it Social Networking Virtual Worlds Micro Blogging 3 24 40 Know about it, but not interested 16 55 43 Got a login, don’t use it regularly 22 12 11 Got a login, use it regularly 59 9 6

Table 7: Experience of social networking, virtual worlds and micro-blogging (N=623)


Web 2.0 and my studies

Putting a further spotlight on the use of Web 2.0 tools, ETNA asked students if any Web 2.0 tools are in use in their college course. The results were a resounding 80% for ‘No’, and 20% for ‘Yes’.


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For those who had replied affirmatively, a supplementary question gathered further detail. Mostly, the further information consists of an identification of the technology used; very few evaluated the effectiveness of it. However, when evaluative judgments were supplied, with one exception, these are uniformly positive. It is clear for most students that there is a blurring of the distinction between using technology for informal and for formal use on their course. Though some courses and individual staff are clearly making considerable use of blogs and wikis in particular, students themselves mostly use these as tools for research or for maintaining contact with one another. Table 8 consists of an analysis of students’ open text comments, which have been tabulated and sorted to allow the emergence of common themes.

Examples of web 2.0 used in your course Misc Blog Wiki Wikipedia Bebo Flickr VLE

% 38 26 18 8 4 3 3

Table 8: Examples of Web 2.0 technologies used in your course (N=96)


Blocking of websites

The way that institutions ‘police’ their networks can be a controversial issue. One policy commonly deployed by colleges is to block websites that are judged to present a risk. Websites can also be blocked if they are felt to be inappropriate, or for moral reasons, or for reasons of taste. This becomes an issue where certain blocked sites are also very popular with some (or many) learners. Over 600 students were moved to respond to questions about website blocking. These responses are almost exactly split between students at colleges which did not block some websites and those at colleges which did. 237 open text comments were received, showing up an area about which respondents feel passionately. In this they are often opposed to college policy. Some sites and facilities were mentioned directly – particularly Bebo, by 139 of the 237. The full list can be seen in Table 9 below:
Blocked Site(s) Mentioned by Name Bebo FaceBook Social Networking MySpace YouTube Games Table 9: Sites blocked by the college (N=237) N 139 48 29 26 24 5

While a minority of responses are in agreement with the action of colleges in blocking sites, many students express anger at the restrictions imposed on them, some arguing that some blocked sites contain essential course materials. This seems an area where more research might be illuminating, particularly as the responses appear to indicate that there is a wide divergence of policy on blocking policies within colleges. Site-blocking represents an area where some colleges may be widely out of step with the demands of their clients. However,


ETNA: Students

given the rise in the availability of powerful handheld devices mentioned elsewhere in this survey, this also represents an area in the near future where students may be able to access whatever they want on the internet, without having to depend on the college network in any way. For this reason, though it may be currently controversial, website blocking will continue as an avoidable college policy. However, it will only have a temporary effect in preventing students from accessing whatever they choose since they are increasingly frequently able independently to do so through their own portable devices.

5.6 Technology and You
5.6.1 PC ownership ETNA is interested in student access to technology both within the college and in the home environment. This represents a major area of change since the first ETNA survey was conducted. At that time (2001) college provision of ICT generally offered far more to the student than was available through personal or home routes. The spread of high-speed broadband home connections in tandem with a lowering price structure has altered this picture dramatically. In this current report we attempt to establish ownership of technology within the sample. 605 responses were received with 70% of the sample having access to a desktop PC or Mac at home. For four fifths of those with a machine at home, that machine is a laptop. This high proportion of laptop owners coupled with advances in the availability and reliability of wireless networking poses further questions for colleges which are highlighted in Table 10:
Use of laptops. If you own a laptop… …do you currently bring your laptop to college? …is your laptop wireless enabled? …do you connect to the college's wireless network? Table 10: Use of laptops (N=503) Yes (%) 23 91 26 No (%) 77 9 74

Roughly a quarter of laptop owners have connected to their college wireless network, though many more clearly have the equipment which would permit this. Respondents were asked to comment on the connection experience. 90 comments were received but no real consensus emerges as to satisfaction levels. Some respondents felt that networks could be difficult to connect to, slow and available only in certain parts of the buildings. Others, however, had exactly the opposite reaction. The picture is clearly patchy and evolving. 5.6.2 Internet connection outside college

Over 90% of the sample claim to have some direct access to the internet at home. With the exception of 2% of the sample, all of those connected are on broadband. This has clear implications for the delivery of learning in the future.
Not sure, 3% Mobile broadband, 9% None, 4% Network access from halls, 2%

Dial-up, 2% Broadband, 80%
Fig 7: Internet connection outside college


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Communication with the college

Given that most students can take advantage of broadband connectivity and that colleges are themselves networked and web-enabled, the next set of questions looks at how communication links are currently being used. Not surprisingly, 80% of those questioned claim to use email to stay in touch with their lecturers, while 61% use email as a means of submitting assignments. Blogs have not yet achieved these rates of penetration though 16% of students use blogs to stay in touch with lecturers. Other uses of the common communication channels are displayed in Table 11, though some of the options take the form of wishes rather than actual usage. It is clear from the table that there is ample room for the expansion of online communication in the context of course information and assessment.
College communications I use email to keep in touch with my lecturers I can use the course blog to communicate with my lecturers I use email to submit assignments I would like to receive course info from college by email I would like to receive assessment/exam results by email. I would like to receive assessment/exam results by text message. Table 11: College communications (N=574) % 80 16 61 50 63 34


Video conferencing

One channel which seemed to be very little used, in common with all other sections of the ETNA survey, was video conferencing. This is experienced as part of the course by only 3.7% of respondents. This figure was lower than the proportion (5.2%) who had received training to use VC technology.

5.7 Using Technology as Part of the Course
5.7.1 Access to technology General responses to the survey so far have clearly indicated how technology is embedded in the life of the modern student at home, at college, and on the move. It has therefore been important to ascertain whether the general availability of technology within colleges has matched the demands that students are making upon it. Responses to the three key questions here indicate that demand and supply are indeed fairly closely matched. Practically all respondents feel that computers are available whenever they have a need for them and that those computers are by and large powerful enough and fast enough to meet needs. Full details are shown in Table 12.
Access to Computing Facilities at your College A computer is available in college when I need one The computers are powerful enough to meet my needs The college network is fast enough to meet my needs Yes (%) 96 87 79 No (%) 4 13 21

Table 12: Access to computing facilities in college (N=583)

Respondents were invited to provide open comments to reinforce their choice of answers to the above and 230 took the opportunity. Perhaps surprisingly, given the generally positive nature of the yes/no part of the question, the open comments are heavily skewed towards the negative (148 comments) as opposed to the 63 positive comments recorded. The major criticisms of computers in college are that they are too slow and unreliable. This, of course, can be a criticism of a sluggish college network as much as it can be of an individual


ETNA: Students

machine that a student is working on. The dissatisfaction expressed here may also be influenced by the high numbers of computing students among the sample, individuals who might be expected to have higher then average expectations of equipment performance. 5.7.2 Virtual Learning Environments

The questions targeted at students about the VLE have been designed to provide comparison with similar questions asked of other cohorts within the ETNA survey, particularly with academics. The survey highlights a wide range of responses to VLE technologies from those who claim to be unaware of the existence of the VLE (a fact which might be explained by the nature of the course being followed) to the 66% who claim to use VLE technology as part of their course. The full picture of engagement with the VLE is presented in Fig 7
I want more help in using the VLE I don’t know if my college has a VLE I've had training in the VLE I find the VLE easy to use I've used the VLE as part of my course
0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60%






Fig 8: Student use of the VLE

Two thirds of those responding have used the VLE at some time though only a quarter of the sample has received training in how to use it. However, this seems to present no barrier to the majority of learners: 64% feel that the VLE is easy to use. A small but significant number of learners, 7.8%, feel that they need more help using the technology.
Rough estimate of how often learning involves the VLE (%) Every day Several times a week Once a week Less than once a week Table 13: How often learning involves the VLE (N=462) % 25 38 16 21

The next question tried to establish more clearly the frequency of usage and whether the VLE could be said to be becoming ‘embedded’ in the delivery of learning in colleges in Scotland. It is interesting to note that for three quarters of those responding, the VLE is used at least weekly, while for a quarter the VLE is in daily use. We build on this basic store of VLE data by trying to establish exactly where the VLE is being accessed. The results, displayed at Table 14, indicate a spread of use with surprisingly high figures for access from home and a large proportion of users accessing courses from work. These figures seem to indicate that a change from the traditional classroom-based pattern may be underway.


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Where do you use the VLE? In class At home In college/library/IT centre At work Table 14: Where the VLE is used (N=475)

% 71 78 71 9


Functions of the VLE

Virtual Learning Environments are capable of a range of functions from serving as a simple document store to a more complex system which caters for group discussion, online assessment and the tracking of learner progress. In constructing a picture of student engagement with the systems across colleges, we next examine the range of VLE facilities in use and students’ experiences of them. This is displayed in Table 15.

The functions of the VLE (%) To download or access learning materials Communication of course or module information As a communication tool for learning Submission of assignments or coursework Computer marked assessment Group working or discussion Personal reflection(blogs/wikis/portfolios)

Effective 82 77 75 56 48 30 19

Not Effective 6 9 9 6 10 15 12

Not Used 12 14 16 38 42 55 69

Table 15: The functions of the VLE (N=496)

It is clear from responses in this table that the VLE is still most commonly used as a storage depot for course materials and information - a facility rated as ‘effective’ by the large majority of respondents. There is less evidence for usage of the platforms as tools for communication or reflection. 5.7.4 Student opinion of the VLE

The final direct question on virtual learning environments was a synoptic one which invited respondents to provide a general response on their thoughts about the VLE. 484 students responded to this question and the feeling is unmistakably positive as shown at Fig 8.


ETNA: Students

I need more support in using the VLE



I'm comfortable about using the VLE the VLE enhances the quality of the teaching process the VLE enhances the quality of my learning
0% 20%












Fig 9: Student opinion of the VLE (Yes / No)

Nearly 90% of the sample claim to be ‘comfortable’ using the VLE, though 14% feel that they need more support. The views here echo those expressed elsewhere across ETNA and particularly those expressed by the academic cohort who agreed equally strongly that the VLE enhances both teaching and learning. 5.7.5 Online assessment

A major innovation in teaching and learning, which is sometimes linked to the introduction of the VLE, is online assessment. We therefore examine here the level of exposure to online assessment and to e-portfolios and students’ reactions to that exposure. As can be seen in Table 16, it is still a minority of students who have encountered e-assessment as part of their course, while only a small fraction of the cohort, 8.2%, have used an e-portfolio.

Experience of online assessment Have you experienced any online assessment as part of your course? Have you used an e-portfolio as part of your course? Table 16: Experience of online assessment (N=578)

Yes (%) 42 8

No (%) 58 92

We followed up this question by asking respondents if they would support the increased use of online assessment. Responses here were almost equally split with 49% welcoming such a move and 51% rejecting it. However, it should be noted that if we look more closely at the sample, then those who have already experienced some online assessment are far more keen to have more of it. 63% of such respondents are in this category. Among respondents who had no prior experience of online assessment, this figure drops to 39%. The implication is that fear of online assessment can be ascribed in some part to fear of the unfamiliar. An open follow-up question on assessment was offered to respondents to gather further views. 260 opinions were expressed, some of them passionately. The majority of comments were favourable. After analysis, these opinions can be tabulated as shown in Table 17.

Views on increasing the amount of assessment done online No preference In favour: Already heavily using online assessment

% 4 5


JISC Regional Support Centre Scotland North & East 2010

In favour: (various reasons of ease and convenience) In favour: (other miscellaneous reasons) Against (on the basis of personal preference) Against (because of the lack of human contact involved) Against (due to fear of technical problems) Against (perceived lack of accessibility)

45 7 24 10 4 1

Table 17: Views on increasing the amount of assessment done online (N=260)


IT support from the college

ETNA has examined student perceptions of how they are supported in their use of college IT systems. By and large, respondents are satisfied that at least enough support had been offered to allow them to complete their chosen course(s). However, there is a significant minority, 11%, who would welcome more support than is currently available. When this minority was asked about the kind of extra support they would ideally like, no common themes were identified in their responses, which were quite often highly-specific to the individual, their course or their college.
In your use of IT at the college, how well have you been supported? Extremely well Enough to get me through the course I could have done with more support I've received no support Table 18: How well supported by college in using IT (N=574) % 41 48 7 4

5.8 Attitudes to Technology
This final section of the student survey widens the focus to look at general attitudes to technology and its use for teaching and learning in colleges. Similar synoptic question have been posed at the end of the staff variants of the survey to allow for comparisons of perceptions and reality between groups. 5.8.1 Elements of the learning mix

This question asks students when they feel they are able to learn best. The options offer a mix of the traditional and the new and attracts 579 responses. It is perhaps no surprise that the option of including the notion of ‘fun’ in the learning experience produces the highest level of support: an idea which can influence the design of learning materials, as well as activities in the classroom.
When do you feel you learn best? when it's fun classroom style learning computer-based training through mentoring/coaching through social/informal setting from my peers when it's multi-sensory Table 19: When learning is easiest (N=579) % 78 59 47 46 44 34 28


ETNA: Students

Traditional classroom-style learning scores highly with nearly six out of ten respondents. The notion of peer learning, often identified as the core of the constructivist approach to education, is not rated very highly by learners themselves. Perhaps surprisingly, multisensory learning achieved a similarly low response. 5.8.2 Integrating technology into the course

The ETNA survey provides a suitable opportunity for enquiring into the general level of technology employed by colleges and whether this is running roughly in line with demand from the students. As can be seen from Fig 10, there is wide acceptance that a moderate level of technology is essential to the high majority of courses offered in colleges today. In fact, over a quarter of the 573 learners who responded welcome the ‘extensive’ use of technology on their course (though the high numbers of IT students represented in this sample should be remembered at this point). no technology, extensive use only limited 1.2% of technology, technology, 28.5% 6.6%

a moderate level of technology, 63.7%
Fig 10: How much technology is the right amount?


General attitudes to technology

ETNA gave students a final opportunity to voice their open opinions on the application of technology to teaching and learning - opinions untrammelled and undirected by the narrow wording of a specific question. Here they were invited to make any comment on whether overall the application of technology is a positive step, on the advantages or disadvantages that flow from it, on any steps the colleges could take to improve the implementation of it, and, in short, on anything at all that they finally wanted to get off their chest with respect to using technology in their education. The majority of the cohort (368 from 678) took the time to provide a response here, building a mountain of data but at the same time constructing a valuable composite picture of the student attitude to technology, teaching and learning. Here a positive view of technology is fully reflected, though it is tempered by a more cautious strand of opinion worried that the nature of the educational process risks being eroded by a technology applied at the expense of human interaction.


