Content-type: text/html ~ Stephen's Web ~ UK Engagement Survey

Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

The survey (44 page PDF) reports that "overall, student engagement has largely returned to levels seen pre-pandemic. The increased responses on various sections, including enterprise and entrepreneurship, career development and learning opportunities, provide positive indications that there have been increased opportunities in a range of areas." It's well worth noting, in view of the drive to force people back into the office or the classroom, that there is virtually no difference online vs offline in engagement (see the table from page 16) or skills development (see the table from page 20).

I found the survey through an article in WonkHE. When I read the article I thought at first it had made a good point. "When you discover that almost 4 in 10 students are now caring for others alongside their study, you sit up and notice." Is it really a trend, though? But should we believe it? WonkHE's Jim Dickinson argues that "the 2015 data wasn't weighted – and 70 per cent of the sample were 21 and under, 96 per cent were full time." And "in 2022 the proportion of those aged 22 or over was 50 per cent, versus 30 per cent in 2015." But, first, this is just a side-issue, not on the question of whether engagement has increased. And second, the article is very clear that there is a relation between age and caring activities - it's not trying to hide this fact, it's drawing it out and highlighting it. There's more students caring for others perhaps partially because of Covid but also because demographics have changed. So, on reflection, the WonkHE response much less the 'gotcha' that you might think from reading the article alone.

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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Last Updated: Jun 18, 2024 12:00 p.m.

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