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ETNA: Administrative & Support Staff


Administrative & Support Staff

6.1 Introduction
6.1.1 The Sample Since the second ETNA survey in 2003 we have included a section which focuses on the training needs of staff in administrative and support roles in colleges. Since this cohort of staff now accounts for almost half of the total workforce, recognising their training needs is essential to the construction of a holistic overview of attitudes to ICT across the sector. 6.1.2 Survey Responses

Responses were received from 766 staff from the large majority of colleges in Scotland. 6.1.3 Gender and Age Breakdown

More than half of all respondents are aged over 40 (56.1% of the sample). 78% of respondents are female; 22% male. 20 - 29, 19% 60 or over, 5% under 20, 1%

50 - 59, 23%

30 - 39, 24% 40 - 49, 28%
Fig 1: Age of respondents


Post and Departmental Details





finance, marketing, HR


estates and related


technical (including AV) support to learning & teaching admin support in acad depts and service units












Fig 2: Departmental Details


JISC Regional Support Centre Scotland North & East 2010

6.2 Access to Technology
6.2.1 Access to Basic Computer Equipment Appreciation of the quality of the technical infrastructure is recorded as mostly very positive by this group. Nearly 90% of respondents have access to their own computer at work and a similar proportion is happy that the technology available to them is powerful enough for their work needs. This group of college staff makes extensive use of computing technology for a wide range of purposes.
Access to Computer Equipment I have my own computer at work I share a computer at work The work computer I regularly use is powerful for my needs My college has issued me with a laptop for use at work only My college has issued me with a laptop that I can use at home if I wish Table 1: Access to equipment (N=765) Yes 91 18 90 5 15 No 9 82 10 95 85


The College VLE

Though admin and support staff are not actively and directly involved in teaching and learning, their indirect contributions can be significant. Fig 3 shows that the high majority of such staff are aware of the college VLE. Only a very small percentage, under 10%, claim to be unaware of its existence.
Don’t know 8%

Yes 92%
Fig 3: Awareness of the college VLE

Those staff who were aware of the VLE were asked to identify the local platform in use. As elsewhere in this survey, the figures show that Blackboard is dominant, with Moodle in second place. No other platform covers even a 10% share of the installed base. About 12% of the sample did not know the name of the platform in use (See Fig 4).


ETNA: Administrative & Support Staff

WebCT Sharepoint Other Virtual Campus Don't know Moodle Blackboard

1% 2% 3% 6% 12% 27% 48% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60%

Fig 4: Types of VLE

About a third of respondents claim to use the VLE in their work, with a similar proportion having received training in VLE usage. As elsewhere in the survey, a much smaller proportion, 13.5%, had received training in authoring materials for the VLE. By contrast, 97% of the cohort is aware of their college’s intranet, upon which may be presumed to lie the bulk of college internal documents and policies. 6.2.3 Video Conferencing

In common with questions asked of other staff cohorts, final questions in this section cover the awareness and use of video conferencing. Of the responses received, just over half claim that their colleges support this technology via a dedicated conference suite, while almost a third gain access via the desktop. Direct use of VC technology is minimal for this staff group, as can be seen in Table 2. 85% of the sample claim ‘never’ to use it.
Never (%) Use of VC 85 Occasionally (%) 13 Regularly (%) 2

Table 2: Use of Video Conferencing (%)

6.3 Most Used Technologies
This section concentrates on the range of connectivity options open to respondents, starting with mobile technologies, an area of enormous expansion since the first ETNA survey in 2001. 6.3.1 Communication and Connectivity

As for other groups participating in this survey, some technologies are more likely to be used in the domestic sphere than in the context of work. In the case of Skype, staff are six times more likely to use them at home than at work (see Table 3).
Do you use internet telephony, eg Skype? I have heard of it I can access this technology at work I use it at work I use it at home No (%) 26 74 86 59 Skype (%) 61 9 3 19 N/R (%) 13 17 11 78

Table 3: Use of internet telephony (N=776)


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Connectivity for administrative and support staff is provided both on campus and remotely, allowing access for most to the college VLE, the intranet and email (see Table 4).

Connectivity: I Can Access... …the wired college network via my work computer …a wireless network within my college …the college VLE …the VLE when I'm not on the college campus …the college Intranet on campus …the college Intranet when I'm not on campus …my work email when I'm not on campus Table 4: Connectivity (N=756)

Yes (%) 87 57 64 42 93 55 85

No (%) 8 33 25 42 4 38 13

N/R (%) 5 10 11 16 3 7 3

In common with all other cohorts in the survey, the spread of computer use and connectivity into the domestic context is very marked. Nine out of ten respondents have broadband internet access at home. More than three out of ten regularly do college-related work at home.

Home/Work Computing Access (%) I use a computer at home I have a broadband connection at home The computer I use at home can access the internet I regularly do college-related work at home Table 5: Working at home, working at work

Yes 93 87 92 33

No 7 13 8 67

I can use technology for the following purposes To find information or resources To make information available To communicate with colleagues Financial administration Other administration

Yes (%) 99 90 98 61 89

No (%) 1 6 2 35 9

I’d Like Training (%) 2 5 1 5 3

Table 6: Reasons for using the technology (N=762)

The software tools used across this group are dominated by Office applications. The range can be seen in Table 7. The large number of ‘Other systems or software’ at the foot of the table refers to technology connected with some of the more specialised administrative roles within colleges.
The software tools commonly used in the course of work Email (eg Outlook, Groupwise) Word processing (eg Word) College Intranet Web browser (eg Explorer) % 98 98 89 88


ETNA: Administrative & Support Staff

Spreadsheets (eg Excel) College website Presentations (eg PowerPoint) College MIS (Management Information System) Timetabling systems Procurement systems Accommodation systems Other college systems or software Table 7: Commonly-used software tools (N=765)

88 80 52 37 23 15 8 28

This trend toward high skills in Office applications and email is confirmed in a question which invited respondents to identify their primary computer skills. Email and basic file handling are now close to universal on this list, while many of other skills, from inserting charts to placing hyperlinks in documents, are well understood by the majority. Only towards the foot of Table 8 do the numbers drop away, as the skills mentioned are applicable for only a small minority of roles across administration and support. This is also the case with multimedia skills in manipulating sound and images. Any generic training offered to this staff group could focus on those areas just after the middle of the table where the general level of competency takes a sudden dip. However, this would reasonably be guided by individual job descriptions and requirements in each case.

I can... …use email …use basic file handling techniques (open close save files) …attach a file to an email message …use a word processor …search the web for information …create tables using a word processor …use a spreadsheet …insert images into documents …use advanced features of email packages …insert charts into documents …use functions in a spreadsheet …use a database …use PowerPoint (or similar) …insert hyperlinks in documents …create databases in Microsoft Access (or similar) …use the college VLE …create and manipulate digital images …understand how VLE integrated with other college info systems …use mind mapping …create a web page …create and manipulate digital sound files

Yes (%)

No (%)

I’d Like Training (%)

100 99 99 98 97 95 94 93 91 87 86 85 82 79 68 45 44 30 28 27 22

0 1 1 1 1 3 4 4 4 7 7 9 9 13 19 42 41 51 54 51 59

0 1 1 1 1 3 4 4 6 7 9 9 8 8 15 13 17 19 19 25 21


JISC Regional Support Centre Scotland North & East 2010

…use video conferencing facilities …create flash movies and animations Table 8: The range of Skills (N=765)

21 15

63 63

16 25

A related question probed respondents’ understandings of the legal issues associated with different elements of the use of IT. Here are revealed some deficiencies in areas of understanding, most particularly in relation to DDA/SENDA. It is likely that training is needed in some of these areas (see Table 9).

I understand the legal issues associated with IT Data Protection Freedom of Information Copyright & Intellectual Property Rights Equalities Duty (Equalities Act 2006) DDA/SENDA

Yes (%)

No (%)

Partly (%)

I’d like Training (%)

79 67 57 49 39
Table 9: Legal Issues (N=762)

2 5 9 16 23

17 24 29 30 33

7 9 10 10 13

6.4 Training Needs and Delivery Preferences
This section gathers from respondents details of other areas where they feel training might be useful. 6.4.1 Generic Skills Training

Here we widen out from a narrow focus on IT and considered some related but more generic skills. Delegates were asked to evaluate different categories of training and to rank the respective benefits of each. The ranked skills are displayed at Fig 5. Project management clearly emerges as the skill which most respondents cite to be of most immediate value.



risk management


time management


Project management










Fig 5: Generic skills requirements


ETNA: Administrative & Support Staff


ICT Qualifications

Respondents were asked to name any current ICT qualifications held and here a large number of respondents (351 of the 776) failed to provide an answer, perhaps suggesting that they have no formal qualifications in this area. Those who responded, in common with other groups in the survey, are most likely to hold some form of European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL). Details are presented in Table 10. PC Passport has clearly made little or no impression and poses no threat to ECDL as a de facto standard, while over a third of respondents identify ‘other’ qualifications.
PC Passport 1 ECDL 74 Advanced ECDL 9 Other 37

Table 10: ICT qualifications (%, N=425)


Online Study and Training

In common with other groups of the survey, only a minority of staff have any experience of studying online and in the present cohort only 38% have received training in any aspect of ICT during the previous academic session. 6.4.4 Effective Training and Preferred Delivery Methods

Respondents were asked about recently received training that they felt had been especially effective. 187 replies were received. In such a diverse group, where there is a wide variety of different activities and interests, it is extremely difficult to arrive at a consensus. The most common form of successful training is in applications such as Word and PowerPoint, usually delivered in-house within the wrapper of ECDL, and boosted during this period by the fact that many of colleges are migrating to a new version of Microsoft Office as standard. There were also significant, if not huge, numbers wishing for help with a variety of management information systems as well as college VLEs. 6.4.5 Preferences in Training Delivery

In common with other sections of the ETNA staff survey, respondents were asked to give their view on the most acceptable methods of training delivery. These can be examined in detail at Fig 6. Here respondents identify the methods which they find to be acceptable or unacceptable. Methods which contain implicit face-to-face contact score most highly here – at 94%. By contrast, those methods which promise least potential contact attract least support. The most unpopular learning style is ‘flexible learning supported wholly online’, which was rejected by 43% of respondents (though found to be acceptable by 57%).
flexible learning supported wholly online occasional attendance at forums with similar colleagues advice by phone, email or online discussion list a 'blended' model of training traditional face-to-face workshops etc
0% 20%









40% 60% 80%

100% 120%

Fig 6: Training Preferences (Yes / No)


JISC Regional Support Centre Scotland North & East 2010

Respondents were invited in their own words to describe any factors which influence their decision on training methods. A familiar pattern emerges from the 216 individuals who contributed with nearly half of them citing (lack of) ‘time’ as the key factor which drives their choice. A sizeable element of the sample expresses a preference for training delivered on a face-to-face basis. See Fig 7.
Preference for face-to-face, 26% Time, 48% Preference for blended learning, 3% Misc., 15% Equipment, 1% Distance, 2%

Preference for online learning, 5%

Fig 7: Further detail of training preferences

The last substantive question of the survey asked respondents to identify any other training needs they had in relation to technology. The wide range of roles within this staff cohort is evident in the range of training identified. However, some trends can be discerned. After analysis, the categories which emerge are represented in Table 11. There was clearly a demand for ongoing training to keep pace with regular changes made as successive versions of standard applications are released. A demand was also expressed for regular formal updates or reviews of the software used within the institution.

Training Regular Updates Miscellaneous ECDL/Applications Assistive Technologies Web/Web 2.0 VLE MultiMedia Interactive Whiteboards

% 26 25 22 7 7 6 4 3

Table 11: Other training needs (N-69)


ETNA: Learning Resources Staff


JISC Regional Support Centre Scotland North & East 2010


Learning Resources Staff

7.1 Introduction
Learning resources staff play a pivotal role in providing access to both technologies and resources in colleges and, consequently, their understanding of the relationship between the learner, technology and the institution is an important one. Whether the place that students associate with books and quiet study is known as the ‘Library’ or the ‘Learning Resource Centre’, there is no doubt that a sea change has occurred in this area as online resources augment or even replace some paper-based media. The increasing importance of e-books and online resources, which can also be accessed outwith the physical perimeter of the library, causes a gentle revolution in users’ perceptions of what a library actually is, as well as impacting upon the complex tasks demanded of librarians themselves. The 21st century college library is a space that offers a lot more than shelves of books; the twentyfirst century college librarian is a multi-tasking individual who knows how to use educational resources in both the material and the online world to support students and staff in their institution.

7.2 The Sample
108 learning resource staff from almost every college in Scotland responded to this part of the survey. The typical respondent was likely to be female (outnumbering male respondents by 6 to 1), as can be seen from the demographic breakdown presented at Fig 1.
no response, 22% under 20, 1%

60 or over, 3% 50 - 59, 34%

20 - 29, 12%

30 - 39, 19% 40 - 49, 31%
Fig 1: Age distribution

Such staff perform a multiplicity of roles (and have a multiplicity of job titles to match). Although the issuing and curation of resources remain central, such staff are to be found in a supportive role across a spectrum of areas from induction to information literacy. An overview of these functions is presented at Table 1. Learning resources staff interact with learners from a range of disciplines and with a wider range of abilities than would be normal for academic staff, and are therefore in a position to judge learner engagement with technology and its effects.


ETNA: Learning Resource Staff

Typical learning resource activity Issuing books/learning materials Other support (eg scanning/copying/research) Helping users find online resources Admin of user logins & permissions Planning cataloguing and acquisitions Management of staff & budgets Student induction Information literacy training

Daily (%) 90 78 58 45 42 27 9 9

Weekly (%) 6 14 26 10 22 2 11 11

Monthly (%) 1 3 9 6 9 3 14 12

Once or twice/year (%) 0 2 4 10 3 0 56 20

Not Yet (%) 3 2 2 23 18 41 8 50

Table 1: Typical LR activity (%; n=109)

Adding to this perspective is the growing number of learning resources staff who find themselves closely involved with the deployment of the college VLE

7.3 Key Findings
7.3.1 Computer access There has been little change in the figures for access to computers since 2007 and staff in this area are still the most likely group to be required to share a computer. However, despite this fact, 82% of respondents felt that the computer power available to them was sufficient. 7.3.2 College technologies

VLE technology is becoming increasingly embedded in the work of this cohort. Rationalisation is evident in the VLE market, leading to a dominance by two major platforms. Nearly three quarters of the sample have used the VLE, with a quarter going further to say that the technology as ‘essential’ to their role. Learning resources staff hold an essential mediating role in colleges with respect to the use of technology. 7.3.3 • • • • 7.3.4 Training needs Creating computer-based materials, including induction guides Metadata Project management The legal implications of IT Engagement with emerging technologies

There is demand for training in the following areas:

Significant engagement with some Web 2.0 technologies, particularly blogs, wikis and social networking has been recorded. However, engagement with e-portfolios is generally low and if colleges include them in their strategic plans, then this suggests another area where training may be required. 7.3.5 Online repositories

Repositories represent a growing element of the learning resource landscape, though it is still a minority of colleges which has begun implementing the technology, and an even smaller percentage which has integrated it with the VLE. This is another area where training is required to provide essential skills. 66

JISC Regional Support Centre Scotland North & East 2010


Access management

Access management is an area of major change facing the learning resource sections of colleges, but a fifth of institutions have taken no action to date. This is another area where training could be assigned high priority and its importance understood and supported by managers. 7.3.7 ICT training

Despite the training needs identified above, less than half of this cohort took advantage of any ICT training in the academic session in which this survey took place. This is likely to be the result of a combination of reasons, though, when library staff described perceived barriers to training in their own words, about 70 percent cited lack of time. In busy, and especially small, college libraries, it is often difficult for staff to leave the information or issuing desk for training purposes. 7.3.8 Staff development delivery

Traditional methods of receiving training remain most popular with this group, though there is growing acceptance of some form of blended approach. 7.3.9 Attitudes to technology

Attitudes are generally positive and the new technologies welcomed, but there is a perception that impact can only be maximised if part of a diverse approach which combines different methods. There is the suspicion that learners may not be fully equipped to derive maximum benefit from the technology due to a lack of discernment in part encouraged by the technology itself. This points to a need for increased support for ‘information literacy’.

7.4 Detailed Findings
7.4.1 Access to computer equipment Although there has been an observable and growing trend for each member of staff to have a computer for their exclusive use, this cohort of college staff still lags behind others in this respect. However 81% now enjoy exclusive access compared with 58% at the time of the last ETNA survey (2006). Other figures have remained remarkably similar since then, though there has been a rise in the proportion of the sample which feels that the technology they have access to is powerful enough for their needs: from 71% in 2006 to 87% now (a trend observable across all cohorts).
Access to Computer Equipment I have my own computer at work I share a computer at work My college has issued me with a laptop for use at work only My college has issued me with a laptop that I can use at home if I wish The computer I regularly use at college is powerful enough for me Table 2: Access to computer equipment (n=119) Yes % 81 49 1 18 87 No % 19 51 99 82 13


The college VLE

This section looks at access to the college VLE, its operation, and the engagement of learning resource staff. In previous years the first question in this section has tested that staff recognise whether or not there is a VLE installed at their college. By 2006 this recognition factor had reached 93% of the cohort; in the current report 98% of staff are aware of the college VLE, with over 80% having access to it. But the VLE landscape is more fluid than these bare statistics would seem to suggest and it would appear that many colleges either have more than one VLE in operation or are 67

ETNA: Learning Resource Staff

experimenting with a number of different platforms before deciding next options. Some impression of this complex picture can be gleaned in Table 3, where respondents were asked additionally to identify any secondary VLE platforms.
Virtual Learning Environments in use Primary VLE VLE(s) Used Secondary VLE VLE(s) Used Moodle 38 Moodle 36 Blackboard 37 Blackboard 0 WebCT 0 WebCT 0 Teknical 20 Teknical 0 Sharepoint 2 Sharepoint 36 Other 2 Other 18

Table 3: VLEs in use (%; n=109)

In common with other places in the survey, the dominance of two platforms, Blackboard and Moodle can be clearly seen in the responses, though there is an anomaly here which is difficult to explain. From the data which is displayed here, it would appear that Moodle is the slightly more dominant of the two platforms. However, this is the reverse of responses given by the academic cohort. The dominance of one or other platform is possibly less important than the significant reduction in complexity of the picture displayed in the current survey, compared to the more diverse pattern in 2006. Since then BlackBoard and WebCT have merged, the planned CLAN package (UHI) has not materialised and other smaller players have withdrawn from the market or have less prominence. These factors have contributed to the emergence of the two dominant players in the VLE market. ETNA now turns to look at the use made by this cohort of VLE technology. The majority of those who responded (95% of 79 individuals) had used the college VLE at some time with just over 50% using it on a regular basis. However, in contrast to earlier surveys there is now a significant percentage which sees the use of the VLE as ‘essential’ to their work. The full results are shown at Table 4.
Using the college VLE I have used the college VLE I use the college VLE regularly The college VLE is now essential to my work I don't know what a VLE is Yes (%) 95 51 41 8 No (%) 5 49 59 92

Table 4: Using the VLE (n=79)

The percentage of respondents who have been trained to use the VLE has risen from 58% to 75% in the current survey, while there has also been a small rise in those who have been trained to author materials to 35%. (The numbers who have created materials actually outstrips the numbers trained to do so at 42%.)
VLE Training...I have …received training to use the VLE …received training to author materials for the VLE …created materials for the VLE Table 5: VLE training (n=80) Yes (%)
75 35 42

No (%)
25 65 58

Staff were asked to describe the range of ways in which they used the VLE. The 36 responses received to this open question were tagged and the pattern of usage is shown at Table 6.


JISC Regional Support Centre Scotland North & East 2010

Learning Resources Staff Use of VLE Integrating Resources Staff Development Course and Library Information Courses Administer/Manage VLE Learning Support Induction Miscellaneous Table 6: LR staff use of VLE (N=36)

N 8 7 6 4 4 3 3 3

The integrative role of Learning Resources staff emerges from the activities in this table, both in terms of resources and induction and development activities for staff and students. 7.4.3 Interactive whiteboards and video conferencing

This section deals specifically with interactive whiteboards (IWBs) and Video Conferencing (VC). As with elsewhere in the survey the installation of interactive whiteboards is widespread. Though fewer than 25% of respondents have been trained to use this technology, 28% actually use it. This either reflects a reluctance, or wariness, in using technology that this group does not understand, or it may indicate that learning resource staff do not have a wide need for IWBs in their professional lives.
Using an Interactive Whiteboard Has your college installed IWBs? Have you received IWB Training? Have you used an IWB? Do you have access to a classroom with an IWB? Table 7: Use of IWB (n=99) Yes (%)
97 25 30 35

No (%)
3 75 70 65

Video conferencing lags far behind the level of engagement seen with interactive whiteboards. The first thing to note is the generally far lower level of awareness of this technology across the cohort in comparison with IWBs, which itself is much less well known than the VLE. The majority of respondents are simply not aware of (or do not need to use) the type of facilities their college has on offer in this area.
Video Conferencing (VC) Does your college support access to VC via a VC suite? Does your college support access to VC via the desktop? Yes (%) 37 12 No (%) 13 13 Don’t know (%) 50 75

Table 8: Availability of VC in college (n=109)

This lack of awareness of the technology is reflected in the slim use of it by this group; there has been no significant change here since the last survey in 2006. At that time, only 4% of the sample claims to use this technology regularly and the majority of these are employed by academic partners of the UHI, which is by far the largest user of VC in the college environment in Scotland.


ETNA: Learning Resource Staff

Occasionally 18% Regularly 4%

Never 78%
Fig 2: Use of VC


Internet telephony

This is another area of rapid growth in society in general, though the use of internet telephony, such as Skype, outside of the workplace seems far more marked than usage within it. Awareness is high, as can be seen in Table 9: staff are almost five times more likely to use Skype, for example, at home than they are at work. In fact, in the majority of cases they are unable to access this kind of technology at work.
Using Internet Telephony (eg Skype)

% 79 16 6 27

I have heard of it I can access this technology at work I use it at work I use it at home

Table 9: Using internet telephony (n=101)


Technology at home and at work

As with elsewhere in the ETNA survey, a clear trend is visible in the growth in availability of wireless networks. As shown in Table 10, nearly 58% of respondents can connect to a college wireless network. The comparative figure is 37% for 2006. Connectivity, which was already very high in 2006, has remained at that high level or progressed slightly so that the vast majority of those surveyed have a broadband internet connection at home through which they can and do access their college email accounts or the VLE.
Work & Home Computing Access (%) My work computer is connected to the fixed college network I can access a wireless network within my college I can access the VLE when I'm not on campus I can access my work email when I'm not on campus I use a computer at home I have a broadband connection at home My home computer has internet access I regularly do college-related work at home Table 10: Access at home and at work (n=101) Yes (%) 94 63 79 94 98 94 95 19 No (%) 6 37 21 6 2 6 5 81

Responses to the next set of questions serve to demonstrate how deeply embedded are the key skills associated with the use of ICT among this group. Indeed, the only areas where there are skills gaps – and where training would be welcomed by a significant proportion of the sample – are in accessibility and information literacy.


JISC Regional Support Centre Scotland North & East 2010

I can use technology to…. (%) …find information or resources …communicate with colleagues …make information available … handle other administrative functions … improve accessibility …provide financial administration …provide information literacy training

Yes (%) 100 97 86 86 67 47 47

No (%) 0 2 4 4 9 24 20

Partly (%) 0 1 7 6 12 14 13

I’d Like Training (%) 1 0 6 0 8 0 7

N/A (%) 0 1 1 3 5 14 13

Table 11: The uses of technology (n=101)


ICT SKillset

The questions asked in Table 12 were included in the original ETNA survey in 2001 in order to map the uptake of basic ICT skills across the target population. The updated picture now serves to indicate the widespread acquisition and advancement of those skills in the intervening years. Now in 2010, it is clear that most of these basic skills have now been mastered (at least by those staff responding to the ETNA survey).
I can... (tick all that apply) …use basic file handling techniques (open, close and save files) …use a word processor …use email …attach a file to an email message …search the web for information …create tables using a word processor …insert images into documents …use a spreadsheet …use extended features of email packages (address book, calendar etc) …insert charts into documents …insert hyperlinks in documents ….use PowerPoint (or similar presentation software) …use a database …write functions in a spreadsheet …create databases in Microsoft Access (or similar) …use mind mapping to plan learning or other projects …create a web page …use project management software Yes (%) 100 100 100 100 98 97 95 92 89 88 86 84 82 64 57 44 32 11 No (%) 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 1 3 6 3 1 7 12 28 30 58 Partly (%) 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 6 7 8 5 9 14 24 21 18 19 15 I’d Like Training (%) 0 0 0 0 1 1 4 5 5 5 5 6 6 10 13 10 28 22

Table 12: Computing skills (n=100)

There are some areas where a demand for specialist training has been registered such as in the creation of web pages and in project management, but it is most likely that these are of interest to only a minority of staff.


ETNA: Learning Resource Staff

A similar mastery of the basics of the legal issues surrounding ICT, particularly in those areas related to information storage and handling are demonstrated by this group, though there is still demand for training in the area of copyright which is complex and shifting as the technology itself changes. Learning resources staff seem less certain of their ground in the area of accessibility and einclusion. Therefore, demand for legal training is strongest in relation to legislation covering this area.
Understanding of key legal issues Copyright & Intellectual Property Rights Data Protection Freedom of Information DDA/SENDA (Special Educational Needs and Disability Act 2001) Equalities Duty (Equalities Act 2006) Yes (%) 77 76 71 54 54 No (%) 0 1 3 8 13 Partly (%) 18 21 23 31 27 I’d Like Training (%) 19 8 11 19 20

Table 13: Understanding of legal issues (n=100)

Here we focus on specific skills which are highly relevant to this group. The responses presented in Table 14 indicate that the key skills here are well understood particularly in selecting and evaluating electronic resources which underpin the development of effective learning materials. The main demands highlighted here are for the skills of taking these resources and building them into computer-based packages as induction packs, or as guides to specific resources and materials.
Yes (%) 87 77 67 60 60 59 55 39 No (%) 7 16 21 29 25 27 34 46 I’d like training (%) 11 12 11 23 29 24 14 27

I can……. …identify and select electronic resources to support staff and students …evaluate electronic resources to support staff and students …use an LMS to organise access to resources and information …make resources & information available via a website or similar …create computer-based induction/information/study skills materials …create computer-based guides to resources and materials …use electronic systems to organise access to ICT equipment and resources …use metadata (eg MARC21/LOM) to describe electronic resources Table 14: LR-related skills in technology (%; n=100)


Engaging with Web 2.0

At the time of the 2006 ETNA survey, the applications and services which are collectively known as Web 2.0 were new. Although awareness levels were relatively high at that time, practical experience of using them was fairly limited. The latest version of the survey indicates clearly how the landscape has now changed. In 2010 only a tiny percentage of the sample is unaware of these technologies: a third are already using blogs while over a fifth are making some use of wikis and of social networking sites. Table 15 shows the main areas where training and information are still required, with a high reading on each count showing for e-portfolios.


JISC Regional Support Centre Scotland North & East 2010

Engagement with Web2.0 Technologies Blogs Wikis Podcasting Videocasting Mobile technologies e-portfolios Social networking sites (Bebo, MySpace etc)

Unaware (%) 2 5 5 7 12 28 0

Aware (%) 64 71 77 79 70 51 83

Already using (%) 34 23 12 4 10 4 22

I’d like info (%) 7 6 6 10 9 13 6

I’d like training (%) 17 17 21 19 21 24 12

Table 15: Engagement with Web 2.0 (n=97)

Respondents were invited to give more detail of how they are currently using Web 2.0 tools; 35 responses were recorded. From comments received it is clear that Web 2.0 tools are is in use across a wide spectrum of activity: from a personal communication tool, to an e-portfolio, to a way of managing team communications. Typically, respondents who use such methods for one task then reel off a list of other uses of similar tools. The numbers may be relatively small at around a third of the sample being active in this respect, but this group is a highly enthusiastic one. 7.4.8 Use of local online repositories

The growth in the use of learning management systems and the creation of electronic materials has increased the interest in and the demand for online repositories. Repositories are seen as tying in with the remit of learning resources staff and this section attempts to measure the progress in their adoption across colleges. As can be seen in Table 16, repositories represent a very new area of college activity and one with which only a minority of colleges are currently fully engaged. 86 responses were received here.
Online Repositories/Digital Repositories Does your college currently use an online repository system? Does your college plan to implement a local online repository in the near future? Do you feel you have the skills to maintain a repository? Is your repository integrated with your VLE? Are you aware of the issues surrounding digital repositories? Table 16: Online repositories (n=86) Yes (%) 40 30 30 19 42 No (%) 60 70 70 81 57

A minority of the sample reported that their college is currently using an online repository while another quarter of respondents report that such a move is currently at the planning stage. Only a small number indicates that their repositories are integrated in some way with the college VLE. Seven out of ten respondents feel that they do not have the necessary skills to maintain a repository. This seems to point to an area where training could usefully be provided, and this may have to be in both general and specific respects. Generally, there is a demand for exploration of the issues related to repositories and which apply to all systems. The final open text question in this section revealed that there are several repository systems in use in colleges, which may indicate the need for a much more specific kind of training. The repositories named in the 27 responses are shown in Table 17.


ETNA: Learning Resource Staff

Which online repository do you use (or plan to use)? COLEG Don't Know Miscellaneous Mr Cute Core JORUM Sharepoint Table 17: Online repositories in use (n=27) 7 7 4 3 2 2 2

Another area linked to the development of VLEs, and which has been a focus of interest in recent years, is e-Books. The group was asked whether their college currently makes use of e-books or whether it plans to do so. As can be seen in Fig 3, over a third of colleges have already purchased e-books, while over 70% have procurement plans for the near future.
do you plan to purchase e-books in the future? do you currently purchase e-books?
0% 10% 20% 30%


40% 50% 60% 70% 80%

Fig 3: e-Books

In the short intervening time since the ETNA survey closed for responses, there has been significant development in the area of e-books, largely due to JISC’s ‘e-Books for FE’ Project1 which has made over 3,000 e-books available free to colleges and works with librarians to embed and promote the collection locally within their institutions. Finally in this section, staff were asked whether their college holds special resource collections that it might like to digitise. Ten responses were received, indicating material ranging from an ecology collection to a set of college-based images. 7.4.9 Lending technology

One other increasingly important role for the learning resource centre is to administer the lending of technologies to learners. Just under half the sample responded to this question but amongst these responses, laptops were far and away the most common technology loaned out as can be seen from Fig 4.
MP3s sound equipment cameras other laptops 18% 26% 26% 30% 85%

Fig 4: Technologies on loan

1 74

JISC Regional Support Centre Scotland North & East 2010

7.4.10 Federated Access Management The last few years have seen a flurry of activity in the area of access management with demise of Athens as a JISC-supported service and the advent of Shibboleth and FAM (Federated Access Management). Shibboleth is an open source technology that ultimately enables single sign-on to internal and external online resources and services (so that staff/students do not need to remember a variety of usernames and passwords). It provides a secure mechanism for the exchange of information, protecting both the privacy of the individual and the security of the data. As can be seen in Table 18, action on implementing Shibboleth-based authentication procedures has been relatively slow to date, with over 80% either taking no action at all or using Open Athens, the successor to the JISC-supported service. Only around a fifth of colleges have implemented Shibboleth. JISC and the Regional Support Centres in Scotland continue to offer general and bespoke to advice to colleges on Federated Access Management.
Federated access management policies adopted Implemented shibboleth internally Implemented shibboleth externally Using Open Athens Taken no action Table 18: Policies on Federated Access Management (N=76) % 13 21 61 21

7.4.11 Training needs The penultimate section of the survey looks at the ICT-related qualifications held by the group, and identifies further training needs. Respondents were asked to select up to three options from the list shown in Table 19. The results indicate that the largest training need is related to the introduction of new technologies such as repositories and Federated Access Management. Copyright, as always, is a major concern for staff in this area of work, while the demand for accessibility and e-inclusion training reflects the increasing legislative and institutional focus that has prevailed in recent years. Of the five open comments received in the final part of the question, three requested training in the creation of websites.
Which training would most benefit you? Repository systems (eg Jorum) Federated Access Management systems (Athens/Shibboleth) Metadata tagging Integration of VLE and LMS Making materials accessible IPR (Intellectual Property Rights/Copyright) Using the college VLE Interoperability Effective use of LMS Plagiarism Electronic discussion lists Electronic mail Other Table 19: Training desired (n=85) % 45 38 36 36 34 26 25 20 19 15 9 2 6


ETNA: Learning Resource Staff

7.4.12 Current ICT qualifications This section looks at specific ICT qualifications held by the sample. As with other cohorts, the most commonly-held qualification is some form of the European Computer Driving License (ECDL). PC Passport has, as yet, made no impression whatsoever while the ‘other’ qualifications held ranged from SVQ Level 3 to a BA in Information Management.
Current ICT qualifications European Computer Driving Licence Advanced ECDL PC Passport Other Table 20: Current ICT qualifications (N=64) % 86 11 0 20

7.4.13 Online study As noted elsewhere across the survey, participation in online learning is becoming more common. Of those responding to this question, two thirds have taken part in some form of online study as a learner. In common with the trend elsewhere, a far smaller percentage has acted as a tutor.
Online study I have taken part in online course as learner I have taken part in online course as tutor Yes (%) 67 14 No (%) 33 86

Table 21: Experience of online study (N=94)

7.4.14 Training frequency Respondents were asked whether they had received any kind of ICT training in the previous session. The perhaps surprising response is that those who had were in the minority (Table 22). This is even more surprising as it represents a considerable decline from the 2006 survey where almost two thirds of respondents had received such training. Those responding positively here were asked in a supplementary question to identify any training which they had found to be particularly effective. No real consensus emerges from the 28 comments received, though training in Moodle, Web 2.0 and Multimedia were all named as positive.
ICT training in previous session I have undertaken ICT training in previous session Yes (%) 40 No (%) 60

Table 22: ICT training undertaken during previous session (N=94)

7.4.15 Preferred Training & Support Methods Learning resources staff, in common with all other staff groups, selected the traditional face-to-face methods of delivery as the optimum for their needs, though a ‘blended’ model was felt to provide a viable alternative which was almost as attractive.
Preferred methods of training and support Traditional face-to-face workshops/courses? A 'blended' model of paper-based open or flexible learning supported online? Yes (%) 92 87 No (%) 8 13


JISC Regional Support Centre Scotland North & East 2010

Occasional attendance at forums with other staff with similar professional interests? Open and flexible learning supported wholly online? Advice by phone, email or electronic discussion lists? Table 23: Preferred methods of training and support (n=93)

85 66 56

15 34 44

A supplementary open space was offered to gather respondents’ related thoughts on training. 38 individuals made a response, of which 24 cited ‘time’ as the most important factor which influenced their uptake of any training. A request to nominate other training needs closed this section, producing 7 diverse responses and no consensus. 7.4.16 Attitudes to technology In common with other cohorts surveyed by ETNA, the final questions are of a synoptic nature, inviting respondents to take a wider view on the introduction of technology to teaching and learning, its effects and implications. Once again, there is no doubt whatever of the perceived value of the technology. In fact, there is only one voice which is in any sense dissenting from this view. The use of technology is unequivocally seen as a positive factor with the potential to enhance teaching and learning.
Which of these statements do you agree with? The use of technology is a positive step Technology has the potential to enhance teaching and learning Technology has the potential to enhance service delivery Library staff generally have the ability to use the new technologies Learners welcome the use of new technologies Learners generally have the ability to use the new technologies Learners generally have access to the new technologies 1 (%) 75 75 71 42 21 12 15 2 (%) 23 23 25 45 63 48 60 3 (%) 0 1 2 13 15 36 20 4 (%) 1 1 1 1 0 2 2

Table 24: Attitudes to Technology (n=94; 1 = agree strongly; 4 = disagree strongly)

However, the remaining questions in the set find a smaller measure of agreement. 42% of respondents strongly agree that library staff have the ability to use these technologies but there is a sizeable minority, 13%, who feel that there are deficiencies. This unease grows stronger as the focus turns to look at how learners engage with technology. While the majority view is still towards the positive side of the equation, there are reservations which peak in the area of the learners’ ability to use new technology. 38% of the sample disagrees to some extent with this statement. There are also some reservations about learner access to new technologies. The survey’s final open question invited respondents to flesh out their selections with a more detailed presentation of their views. 33 responses were received. The structure of a typical comment from this set contains the word ‘positive’ in the first part but then goes on to express reservations connected with implementation. The increasing use of technology is seen as positive as it matches the expectation of students, of industry and of society more generally, which demands a general familiarity. However, technology is deployed to maximum effect as part of a careful (blended) mix of delivery methods. There is demand for training for both staff and students and a feeling that a familiarity with Google and other search engines has made students too ready to accept the first answer they find without question. Training is required particularly in information literacy and in the implications of online copyright. Finally a number of respondents express the view that college networks need to be still more robust to cope with the needs of learners


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Technical Staff

8.1 Introduction
The technical staff group is an interesting one, standing as it does at the intersection of various trends highlighted elsewhere in this report. Emerging strands in technology, particularly as it is applied to teaching and learning may conflict with the traditional role that technical staff have seen themselves as playing. For example, a primary responsibility of networking staff has been to preserve the integrity and security of the college network. However a number of recent developments pose a threat to this. The spread of wireless access, the demand from users to attach their own equipment to the network (from memory sticks to laptops), the rise of ‘cloud computing’ , Web 2.0 and social networks have combined to create a tension between an increasingly personalised view of access to technology and the necessity for an institution to regulate its network. Increasingly, tensions arise between ‘personal’ and the ‘institutional’ perspectives. Site filtering is a case in point. Many colleges block access to social networking sites such as Bebo, while many students see such ‘filtering’ as overly restrictive and almost an abuse of their human rights. Many students would like to be able to use open source portable applications running from USB sticks connected to the college network, but some colleges restrict such access believing that it exposes them to threats from viruses and malware. By contrast, other colleges seem more relaxed in their attitudes to these developments, allowing free access to social networking websites and the connection of USB devices. There has also been a huge rise in the sheer size of network systems and these networks are more complex, accommodating increased flexibility of access both within the college precincts and beyond. User needs are similarly more complex and, consequently, demands on the networks intensify. Two further issues help to contextualise the responses from the technical staff cohort. The first is that they have been at the hub of the ambitious estates new-build programme in Further Education across the country, incorporating grand developments and state-ofthe-art technologies to match the new physical environments. The second, linked, issue is that of sustainability. There is an ever growing emphasis on environmental impact in the wake of the Stern Report2 and initiatives from the Scottish Funding Council resulting in pressure to reduce the carbon footprint of every institution. As information technology is a major contributor to this, technical staff find themselves in the vanguard of such developments.

8.2 The Sample
120 technical staff from across Scotland responded to the ETNA survey, which is almost three times the number recorded in 2007. Responses were received from practically every college in the country, representing the full spectrum of institutions, large and small, urban and rural. However, there is something of a problem which needs to be considered when looking at the general sample. Colleges structure their staff in different and often changing ways and the heading of ‘technical staff’ may incorporate audio-visual support, lab assistants and other technical support staff who are not directly concerned with the design, maintenance and support of computer networks and technologies, though the questions in this section concentrate very closely on these technologies.


The Stern Report 2006: 79

ETNA: Technical Staff

8.3 Gender Age and Breakdown
In contrast to much of the rest of the sector, and indeed to the composition of other cohorts in the ETNA survey, the technical cohort was heavily male-dominated. There were almost exactly four male respondents to every female among the 120 replies received.
female 19%

male 81%
Fig 1: Gender

With respect to age, however, the pattern was much closer to that observed elsewhere and heavily skewed towards the older end of the age scale. Almost 60% of the sample was over the age of 40. The vast majority of respondents are full-time permanent members of staff.
under 20, 0% 60 or over, 3% 20 - 29, 6% 50 - 59, 19% 30 - 39, 35%

40 - 49, 37%

Fig 2: Age

8.4 Technical Posts and Activities
The responses to questions about postholders’ duties highlight a difficulty for interpretation. Different colleges assemble their teams of technical staff in different ways. In some, for example, audio-visual support staff are nominally members of the IT department, whereas in others similar staff will be part of either academic support sections or a separate AV support department. The questions in this section of the survey were heavily skewed towards staff who worked in the areas of pure information technology and network support. This might help to explain the marked decline in the frequency of responses in the latter half of the survey.
Involvement with technical roles First-line provision of service to staff Telephone based helpline support to users Repair & maintenance of computer equipment and software Frequently 80 68 54 Occasionally 10 10 13 Rarely 1 4 7 Not my role 7 16 23


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Direct support for delivery of learning and teaching Development/maintenance of network infrastructure Network monitoring & security Management of network staff & resources Design/development of software or systems Maintenance and development of college MIS & LIS systems

46 34 31 30 24 16

11 10 16 15 17 16

6 13 10 8 20 12

24 38 37 43 33 52

Table 1: Role (N=115)

Among those who gave responses in this area, the most common duties involve the direct support of staff, whereas a smaller core of roughly a third of respondents seems to be directly involved with the design, development and maintenance of college networks. A supplementary question was asked to collect information on job functions not covered by the categories set. The 20 additional contributions reveal roles ranging from laundry and preparation of chemistry labs to creating online learning content and maintaining the college website. The final question in this preliminary section of the survey – in common with other sections – looked at how well equipped this group of staff feels it is for carrying out its role. As elsewhere, the vast majority of respondents have access to a computer powerful enough to meet their needs and, once again, just over half the staff in this cohort have been issued with a college laptop.

My college has issued me w ith a laptop for use at w ork only

No, 88.1 Yes, 11.9

The college has issued me w ith a laptop that I can use at home if I w ish The w ork computer I regularly use is pow erful enough to meet my needs 0 10

No, 58.2 Yes, 41.8

No, 11.2 Yes, 88.8










Fig 3: Equipment available for work role

8.5 Key Findings
8.5.1 College Networks Microsoft is still the dominant player in the market and the migration from Windows 2003 to 2008 is now well underway. As in the past, the open-source Linux platform is deployed by around a third of institutions, often as part of an environment which supports multiple networks, including a significant number based on Apple systems. Cisco continues to dominate in the area of network technologies.


ETNA: Technical Staff

College networks have grown ever larger and more sophisticated. Whereas in the 2007 survey 50% of respondents supported networks with more than 700 users, this has increased to the point where 64% of networks support more than 800 machines, while 55% have more than 1000 devices. 8.5.2 Wireless Networks

One other major area of growth across the decade has been in wireless networks and this has continued unabated. 86% of respondents reported that their college supports a wireless network compared to 61% at the time of the last survey. With other colleges reporting plans to implement similarly, such networks will soon be a universal feature. Allied to this proliferation is a widening of access to all potential college users and a wider reach of networks across the college estate, with increasing emphasis on providing connectivity outside formal learning areas. 8.5.3 Student Laptop Connection

As detailed elsewhere in this survey, it is becoming increasingly common for students to own wireless-enabled laptops and portable devices – as is true for society in general – and the expectation is growing that they should be able to use them in college. 44% of colleges now allow the connection of student devices to their networks, as opposed to only 16% at the time of the last survey. 8.5.4 VLEs (Virtual Learning Environments)

Increasingly, the VLE landscape in colleges is dominated by two platforms: Blackboard and Moodle. This trend is even more evident this time round as, in the period since the last survey, the UHI has abandoned plans to introduce its own proprietary platform. These two major VLE players now account for well over 80% of the installed base with other platforms encountered often in only one or two locations. 8.5.5 Sustainability

A major emerging trend is the increased awareness of the environmental impact of information technology and the steps that can be taken to limit or reduce a college’s carbon footprint. 60% of all institutions responding had carried out a review of consumption, with a high proportion adopting new techniques as a result. 8.5.6 The Personalisation Agenda

This dynamic area which encompasses ‘cloud computing’, the use of USB memory sticks, web filtering, and site blocking is one which colleges are adapting to with some difficulty. Acceptable use policies need to be reviewed to take account of ongoing technical and social developments. 8.5.7 Virtual Worlds, e-Portfolios and Repositories

These technologies have made little impact in the vast majority of responding colleges, with only a minority developing plans to make systematic use of them. 8.5.8 Job-Specific ICT skills

Results have remained largely static in this area and demand for training is very similar to that recorded in 2006. Highest demand is for training in the networking of assistive technologies and for general training to cope with the impact of new technologies on information design and teaching and learning. 8.5.9 Learning Preferences

As elsewhere across the survey, respondents are fairly unanimous in their choice of traditional face-to-face training as the most acceptable, though there is also a very high level of acceptance of self-guided learning with resources and study guides.


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8.6 The College Network
This segment of the survey sought to establish a snapshot of the standard network infrastructure in the colleges reviewed and a series of questions was asked to try to build up this picture. 8.6.1 Network Platforms and Technologies

As can be immediately seen from Fig 4, colleges typically employ a multiplicity of network platforms to accommodate the different functions they are called upon to support. Thus Windows and Apple platforms will co-exist. Windows 2003 is currently the most common platform but the migration to Windows 2008 is also well underway.
Other Apple Novell Unix/Linux Windows NT Windows 2000 Windows 2003 Windows 2008 27%
Fig 4: Platforms

8% 25% 30% 32% 7% 26% 86%

A similarly mixed picture emerges in the context of the type of network technologies in use in colleges. Again, colleges typically employ more than one technology, with Cisco emerging as the most popular. This information is displayed in Fig 5.

Lucent Other D-Link 3Com HP Netgear Cisco

4% 22% 28% 37% 40% 44% 82%

Fig 5: Network technologies 8.6.2 Network Support

There has been a growing trend in recent years to outsource at least some of the functions of college network support. Perhaps this is a necessity, at least for smaller institutions, as networks became ever more complex. ETNA supplied a range of common resources and asked respondents to identify which of them their college supports in-house and which are outsourced. The results are displayed in Table 2. It is clear from this that most resources are still largely supported in-house.


ETNA: Technical Staff

Support for College Network Resources (%) General Administrative Systems Student Record Systems Email Firewall VLE (Virtual Learning Environment) Web Hosting External DNS Network Cabling FAM (Federated Access Management)

In-House 96 92 89 86 80 73 73 69 56

Outsourced 4 8 11 14 20 27 27 31 43

Table 2: Network resources: in-house or out-sourced (N=79)

The typical network is fairly large scale. More than half of respondents described networks supporting more than 1000 PCs, while only 3% of responses came from colleges with networks supporting fewer than 100. The full picture is displayed at Fig 6.
over 1000 800-1000 700-800 500-600 400-500 300-400 200-300 100-200 Fewer than 100 4% 7% 7% 3% 1% 3%
Fig 6: No of PCs on the network

55% 9% 7%

The majority of colleges also support outreach centres as shown at Table 3.
Supporting Outreach Centres (%) Do you provide technical support to outreach centres? Is support or advice available to you when you need it? Table 3: Outreach Centres (N=79) Yes 85 80 No 15 13

However, no matter the scale of the network supported, one pressing decision which network managers have had to make is whether or not to install the new version of Office, which is the most commonly used applications package across the sector. Table 4 shows how this change is progressing with almost half rolling out the software to staff machines, while a further 30% are considering such a move. So far, under a quarter have upgraded across the whole college system.
Have you rolled out Office 2007? (%) For Staff For Students Throughout the network Yes 41 24 22 Table 4: Office 2007 (N=80) No 26 35 30 Considering 29 35 41


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Wireless Networks

One area which has seen major expansion since the first ETNA survey in 2001 is the support for wireless networks. This has major implications for the delivery of teaching and learning in colleges and has been fuelled in part by the major estates refurbishment and new-build programme that has taken place over the decade. Installation of a wireless network has major implications for the flexibility of learning provision in a college and for the security of the network itself. See Table 5.
Wireless Networks (%) Does your college currently support a wireless network? Do you plan to install a wireless network in the near future? Table 5: Wireless Networks (N=80) Yes 86 40 No 14 14

Once the decision has been taken to set up a wireless network there are further judgements to be made on the scale of its coverage and the level of access which is permitted to types of users. This can vary from college to college as can be seen from Fig 7. While two thirds of networks are open to staff, students and even visitors, a minority of colleges restrict access either to specific groups or to designated locations.

only in LR areas only in staff rooms staff only for staff and students in social areas campus-wide for staff, students and visitors








Fig 7: wireless network permissions and availability

One further major consequence of the establishment of wireless networks is the possibility it allows for users to connect their own equipment, laptops or other portable devices, with implications for network control and security. While some colleges seem comfortable with this, the majority do not allow the connection of student laptops. This is shown in Table 6.
Connecting Student Laptops to Network (%) Can students connect personal laptops to your college network? If no, are there plans in place to allow them to do this in the future? Table 6: Student laptops on network Yes 44 18 No 56 40


ETNA: Technical Staff

8.7 VLEs and Video Conferencing
Work & Home Computing Access (%) Yes No


College Virtual Learning Environment

In common with other sections of the survey, the next set of questions focuses on virtual learning environments and the engagement of staff with such technology. As might be expected, awareness of VLEs in the current group is very high.
Don't Know, 7.3 No, 1.2

Yes, 91.5
Fig 8: Does your college have a VLE? (%)

Having established general awareness we then examined the dominant platforms in use across colleges and the pattern which emerges is depicted at Table 7.
Types of VLE in use (%) Blackboard Moodle Virtual Campus (Teknical) Sharepoint Other WebCT Don’t know Table 7: Types of VLE (N=82) 46 38 8 3 3 1 1

As elsewhere, the two most significant players are Blackboard and Moodle with the former still in the ascendancy and other players barely clinging to a presence in the market at all. One other area of connectivity which has undergone rapid expansion and which has major implications both for college networks and for the way that staff structure their working patterns is the spread of high-speed broadband connectivity. Practically all staff who responded have computing equipment at home with broadband internet access capable of accessing college resources remotely. 60% of this sample already regularly use this equipment for college work, as shown in Table 8.

My work computer is connected to the fixed college network I can access a wireless network within my college I can access the VLE when I'm not on campus I can access my work email when I'm not on campus I use a computer at home I have a broadband connection at home

88 74 83 98 98 96

10 18 10 0 1 4


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My home computer has internet access I regularly do college-related work at home Table 8: Work and home access (N=82)

99 61

1 35

8.8 Emerging Areas
The next section of the survey might be the most interesting in that it covers technologies which are becoming more prominent and which mostly did not even exist at the time of earlier ETNA surveys. Technology is a rapidly changing area and colleges seek to be aware of developing trends in order to react in an appropriate manner. 8.8.1 Sustainability

The first area considered is sustainability and the steps which colleges are taking, if any, to become more aware of the environmental impact of their activities and how they can minimize that impact. Nearly two thirds of those surveyed claimed that their college had taken steps to review the sustainability of their current systems, see Table 9.
Sustainability (%) Have you taken steps to review the sustainability of your current systems? Do you employ 'virtualisation' within your supported systems? Do you employ 'thin client' solutions within your supported systems? Table 9: Reviewing sustainability issues (N=65) Yes 62 59 23 No 25 23 43 Planning to 9 14 28

At present, server virtualisation is used by the majority of colleges. It is not yet proven whether thin client is the most sustainable technology for all cases, though about a quarter have adopted it, and a further quarter are looking into it. II individual comments were received about sustainability which suggests that awareness is high. There is indication that a sustainable perspective now influences the procurement process. 8.8.2 Cloud Computing

Awareness of the emerging area of ‘cloud computing’ does not appear to be high with just over two thirds of respondents claiming an awareness of the concept. One important aspect of cloud computing is that users with net access no longer need to depend on the host institution alone for access to software tools and applications. This clearly has implications for network security which colleges are only now beginning to react to. This was indicated by the fact that less than 10% had developed a policy on acceptable use in this context. (See Table 10).
Cloud Computing (%) Are you aware of the term 'cloud computing'? Does your college have an acceptable use policy covering 'cloud computing'? Table 10: Cloud computing (N=73) Yes 69 8 No 23 49


Memory Sticks

Similar problems relating to control and network security exist in relation to the use of USB memory sticks. As this has become a common means of storing data in a portable format, then colleges are forced to allow connection of them to the college system, despite the threat to network security that this may carry. However, to minimise this threat some colleges restrict the running of portable applications from USB sticks as can be seen in Table 11. This has clear implications for the access that students might have to a range of popular open-source software which can be run from the sticks at little or no cost. The few


ETNA: Technical Staff

additional comments received in relation to this question confirmed that the main focus of college restrictions was on executable files.
Yes Do you allow USB memory sticks to be connected to the college system? Do you allow portable applications to be run from memory sticks? Table 11: The use of applications on USB sticks (%) 100 55 No 0 45


Acceptable Use Web Filtering and Site Blocking

Network security is also the focus of the next subsection which examines how colleges define and publicise ‘acceptable use’, how they monitor their networks and filter out content which they deem to be unsuitable. Respondents identified from a list of common ‘Web 2.0’ sites any to which they currently block access. The results are available at Table 12. A slender majority of colleges surveyed did not block any sites at all.
Do you block any of these sites? Bebo FaceBook MySpace YouTube Twitter Second Life Wordpress Blogger Flickr Slideshare None Table 12: Site blocking (N=51) % 39 35 33 28 22 20 14 14 12 12 53

Blocking of sites such as these are clearly seen by some colleges as performing a very important function but, as can be seen elsewhere in this report, it can be at variance with the needs of certain system users – both academic staff and students – who see such restrictions as a curtailment of their activities, leading to a potential impoverishment of the quality of the learning experience. A range of filtering software is in use in colleges. Of the products and services named by respondents, JANET web filtering is the most popular, followed by Bloxx and Websense. In some partners of the UHI, the responsibility for filtering is a function of the central UHI. Finally, the ETNA survey probes who has the responsibility for deciding which sites are blocked by college filters. In most cases, this is a decision taken by a member of the technical team, as shown at Fig 9. (Even where respondents chose the ‘other’ category they most commonly mentioned other IT staff for making this decision.)


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SMT, 21.7 Other, 30

Committee, 16.7

Technical staff, 31.7

Fig 9: Who makes the decisions on blocking? (%; N=60)


Virtual Worlds

Virtual Worlds such as Second Life have had a great deal of exposure since the last ETNA survey but so far their impact appears to be limited. As can be seen in Table 13, the vast majority of respondents have no personal experience of Virtual Worlds and the majority of institutions currently prevent access to them. Nearly 90% of colleges make no use of the technology at present and almost as high a proportion anticipate no engagement with it in the near future.
Virtual Worlds Do you have any personal experience of virtual worlds such as 'Second Life'? Do you permit access to virtual worlds via college systems? Is virtual worlds technology in use in any way in your college currently? Does your college have any plans to use virtual worlds in the near future? Table 13: The use of Virtual Worlds technology (N=67) Yes % 28 41 11 18 No % 72 58 89 82


e-Portfolio Systems

A very similar picture emerges in the area of e-Portfolios, with similar proportions not engaged with the technology and not planning to do so.
e-Portfolio Systems Does your college currently use an e-portfolio system? Does your college plan to implement an e-portfolio system in the near future? Table 14: The use of e-portfolios (N=53) Yes 13 21 No 85 70

Of the twelve respondents who went on to identify an e-Portfolio system currently in use in their college, 6 mentioned Moodle’s Mahara system. 8.8.7 Federated Access Management (FAM)

In the area of FAM, 52 respondents indicated the steps their college has taken. It is clear that over half have implemented Shibboleth either internally or externally. See Fig 10.


ETNA: Technical Staff

Implement Shibboleth (Externally)


Implement Shibboleth (Internally)


use Open Athens


take no action
0 5 10 15 20 25 30

35 40 45

Fig 10: Implementations of Federated Access Management


Online Repositories

Only a small number of respondents claim that their colleges are using an online repository and a large proportion of colleges seem to have no plans in train to do so. 8 respondents identified a repository system locally in use, but no consensus emerged.
Online Repositories Does your college currently use an online repository system? Does your college plan to implement an online repository system in the near future? Table 15: Online repositories (N=51) Yes 25 18 No 75 57


SMS Short Messaging Service

There appears to be a degree more engagement with Short Messaging Services (SMS) than with most of the other emerging technologies featured in this section. Nearly 60% of respondents report that their college currently provides access to this service with a further 19% planning to provide such facilities in the near future.
SMS Short Message Service Does your college currently provide SMS? Does your college plan to implement an SMS in the near future? Table 16: Use of SMS (N=59) Yes % 58 19 No % 42 32

Fig 11 shows the most common college uses for SMS, with student support showing as the most popular.


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Other Marketing Learning & Teaching Administration Student support
0 10

10 30 42.5 47.5 62.5
20 30 40 50 60 70

Fig 11: The purposes for which SMS is supported

On being asked who is providing the local SMS facility, 19 open text replies identified Text Tools, JANET Text and Text Anywhere as the most common providers. 8.8.10 Internet Telephony The final technology covered in this section of the survey is one which is used commonly across all cohorts: internet telephony, such as Skype. As with other groups, this technology is used more often at home than at work.
Do you currently use internet telephony such as Skype or are you considering it? At work At home Yes % 36 57 Table 17: Use of internet telephony at home and at work (N=69) No % 59 39

8.8.11 Legal Issues Innovations such as those above have legal as well as technical implications for colleges and we therefore reviewed the knowledge of key pieces of legislation related to information technology and the duties placed on colleges. The results are presented in Table 18.
I understand the legal issues associated with Information Technology DDA/SENDA (Special Educational Needs and Disability Act 2001) Equalities Duty (Equalities Act 2006) Data Protection Freedom of Information Copyright & Intellectual Property Rights Acceptable use Policies Yes % 53 53 74 64 59 76 No % 18 16 3 3 4 1 Partly % 23 26 17 29 24 14 I’d Like Training % 13 10 16 16 19 16

Table 18: Knowledge of related legislation (N=70)

The returns in this question indicate that there is a need for further training and information in this area, most particularly in the area of copyright and IPR.


ETNA: Technical Staff

8.9 Skillset and Training Needs
This section establishes the key skills required by technical staff and also evaluates how far respondents feel they have mastered these skills. Finally, we identify where more information and further training may be appropriate. 8.9.1 Understanding Key Technologies
Yes 78 77 67 66 63 63 55 52 48 47 44 31 No 6 6 9 16 11 9 16 16 19 22 25 31 I’d like to Learn 13 16 17 16 30 19 25 33 28 27 30 34 N/A 5 6 2 3 3 9 6 2 8 9 2 3

I understand the following….. The key issues surrounding network security Basic network design & operation, including the JANET network Storage and transmission technologies Virtual Learning Environment (VLEs) and Intranets Emerging network technologies How to create roving/roaming profiles for network users Issues surrounding Open Source software The impact of new technologies on ICT infrastructure design Assistive technologies How to set up and support video conferencing Emerging technologies in teaching and learning How to network assistive technologies

Table 19: Understanding key technologies (N=64)

The list of key skills which appears in Table 19 has been sorted on the basis of the level of positive responses received. It is clear from this that the basic networking technologies seem to be well understood. The greatest demand for training arises in the areas of emerging technologies. This is an area where timely and accurate information is required for this group of staff, who need to be aware of the new demands placed on systems so that they maintain the integrity and security of these systems. This is an issue in the areas of teaching and learning, infrastructure design, and assistive technologies. 8.9.2 Network Technology Support

Earlier questions have established that there is a good level of general understanding of networking technologies. Here a set of further questions breaks the subject of networking into its component parts to identify the presence of any more finely-defined areas of training need. The perennial concerns of technical staff – network security and firewalls – appear close to the top of the list but the greatest demand appears to be for VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocols). The lowest demand is for Video Conferencing Technical Support. The full list can be viewed at Fig 12.


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Other VC tech support Network implications of new build Win 2007 server Router config Wireless network tech support Exchange server LAN/WAN design Internal Security Firewalls VOIP

20% 31% 33% 35% 35% 46% 46% 46% 48% 52% 54%

Fig 12: The finer points of networking


Professional Qualifications

Due to the technical nature of the work which is often related to particular platforms or proprietary techniques, there is a wide range of courses and qualifications open to technical staff. Qualifications held and courses currently followed are shown at Table 20. As with other staff cohorts, ECDL has made significant penetration here.
Do you have - or are you working towards - any of the following professional qualifications? (Microsoft) MCP (Microsoft) MCSA/MCSE (Novell) CNA (Novell) CNE/MCNE (Cisco) CCNA/CCDA (Cisco) CCNP/CCDP (European Computer Driving Licence) ECDL ECDL (Advanced) Yes 46 21 10 6 19 4 27 4 Table 20: Qualifications (N=48) Working Towards 6 23 4 4 4 4 8 6 Don't know what it is 4 2 6 6 2 4 0 2 N/A 17 17 21 23 25 23 19 17

Details of other professional qualifications held were gathered by an open question which returned 19 responses, ranging from a BSc in Network Computing to a Prince II project management qualification.

8.10 Training and Support
This final section of the survey looked at the engagement of technical staff with online learning and then with training more generally. Most of the questions in this section are common features repeated throughout all ‘flavours’ of the ETNA survey. 8.10.1 Studying Online As elsewhere, participation in online study is a fairly limited experience with only just over half of the cohort taking part in an online course as a learner. See Fig 13. Given the staff role, the figure of only 10% for taking the role of online tutor is not surprising.


ETNA: Technical Staff

I have taken part in an online course as a tutor

No, 89.8 Yes, 10.2

I have taken part in an online course as a learner

No, 49.2 Yes, 50.8












Fig 13: Teaching and learning online (%)

8.10.2 Methods of Training and Support The group were asked to identify the methods of training and support found to be most comfortable and least acceptable. As elsewhere, even amongst this group which might be considered to be the most technically literate, the clear preference was for traditional classroom-based methods. Amongst this group, who would most likely be comfortable with the use of technical manuals and working methodically through a problem, access to the appropriate equipment and a relevant study guide also scored highly. The full details are contained in Table 21.
Which methods of training and support would you find most suitable? Traditional face-to-face workshops/courses? Access to equipment and study guides at the workplace? Occasional attendance at fora with other staff with similar professional interests? A 'blended' model of paper-based open or flexible learning supported online? Open and flexible learning supported wholly online? Advice by phone, email or electronic discussion lists? Table 21: Methods of training and support most suitable (%, N=62) Yes 89 79 66 63 57 55 No 5 11 23 24 29 26

A related question which asked respondents to describe the factors which led them to these conclusions on training methods produced only 17 replies. Over half of these cited ‘time’ as a factor which influences their choice.


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ETNA: Middle Managers


Middle Managers

9.1 The Sample
Practically every college is represented in this sample of middle manager respondents to the ETNA survey. At 365, total responses from this group have more than doubled since the last survey in 2007. This layer of staff has a very difficult role in translating the strategic vision of senior management into operational reality. 9.1.1 Age and Gender

In common with the age ranges observed across all staff cohorts in this survey, the demographic pattern in the middle manager group leans heavily towards the upper end of the scale, as can be observed from Fig 1. In fact, 71% of those staff who responded were over the age of 40. Similarly, in common with other cohorts, females outnumber males by a considerable margin. Again of those who responded 36% were male while 45% were female. (See Fig 2)
N/R, 19% 60 or over, 4% 20 - 29, 1%
N/R 19% male 36%

50 - 59, 37%

30 - 39, 9%

female 45%

40 - 49, 30%
Fig 1: Age Fig 2: Gender


College Estates Status

Elsewhere in the survey we have mentioned the major estates improvement programme which has been in progress for the best part of the last decade in Further Education in Scotland. Embarking on a new build or refurbishment programme has been a major challenge to many colleges and has allowed for radical thinking in terms of the delivery of learning and teaching and the implication for the delivery infrastructure. Many of the staff in this section of the survey will have been present in colleges during this process, may have helped in the shaping of it and are now often responsible for the realisation of medium-term strategies related to these developments. Details of this involvement can be viewed at Fig 3. As can be seen from the diagram, only a tiny proportion of colleges have not been involved in some way or other with the estates replacement programme.


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is being planned

has recently been completed (w ithin 5 years) is currently under construction

is not being considered










Fig 3: New build projected or past developments (%; N=359)


Roles and Responsibilities

Finally in this section of the survey it has been important to find out which aspect of college operations respondents have been involved in, as this impacts upon the pattern of their answers. Just under half of the total cohort worked in ‘academic’ departments. (See Table 1). However, the large number of responses in the category ‘other’ indicates how fluid such labels such as ‘academic’ and ‘administrative’ are becoming in colleges.
Area of Middle Management Responsibility An academic department of the college An academic support section of the college An administrative support section of the college Other (please specify) % 45 17 20 1

Table 1: Areas of middle management responsibility (N=361)

How these responsibilities are broken down departmentally is illustrated in the responses to two supplementary questions, as illustrated in Tables 2 and 3. It is perhaps significant for the answers which follow that the top four areas in the ‘academic’ responses are occupied by curriculum areas which rely heavily on technology and where managers and staff would be expected to have a better than average familiarity with it.
Academic Managers: Areas of Responsibility Business and Administration Art, Design & Performing Arts Computing and IT Engineering Hairdressing and Beauty Therapy Learning Support Other Health and Welfare General Studies Building and Construction Communication ESOL Response % 8 6 6 6 5 4 4 4 3 3 3


ETNA: Middle Managers

Catering and Hospitality Management Childcare and Administration Science Built Environment Motor Vehicles Pharmacy Horse Management Information Science Languages Land-based Subjects Maths and Statistics Counselling Dental Technology Travel and Tourism Other (please specify) Table 2: Areas of responsibility (N=195)

2 2 2 2 1 1 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 35

Admin Managers Main Work Areas Staff/Professional Development Student Services Commercial Learning Resources Quality Marketing Finance Human Resources Estates Other (please specify) Table 3: Main work areas (N=162)

% 12 11 9 9 8 5 4 4 2 36


Access to Computer Equipment

Middle managers are very well supplied with computer equipment which, by their estimation, is usually powerful enough to cope with the demands they make upon it. Indeed, the majority of such staff have been issued with a portable device by their college, e.g., a laptop or personal digital assistant (PDA). The Scottish Funding Council’s target ratio of one computer to one member of staff has been comfortably achieved within this cohort.
Access to Computer Equipment I have my own computer at work I share a computer at work The work computer I regularly use is powerful enough to meet my needs My college has issued me with a laptop for use at work only Yes% 99 5 90 6 No% 1 95 10 94


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My college has issued me with a laptop that I can use at home if I wish My college has issued me with a blackberry/mobile device to receive email Table 4: Access to computer equipment (N=363)

64 23

36 77

9.2 Key Findings
9.2.1 Virtual Learning Environments (VLE) Systems Development The VLE landscape is dominated by two major platforms, though colleges often operate more than one at a time. Blackboard is the most common VLE in use but this ascendancy is strongly challenged by Moodle. Although the majority of colleges have an ICT strategy which encompasses the VLE, a surprising number appear not to have publicised the strategy very widely. Only a small number of colleges have systematic links established between the VLE and other college information systems. The dream of a Managed Learning Environment seems as remote as ever. 9.2.2 Operational Aspects of Virtual Learning Environments

The VLE is now an essential functional component of the majority of academic departments, according to middle managers, though there is still concern about how to encourage staff to use the technology and to develop materials for it. Only a small minority of colleges set targets for the percentage of delivery to be achieved via the VLE. Where targets had been set there was considerable variance with actual achievement. 9.2.3 Online Assessment

Three quarters of all colleges have an assessment strategy, though there is considerable variation in adoption across departments. Currently only around half use formative online assessment, and a third summative online. Large numbers of staff are unaware of some of the major e-assessment initiatives in the sector. 9.2.4 Management Issues in ICT Delivery

Many management issues associated with the adoption of e-learning are well understood by middle managers, but quality improvement issues and reviewing progress against HMI performance indicators are areas where there is a demand for training. 9.2.5 Emerging Technologies

Awareness of emerging technologies is relatively high with examples being deployed to some extent in colleges across the country. There is a need for both information and training in all aspects. 9.2.6 Attitudes to Technology

The use of technology is overwhelmingly viewed as a positive step for enhancing teaching and learning, but there is less unanimity on how to prepare learners to use it effectively for learning, and some concerns that access to technology may not (yet) be uniform for all learners. 9.2.7 Video Conferencing

There is low awareness of video conferencing in colleges and even lower use of it, with two thirds claiming ‘never’ to use it. 9.2.8 Technology Connections and Uses

Respondents are well connected electronically, both within college and at home where broadband connections are almost universal.


ETNA: Middle Managers


ICT Strategies and SFC Strategic Objectives

While practically all colleges have ICT strategies and three quarters of middle managers are familiar with these, there is far less familiarity with the Scottish Funding Council’s Strategic Objectives. 9.2.10 Management Skills There is a demand for training and information across a range of skills from project management to disaster recovery. 9.2.11 Environmental and Legislative Background In developing areas like sustainability, the development of new communication technologies and their implications, there is a major need for reliable information delivered on a regular basis from a trusted source. 9.2.12 ICT Qualifications A small majority of middle managers have a formal ICT qualification and the vast majority of these have trained to ECDL standard. 9.2.13 Online Study The majority of staff have some experience of learning online, though only just over a third have been a tutor online. 9.2.14 ICT Related Training Nearly half of the cohort has received no specific ICT-related training in the previous session despite the increasing important role technology plays in college delivery. 9.2.15 Preferences for Training Delivery Methods of training which involve some element of face-to-face contact enjoys the highest approval ratings as this is often seen as being less likely to be disrupted by other demands on managers’ time. A learning style which incorporates direct human interaction was second only to (lack of) time as major factors influencing delivery preferences. 9.2.16 General Attitudes to ICT Greater use of ICT is generally welcomed. It is seen as inevitable and as enhancing the work of colleges at all levels. However, in the opinion of middle managers, development has to be: • • • Part of a clearly enunciated strategy Not used as an exclusive tool but in conjunction with other delivery approaches. Used sensitively with due regard to student demand and needs.

9.3 Teaching and Learning Technology
This section of the survey deals exclusively with aspects of teaching and learning, and so is reserved for those staff who had designated themselves as ‘academic’. The objective of the questions was to probe the operational and managerial aspects of the deployment of a range of technologies. 9.3.1 Virtual Learning Environments

Over the course of the series of ETNA surveys, the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) has gradually taken centre stage in colleges in the delivery of learning online. Every college deploys technology to some extent and, as can be seen from the student section of the survey, the majority of students in colleges come into contact with the VLE at some point on their course. Deployment of VLE technology, and the related materials which are necessary to populate it, are therefore of crucial importance to college developments.


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Middle Managers were asked to name the VLE(s) currently in use in their college, both in a primary and a secondary role (if any). A familiar pattern, repeated across the survey, emerges. Two major platforms dominate over 80% of the market with the residue split among a shrinking group of other providers. As elsewhere, Blackboard is the most commonly-used primary platform though the situation is reversed if we consider secondary VLEs. (Moodle, and to a lesser extent Sharepoint, seem to be alternative experimental platforms). The detailed picture is shown in Tables 5 and 6.
Primary VLE(s) in Use in College (%) Moodle 33 Blackboard 51 WebCT 1 Virtual Campus 5 Sharepoint 2 Other 7

Table 5: (N=243) Secondary VLE(s) in Use in College (%) Moodle 31 Blackboard 20 WebCT 7 Virtual Campus 1 Table 6: (N=80) Sharepoint 17 Other 23


VLE Strategy and System Links

In many cases VLEs are free-standing systems without links to other systems which exist in the college environment, such as the Management Information System (MIS) or college content repository. This survey is interested in how this deployment is informed by college strategy (where this exists) and has tried to establish the proportion of colleges that do link their systems. Fig 4 presents relevant information in this regard. 252 responses were received in this part of the enquiry. The first surprise is that, after almost a decade of investment and development, a considerable percentage of colleges either does not have a VLE strategy, or does not widely publicise its existence. Links to coexisting systems also still appear to have much potential for development, with only just over a fifth of colleges having a direct link between their MIS system and the VLE, and just over half that number linking to an e-portfolio system. Only a small percentage of colleges without such links appear to be actively considering them. The millennial dream of an integrated ‘Managed Learning Environment’ which seamlessly integrated all college systems and tracked the learner from enrolment to certification seems as remote as ever from the reality of most colleges.

the VLE links directly to an e-portfolio system





the VLE links directly to the college MIS





my college has a VLE strategy


3 3













Fig 4: (%) ( yes / no / currently developing / don’t know )


ETNA: Middle Managers


VLE Operations

The next section turns away from strategy and looks at how the VLE is used day-to-day. Three quarters of the sample had themselves made some use of the VLE, slightly more than had actually been trained to use the technology. Not all of individuals who responded had used the VLE and an almost equal number of departments were said not to have used it. This may be explained in both cases by the fact that the technology might not be suitable for deployment in certain specialised vocational areas such as hospitality. The other extreme, also represented in the diagram at Table 7, is where the VLE is now seen by over half of the sample as ‘essential’ to the functioning of their department, which itself is a testimony to how far this technology has become embedded in curriculum delivery colleges.
Using the VLE I have personally used the VLE My dept uses the VLE The VLE is essential to the work of my dept I have training in how to use the VLE Table 7: Using the VLE Yes% 76 80 51 71 No% 24 20 49 29

The issue is one which has presented a challenge for some colleges and particularly for middle managers. Once the VLE system is established in the college, how do you go about encouraging staff to create materials for it and to begin using it for the delivery of learning? One method for doing so is to set some arbitrary percentage of the curriculum or of a specific course of study as a target to be available for electronic delivery by a set date. The simple yes/no response to the question ‘does your college set targets for VLE use?’ is displayed at Fig 6. It would be interesting to probe further into this area – targets, what size? for which courses? with which learners? - although this is beyond the scope of the current enquiry.
yes 17%

no 83%
Fig 6: Does your college set targets for VLE usage?


Online Assessment

While the majority of colleges have developed an online assessment strategy this does not seem to have permeated down to all departments where a strategy exists in less than half of cases (Table 8). There is more engagement with formative than with summative assessment, where staff may be more wary of deploying online technology because of the ‘high stakes’ nature of the outcomes. There is also clearly still work to be done in making staff aware of the work being done by the SQA, the RSCs and elsewhere - and indeed of the resources that are available through item banks.


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Deploying Online Assessment My college has an assessment strategy My department has an assessment strategy My department uses formative online assessment My department uses summative online assessment I am aware of the SQA's SOLAR Assessment Initiative I am aware of the COLEG COLA Assessment Initiative

Yes 72 47 49 34 68 59

No 22 38 39 53 29 36

Table 8: Uses of online assessment (%, N=239)


Implications of Using ICT to Deliver Learning

The next set of questions looks at the how well middle managers understand the processes involved in incorporating online delivery into the curriculum, the benefits which accrue from this and the particular advantages it offers in increasing the accessibility and inclusiveness of learning in general. In all of these areas this staff group professed itself to be very well equipped. (See Table 9).
Use of ICT to deliver learning I understand how online learning can be used to support delivery of the curriculum I understand how learning can be enhanced through using online technology I understand how technology can be used to create an accessible curriculum Table 9: Understandings about technology (%, N=246) Yes 98 99 96 No 2 1 3

There are some areas within this development where training is required and this is highlighted in Table 10, which provides responses on a range of specific issues from enhancing staff competencies and developing a range of materials, to quality management. A need for training was flagged up by significant proportions of the sample in each of the featured areas with the greatest needs evident in the areas of quality, strategic planning and materials development.
I understand… how using new technologies will require different skills/competencies in my staff the range of materials available to my staff to deliver computerbased learning how to integrate e-learning into departmental strategic and operational plans how to integrate e-learning into the quality improvement agenda across the college how to review progress against college QA and HMI performance indicators Table 10: A range of competencies (%, N=247) Yes 90 64 59 54 61 No 0 9 13 15 12 Train 25 38 38 41 34


Emerging Technologies

Information Technology and particularly its application to teaching and learning is a rapidly changing area and, therefore, it is important that individuals in the middle manager role are aware of new developments, their potential value, and how they may be deployed. This


ETNA: Middle Managers

section reviews the level of awareness in the sample of a range of technologies which have emerged in the last decade and which, indeed, in some cases are still evolving. There is awareness of all technologies, to a greater or lesser extent, in all colleges, as can be seen in Table 11. Blogs and wikis have found the widest acceptance. Training is needed for a range of technologies, but the need shows strongest in podcasting and e-portfolios.
Engagement w/ emerging technologies Blogs Wikis Podcasting Videocasting Mobile technologies e-Portfolios Repositories Unaware 3 9 6 4 8 8 26 Aware 67 63 70 66 63 64 41 Already Using 26 22 14 9 15 16 20 Information Needed 8 10 11 14 12 15 16 Training Needed 25 27 30 29 29 30 25

Table 11: Familiarity with emerging technologies (%, N=249)


Attitudes to Technology

Here academic middle managers are asked to pause from considering their part in the fine deployment of technologies and to provide a synoptic view of the effect that trends and technologies have had on teaching and learning. The picture that emerges is overwhelmingly positive as can be seen in Fig 7.
learners generally have access to new technologies learners generally have the ability to use new technologies learners welcome the use of new technologies technology has the potential to enhance teaching & learning the use of technology is a negative step the use of technology is a positive step 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 1% 90% 100% 61% 66% 71% 96%

Fig 7: Attitudes to technology

The only reservations which are expressed are not directed at the technology but connected with their understandings of learners’ attitudes, abilities and access to the new technologies. This may tend to undermine the stereotypical picture of the young learner of today, fully aware of and engaged with new technology and fully equipped with the latest gadgets. This set of responses finds echoes in a similar question posed in the lecturing cohort of the survey.

9.4 Making Connections
At this point in the survey, academic middle managers are joined by their administrative colleagues and further questions are addressed at the full middle manager cohort. As with elsewhere in the survey, we are interested in the technologies that staff have access to, and in the use made of that access.


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Video Conferencing
Video Conferencing (VC) % Does your college support access to VC via a VC suite? Does your college support access to VC via desktop conferencing? Does your department make any use of video conferencing? Yes 44 22 27 No 32 38 62 Don't Know 24 36 9

Table 12: Access and Use of VC (% N=312)

In common with practically all cohorts across the full survey, middle managers are often unaware of which facilities for video conferencing are available in their institutions. This is informed by the fact that two thirds of the departments represented make no use of the technology at all. In fact, only just over 10% of respondents described themselves as ‘regular’ users of VC and these tended to cluster in the UHI colleges where it is used to counter the effect of the large distances between institutions. (See Fig 8)
regularly 10% occasionally 24%

never 66%
Fig 8: How often use VC?


Internet Telephony

In line with trends observable throughout this survey, there is awareness of IP technology, such as Skype. It is three times more likely to be used at home than at work. (Fig 9).

I use it at home


I use it at work I can access this technology at work I have heard of it












Fig 9: Awareness of IP telephony such as Skype


ETNA: Middle Managers

9.5 Technology Connections and Uses
The next set of questions explores the network connections enjoyed by middle managers and, again, widely echoes findings elsewhere in the survey. Many respondents can access key online systems of the college remotely; while in college, around three quarters have access to a wireless network. The broadband connection enjoyed at home by practically all respondents is said to be sufficiently fast and it is therefore no surprise that almost 90% of the cohort claims regularly to do college-related work at home. See Table 13.
Work & Home Computing Access My work computer is connected to the fixed college network I can access a wireless network within my college I can access the VLE when I'm not on campus I can access my work email when I'm not on campus I use a computer at home I have a broadband connection at home My home computer has internet access I regularly do college-related work at home Table 13: Work and home connections (%, N=312) Yes 92 73 77 95 96 94 95 88 No 6 23 17 4 4 5 4 12

Having established the type and speed of connection, we next look at the uses to which all this computing power and connectivity are put. Results appear in Table 14.
I can use technology for the following purposes To find information or resources To communicate with colleagues To make information available Other administration To communicate with students Financial administration Project management To improve accessibility for students Yes 99 98 96 90 74 65 61 60 No 0 0 1 1 11 13 15 11 Partly 0.7 2.3 2 5 6 12 11 11 Training Needed 0.7 1 2 3 2 5 12 6 N/A 0.3 0 0 1 6 7 3 12

Table 14: Uses of technology for job role (%, N=302)

The mastery of computer skills for finding, manipulating and communicating information seems to be almost universal. A major area where there appears to be a demand for training is in the area of project management, perhaps reflecting how middle management posts are increasingly structured within further education. Next respondents were asked about the standard skillset necessary on a daily basis for using the most common computer applications. The results, sorted on the basis of high mastery to low are displayed in Table 15.
I can… % use email use basic file handling techniques (open, close and save files) search the web for information use a word processor Yes 100 99 99 99 No 0 0 0 0 Partly 0 1 0 1 Training Needed 0 0 0 0


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attach a file to an email message use PowerPoint (or similar presentation software) create tables using a word processor create accessible documents and presentations insert images into documents use extended features of email packages use a spreadsheet insert charts into documents insert hyperlinks in documents use a database write functions in a spreadsheet create databases in Microsoft Access (or similar) use mind mapping software create a web page use project management software

99 95 94 91 91 89 88 84 80 74 69 50 42 36 36

0 1 1 2 2 3 3 4 7 10 9 19 30 36 29

0 4 3 7 5 5 8 8 8 12 14 20 13 12 18

0 3 2 3 4 3 5 7 7 9 13 18 21 23 24

Table 15: Standard skillsets for common applications (%, N=302)

Again, mastery of the standard applications and functions is manifest and these only fall away at the end of Table 15 where the applications become more specialised. The demand for project management software training is repeated across different groups in the ETNA survey. A supplementary question asked respondents to identify any further training thought to be relevant to personal interests or work challenges. Though some 40 suggestions were received, no pattern emerges from the answers which range from multimedia training to work on databases. 9.5.1 Legal Issues and ICT
Yes 60 67 79 73 70 No 12 7 2 3 2 Partly 20 18 15 19 22 Training Needed 13 11 8 10 12

I understand the legal issues associated with ICT DDA/SENDA (Special Educational Needs and Disability Act 2001) Equalities Duty (Equalities Act 2006) Data Protection Freedom of Information Copyright & Intellectual Property Rights

Table 16: Awareness of legal issues (%, N=302)

Awareness of legal issues varies across the range identified, with the highest awareness registering for Data Protection. There is less certainty in the area of legal requirements for accessibility and e-inclusion, and this consequently generates the highest demand for training. A supplementary question here produced only a small number of responses, identifying further areas where legal training is necessary; no consensus emerged. 9.5.2 Awareness of ICT Strategies

Middle managers are asked here about their awareness of the strategies which drive college ICT practice both internally and externally. 107

ETNA: Middle Managers

Does your college have an ICT strategy? Are you familiar with the strategy? Did you play a part in writing it? Are you broadly familiar with the SFC strategy?

No, 3% Yes, 97%

No, 23% Yes, 77%

No, 84% Yes, 16%

No, 44% Yes, 56%


Fig 10: Involvement and awareness of strategies

As can be seen from Fig 10, middle managers are almost all aware of the existence the college ICT strategy, while a lesser proportion is familiar with the details of it. Only a small number of managers, fewer than one in five, have had a hand in the actual development of that strategy, while just over a half have some knowledge of the Scottish Funding Council’s strategic objectives which are, to some degree, responsible for shaping the college agenda and therefore its policies.

9.6 Management Skills
This section looks at management skills, some of which are directly related to ICT; others are related to managing staff or the work environment in order to bring about positive outcomes. 9.6.1 Organisational Skills

In the context of organisational skills, we asked respondents to identify demands for both training and information. As can be seen from Fig 11, the demand for project management training is once again the most marked amongst the needs identified. Taking second place in the list of training demands is ‘e-services development’, e.g., college intranet, email, VC, VLE.
Project management e-Services development Compliance Time management Risk assessment/management Disaster recovery Procurement

I, 40% T, 69% I, 54% T, 58% I, 59% T, 49% I, 55% T, 51% I, 51% T, 60% I, 64% T, 44% I, 71% T, 35%

Fig 11: Demands for information or training on organisational skills (I = information; T = training)


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Management/Transformation Skills

In the second category of management training the highest demand was for training in change management while the largest number of requests for information came in the area of constructing and managing an ICT strategy.
I, 56% T, 50% I, 58% T, 48% I, 55% T, 55% I, 50% T, 58% I, 53% T, 55% I, 53% T, 52% I, 67% T, 40%

Benchmarking ICT & inclusion Online management issues Change management e-Business development Transformation Constructing & managing an ICT strategy

Fig 12: Demand for management/transformation skills (I: Information; T: Training)


Environmental/Legislative Background

The third set of ‘managerial’ questions looked at the background to the current ICT and quality environments within colleges. The need for information in these categories proved more popular then the need for direct training in itself.

New technological developments

I, 64% T, 47%

Technology and the HMI frameworks

I, 65% T, 48%

I, 61%

Sustainability issues
T, 41%

I, 62%

Complying with legislation
T, 43%

Fig 13: Demand for environmental/legislative skills (I: Information; T: Training)

The greatest demand appears in the area of sustainability which has been rising up the agenda in colleges recently as the serious nature of the environmental crisis facing society has become clearer. The other major demand, though attracting marginally fewer votes than sustainability, is the need for regular information on emerging technological issues and their implications.


ETNA: Middle Managers

9.7 Qualifications and Training
9.7.1 Current ICT Qualifications There are perhaps two important observations to be made when analysing the responses to this question which are illustrated at Fig 14. The first is that a slender majority of the 290 managers who responded have no formal qualifications in this area at all, despite the fact that such qualifications have been on offer in most colleges for the best part of a decade. The second is rather more positive in that nearly 40% of respondents hold a standard or advanced ECDL qualification. As with elsewhere, PC Passport hardly registers on the radar.

Other None PC Passport Advanced ECDL ECDL
0% 10%

20% 50% 1% 6% 33%
20% 30% 40% 50% 60%

Fig 14: Current ICT qualifications In the ‘other’ category, respondents cited a range of qualifications: from very basic to postgraduate. 9.7.2 Participation in Online Study

A question was posed to all cohorts in ETNA to gauge the level of engagement with online study that existed throughout the survey. Middle managers are fairly typical of the general trend in that around two thirds have taken part in an online course as a learner, but only around a third has taken the role of tutor on such a course. See Fig 15.

I have taken part in an online course as a tutor

No, 62.5 Yes, 37.5

I have taken part in an online course as a learner

No, 35.2 Yes, 64.8









Fig 15: Participation in online courses as a tutor or learner (%, N=293)


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ICT-Related Training in 2008-9

This section probes whether staff in this category have received ICT-related training in the current college session. From the 298 responses received there is by no means blanket take-up of training, as can be seen in Fig 16. If training had been received, respondents were asked to identify any such training which had been found to be particularly effective. 104 replies were collected. As might be expected, the wide range of tasks performed by middle manager resulted in a very wide range of training types, much of it related directly to the role of the individual. No consensus emerged.

no 47% yes 53%

Fig 16: ICT-related training received in current session?


Preferences for Training Delivery

Here we examine the preferences of middle managers as to the style of staff development that they prefer. Here a pattern familiar across the survey emerges. Of the 295 responses received from this group, traditional, face-to-face training finds the most favour, selected by 93% of respondents. Typically, methods imply some element of interaction with the trainer or other staff commands the highest approval ratings. By contrast, those methods which had a minimum of direct contact such as the wholly online course were rejected outright by almost half of all respondents.
Preferences for training delivery Advice by phone, email or electronic discussion lists Open and flexible learning wholly supported online Occasional attendance at forums with staff in similar professional role A ‘blended’ model of training, partly f-2-f, partly online Traditional f-2-f workshops/courses Table 17: Preferences for training delivery (%) Yes 53 53 87 81 93 No 47 47 13 19 7

Respondents were additionally asked to describe the factors which had led them to the choices shown in Table 17. 99 responses were received. These were tagged and analysed and the results are as illustrated at shown in Table 18.
Factors Influencing Training Preferences Time Preference for Face-to-Face Preference for Online Preference for Blended Model Miscellaneous Reason Distance % 66 14 4 4 8 3

Table 18: Factors Influencing Training Preferences (N=99)


ETNA: Middle Managers

9.8 Attitudes to ICT
In common with other sections of the ETNA survey, the Middle Managers’ enquiry closed with a synoptic question inviting respondents to evaluate the progress made in the application of technology to teaching and learning and to judge whether the results were positive for the learner, the college and the further education sector in general. 116 persons took the opportunity to share their view. Many of the comments were fairly lengthy, but all of them provided a sensitive and thoughtful perspective on the college experience of applying technology. Comments ranged across a wide area, so analysis must inevitably be impressionistic. Even with that caveat in mind, a large proportion of comments contained the word ‘positive’ or similar which implied that new developments were welcome and had proved their value. Typical comments were that technology is ‘the way forward’, ‘vital’, ‘overwhelmingly positive’ and an ‘excellent tool’. One comment put very succinctly the value of technology and the need to deploy it within a coherent and shared framework: “Having a clear strategy specifically for how ICT is to be used in learning and teaching, linked to a range of other supporting strategies (ICT infrastructure and quality improvement, for example) provides a very clear message to staff that the use of ICT is not an optional extra but an integral part of what they do every day.” There are clear threads in this comment that were echoed throughout: the notion that technology has become central to the work of colleges but that it is not an exclusive approach; its benefit can only be maximised when applied carefully. These ideas recur frequently in the comments. Technology is ‘no panacea’; it’s not the ‘be all and end all of teaching methodology’ but ‘a very valuable addition to other teaching methods’. The point was made repeatedly that managers have to be certain that the technological approach is the one that students truly welcome (there was some reservation on this in the FE context) and that the deployment of ICT is inevitable. “We must embrace new technologies to engage learners, further the direction of the college and keep our workforce at the forefront of technology.”


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10 Senior Managers
10.1 The Sample
10.1.1 Roles and Responsibilities 72 responses were received from senior managers in 31 colleges, which means that the views of personnel from around 75% of colleges were represented in the survey. A major renewal programme has been underway in colleges in the last few years and indeed continues in some parts of the country. Moving to new buildings or refurbishing older ones often provides the opportunity for a college to reconsider its ICT infrastructure and the teaching practices which are linked to it. We therefore tried to establish how colleges within the sample were affected by the renewal programme. The proportion of colleges involved in this activity is represented in Fig 1. In total, 90% are involved in some way.
not being considered 10% currently under construction 21%

being planned 43%

recently been completed 26%

Fig 1: Involvement in estates renewal programmes

As to role, senior staff in the sample boasted a wide range of job titles. While Principals and Deputy, Vice and Assistant Principals accounted for 42 of the returns, frequent other titles included ‘head’, ‘manager’ and ‘director’. However titled, teaching and learning and the application of technology is clearly integral to this group’s areas of responsibility : 25 responses used the word ‘curriculum’ to describe at least part of their responsibility, 15 for ‘learning’, 11 for ‘quality, and 9 for ‘ICT’.

10.2 Key Findings
10.2.1 ICT Strategy Colleges typically (with exceptions) develop a separate ICT strategy in which senior managers play a major role. However, a quarter of senior managers do not feel well enough informed to contribute effectively to the development process. Two key areas of focus in this respect are e-portfolios and personalisation. Senior managers appear to be keen to receive more information about both these topics. 10.2.2 College Partnerships Other educational providers –universities and other colleges – are the most common partners for ICT collaboration. 10.2.3 Role of the VLE The belief that the VLE is essential to the operation of the college is stronger in this cohort than in middle managers and academic staff. 10.2.4 Targets for Electronic Delivery A quarter of colleges have set formal targets for the proportion of the curriculum to be supported electronically. 114

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10.2.5 Virtual Classrooms A third of colleges report that they are experimenting with virtual classrooms. 10.2.6 Video Conferencing Senior managers are bucking the trend for the use of video conferencing observed elsewhere in the ETNA survey; nearly a quarter of respondents report increased use of the technology. 10.2.7 Information and Training Needs In general, senior managers express a greater demand for information than they do for training. The highest demand for information is in: • • • • • • • risk assessment and management benchmarking emerging technologies and their implications e-business development emerging technologies and their implications managing cultural change e-services development

Where demand was expressed for training, the most popular categories were:

10.3 Setting the College e-Learning Agenda
10.3.1 ICT Strategy Here ETNA is interested in the range of strategies in operation within a college, particularly those with a connection to ICT, how these strategies were constructed and their relation to national strategies. The results can be viewed at Table 1.

College ICT Strategy Does your college have a separate ICT strategy? Is college ICT strategy embedded in other strategies (eg teaching and learning)? Are you the primary decision maker for the college's strategic development in ICT? Are you involved in setting strategy that relates to ICT? If you answered 'Yes', do you feel well enough informed to contribute effectively? Are you familiar with the SFC’s broad strategic objectives in e-learning? Table 1: Information about college ICT strategies (N=72)

Yes % 86 86 27 79 72 83

No % 14 14 73 21 28 17

This table indicates that there may be some self-avowed gaps in the knowledge needed to underpin the creation of college strategies. The Scottish Funding Council’s strategic objectives set the larger framework within which colleges might be expected to operate, yet a significant proportion of the sample are unaware of these objectives. Similarly, over a quarter of senior staff with some responsibility for setting the college agenda for ICT feel they lack enough information to be able to contribute to the debate.


ETNA: Senior Managers

10.3.2 Strategy Elements This section looks at a range of typical elements that a college might be expected to address in connections with the typical current ICT agenda. The results in Table 2 have been sorted on the basis of the popularity of strategy elements.
Does your college have a strategy on... Data Legislation/Compliance Disaster Recovery Network Security Accessibility (including alternative formats) Environmental Sustainability Repositories e-Assessment Educational Sustainability Use of Communication Tools Institutional Sustainability e-Portfolios Personalisation Yes % 96 94 93 79 70 63 59 58 56 54 43 18 Table 2: Strategy elements (N=72) No % 1 3 6 12 22 26 32 30 34 34 43 53 I'd like information % 3 3 1 9 9 11 9 12 10 12 14 20

The strategies here can be seen as covering ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ elements; the hard associated with systems, the soft involving more direct human interaction. Clearly the most common strategies in colleges relate to governance and compliance, whereas areas which impact most directly on the individual learner such as e-Portfolios and personalisation are less common. The latter elements also generate the highest interest in more information. Looking at evidence from elsewhere in the survey, it appears that some of these strategies have still to have a significant operational impact: for example fewer than 10% of the student sample reported using an e-portfolio. 10.3.3 Promoting the ICT Agenda Turning to look more closely at ICT, ETNA now explores how colleges organise their activities internally and also how they work with external partners and agencies. The first of these areas reflects two traditional methods for helping staff maximise the impact of college ICT activity. Some colleges have typically tried to engage all academic staff with the authoring of online learning materials, using ICT champions to promote this process internally. The alternative strategy is to divorce academic staff from direct authoring responsibility and to deploy professional materials developers to create learning materials.
For developing online materials, the college has… ICT champions A separate materials development team Yes % 83 45 No % 17 55

Table 3: Internal organisation for creating materials (N=69)

From these results it would appear that a policy of trying to engage academic staff directly in the creation of online learning materials is almost twice as popular as the setting up of a discrete development unit. In some colleges both methods of development are used.


JISC Regional Support Centre Scotland North & East 2010

10.3.4 College Collaborations This section looks at ICT projects currently underway with assistance or contributions from external partners.
External partners contributing to ICT projects agencies (eg JISC, Scotland's Colleges, SQA) other FE colleges Business partners other HE institutions schools sector government (eg SFC) European partners Yes % 38 72 50 79 30 55 28 Table 4: College collaborations (N=70) No % 47 22 40 18 61 38 64 Like to % 16 9 15 4 11 12 16

10.4 College VLE
All senior staff are aware that their college has a VLE (producing the only 100% unanimous result of all questions in all flavours of the survey).
VLEs in use at your college Primary % Secondary (if any) % Moodle 31 39 Blackboard 44 23 WebCT 0 12 Teknical 14 0 Sharepoint 1 8 Other 10 19

Table 5: VLE in use (N=72)

As with elsewhere in the survey, the installed base of VLEs is clearly dominated by Moodle and Blackboard, with Blackboard the most commonly used primary platform in a large number of colleges. However, the fact that the relative positions are reversed when we come to look at the secondary VLEs might suggest that the majority of the development work which is underway concentrates on the Moodle platform. The ‘other’ platforms mentioned in the final column include Dokeos and some in-house bespoke systems. The final question relating directly to the VLE looked at key strategic decisions which the college had implemented in relation to ICT, some of the results of these decisions, and the process through which these results were monitored. The results appear in Fig 2.
college has a target % for online delilvery The VLE links to an e-portfolio system most acad depts make some use of the VLE we quality control materials on the VLE we evaluate the VLE's effectiveness repository underpins VLE materials development the VLE links to the MIS the VLE is essential college activities
0% 10% 20% 30%

26 16 49 86 65 84 44 30 79

58 36


11 3 18 7 31 52 25 18 18
50% 60% 70% 80% 90%

17 9


Fig 2: Strategic decisions and their evaluation (%; Yes / No / Unsure)


ETNA: Senior Managers

Some interesting features arise from this set of responses. For example, 86% of academic departments are making some use of the VLE which in turn explains why nearly 80% of senior managers consider the VLE is ‘essential’ to college activities - a far higher percentage than can be found in any other cohort in the survey. A similarly high proportion of senior managers (84%) report that evaluation of the VLE’s effectiveness is ongoing, though only 65% appear to have VLE quality control procedures in place. The integration of the VLE’s external system links also make for interesting reading. There are three major systems with which the VLE can currently be linked: the management information system, the repository and the e-portfolio system. Senior managers claim that these systems are linked to the VLE in 30, 44 and 16% of cases respectively. These figures are well in excess of parallel figures reported elsewhere in the survey.

10.5 Connectivity
10.5.1 Video Conferencing Elsewhere in the ETNA survey, VC appears to be a technology which is little used (at least outside the UHI) and is in decline despite the fact that environmental pressures on travel might be expected to encourage more usage. Fig 3 provides information about the video conferencing infrastructure supported by colleges.

is your college experimenting with 'virtual classrooms'? does your college support desktop VC? does your college support access to a VC suite?







Fig 3: Video conferencing systems supported (Yes / No)


Though the percentage of colleges which support video conferencing via a custom-built video conferencing suite is almost exactly as it was in the 2006 survey, there has been a considerable increase in the number of senior managers who now have access via desktop conferencing. This has increased from 20 to 37% in three years. Interestingly, nearly a third of the senior managers that responded indicate that their college is experimenting with ‘virtual classrooms’. These figures appear to indicate a trend towards greater use of this type of technology more generally in the educational context (supported by evidence elsewhere in the survey.)
Use of VC (1) (%) I make use of VC Never 53 Occasionally 28 Regularly 18

Table 6: (N=62)
Use of VC (2) My use of video conferencing is…… Increasing 28 Decreasing 2 About the same 70

Table 7: Senior management use of VC (%, N=62)

Although only slightly over half of the sample never use video conferencing there is a feeling reflected by almost a fifth of respondents that their use of VC is in fact increasing. The open question which rounded off this section asked respondents who used VC to describe the purposes for which it is used. 28 responses were received. As might have been


JISC Regional Support Centre Scotland North & East 2010

anticipated the technology was used almost exclusively for taking part in meetings and attending conferences remotely. 10.5.2 Internet Telephony This section looks at the general awareness of internet telephony, such as Skype, comparing its use in the work and domestic contexts. The results are shown at Fig 4.

I use it at home


I use it at work I can access this technology at work I have heard of it














Fig 4: Use of technologies for internet telephony

In comparison with the 2006 study, awareness of this technology has greatly increased. Though respondents are still far more likely to use it at home than at work, the gap seems to be narrowing.
How I can connect to college systems 2009 the wired college network via my work computer a wireless network within my college the college VLE the VLE when I'm not on the college campus my work email when outside the college the college business systems on campus the college business systems when I'm not on campus Table 8: Connections (%) 99 81 97 81 94 88 40 Yes 2006 98 42 78 60 87 n/a n/a 2009 1 18 3 17 4 8 56 No 2006 2 49 13 29 13 n/a n/a

Levels of connectivity have improved markedly, particularly with respect to wireless networks; the incidence of these has doubled in the 3 years since the last ETNA survey. We now turn to looking at connectivity between home and work. Senior managers are very efficiently connected in both locations. Practically all of the sample regularly do college work at home and connect via home via broadband.
I can use technology... To find information or resources To communicate with colleagues To make information available To record and save information To work collaboratively For other administration Yes 100 100 99 99 96 94 No 0 0 1 0 4 4 N/A 0 0 0 0 0 0


ETNA: Senior Managers

For financial administration




Table 9: The uses to which technology is put

A supplementary question asked senior staff to name further ICT-related skills they were interested in developing. Only 14 responses were received and no consensus emerges.

10.6 Legal Issues
I understand legal issues related to… Freedom of Information Act Data Protection Act Copyright & Intellectual Property Rights DDA/SENDA Equalities Duty (Equalities Act 2006) Yes 91 90 85 80 78 No 1 1 4 3 3 Can Find Out 6 8 7 11 10 Would like info 4 3 7 9 12

Table 10: Legal issues

10.7 Managing New Technologies & Training Needs
10.7.1 Managing Key Technological Issues A series of questions in this section looks at a wide range of managerial skills and the training and information needs of senior managers who are charged with making decisions. One clear trend that emerges from all of these questions which are variously represented in Tables 12 to 14 is that information is the key requirement for senior managers, and not necessarily training.
Managing the Application of New Technologies: I understand: The implications of implementing ICT across all departments (includes nonteaching) How to integrate ICT into the college development plan How to integrate accessible and inclusive ICT into the college development plan The advantages/disadvantages of creating content in-house against buying in The range of methodologies available to staff to deliver computer-based learning How to plan for the replacement of ICT infrastructure Emerging technologies and methods & their potential impact on cross college operations How to review progress against college QA and HMI performance indicators Little/no Some Good Advanced Not Applic

1 0 3

18 17 25

49 51 49

32 32 24

0 0 0

6 6 18 6 6

26 35 27 42 21

43 42 29 38 38

25 18 24 14 35

0 0 1 0 0

Table 11: Understanding new technologies (N=72)


JISC Regional Support Centre Scotland North & East 2010

Managers need reliable information on a regular basis from sources which can be trusted in order to make informed decisions on aspects of college policy related to ICT.

Organisational/ Management Skills % e-Services development (internet, intranet, email, VC, VLE) Disaster recovery Project management Risk assessment/risk management Time management Procurement

Training 23 20 19 14 9 6

Info 34 32 33 36 21 24

Not Needed 44 47 45 50 69 54

Not Applic 3 4 3 1 1 16

Table 12: Organisational/management skills (N=71)

Management/Transformation Skills % e-Business development Managing cultural change Transformation Strategic applications of ICT in your college Online management issues ( eg assessment, finance, quality assurance) Benchmarking Constructing and managing an ICT strategy ICT and inclusion ICT & alternative/inclusive formats (large print, audio, talking books, Braille)

Training 22 20 19 13 13 10 10 6 4

Info 42 39 42 39 35 52 26 41 34

Not Needed 32 43 41 46 49 38 56 52 56

Not Applic 9 1 1 6 4 0 10 3 7

Table 13: Management/transformation skills (N=71)

Environmental/Legislative Background New technological developments and their implications Integrating new technologies into new build projects Complying with legislation Technology and the HMI inspection frameworks

Training 25 20 17 14

Info 52 35 39 46

Not Needed 22 42 41 39

Not Applic 1 6 4 3

Table 14: Environmental/legislative background (N=72)


ETNA: Senior Managers

10.7.2 Participation in Online Learning The figure for having some kind of experience in online learning is very similar for senior managers as for others (roughly two thirds), though participation as a tutor is understandably lower, as shown in Table 15.
Participation in online learning I have taken part in an online course as a learner I have taken part in an online course as a tutor Yes 59 29 No 41 71

Table 15: Participation in online learning (%)

ICT training was received in the previous session by exactly 50% of the sample. When respondents were asked to identify any training they had had which was particularly effective, there were 22 responses but no real consensus emerged and the types of training participated were diverse. Senior managers were further asked to identify any other training needs. Once again, there was no real consensus between the 14 respondents; responses included the effective use of mobile technology, wifi and Moodle.

10.8 Overview of the Application of Technology in Colleges
In common with other survey groups, senior managers were invited to provide a synoptic description of view on the application of technology to their role and to the college more generally. Although only a minority of senior managers, 27, responded to this invitation, the majority of those received commented at length and thoughtfully on the impact of technology so far and the implications for the future. Overall the consensus clearly is that the application of ICT has been a major benefit to all colleges and that trends in modern society mean that there is no option but to embrace technology. As one senior manager put it ‘the status quo is never an option’. The effects on teaching and learning as well as college business processes, while uncomfortable for some staff, are transformative: ‘…increasingly it is clear that technology can transform a reasonable face-to-face experience into a remarkable one’. Across the whole ETNA survey, in all cohorts, while dissenting voices are heard, the dominant attitude toward the technological developments of the last decade is overwhelmingly positive. However, that positive attitude finds its high water mark among senior managers. This might have been born out of necessity but now appears increasingly to be backed up by hard evidence of the benefits and personal conviction of the correctness of the policy, which is perhaps best summed up in the following comment: “Colleges which do not embed this revolution within delivery models will be replaced by those who embrace this technology for this purpose. Not to do so is to fail twenty-first century learners who expect to develop skills that will enable them to fully participate in twenty-first century society.”


JISC Regional Support Centre Scotland North & East 2010

11 List of Illustrations
All illustrations are sourced from Flickr ( under creative commons license. Credits as follows:

Cover: Blue Sky on Rails, by ecstaticist Page 6: old railway track at finnieston crane, by bob the lomond Page 17: Austerlitz, by fliegender Page 38: 298 km/h, Shenghung Lin Page 55: Speeding train, by Dunk the Funk Page 64: IMG_039, by Driek Page 78: singular essentials: 09, by clickykbd Page 95: entering Hyperspace, by Éole Page 113: Four Seconds to City Centre, by ecstaticist

ode to bon scott, by s2art