Are students getting their money’s worth?

Are UK universities failing to provide adequate tools and technology services to students? A survey of first years commissioned by Adobe suggests that many institutions are falling short of expectations

Are UK universities failing to provide adequate tools and technology services to students? A survey of first years commissioned by Adobe suggests that many institutions are falling short of expectations

The Adobe Digital Campus 2013 report surveyed 1,000 new students about their experience of university life so far. The company claims the following key findings:

55% of this year’s student intake – the first to pay the higher fees – said that their university is not living up to their expectations.

Two-thirds (63%) of students said they expected to have access to more support facilities and services than they are actually getting.

As many as half of students only have access to basic tools such as the internet, email and basic programmes, falling short of the 82% who expected their university to go above and beyond a basic technology provision before they started their course.

A third (33%) of students admitted they do not feel their university is equipped to help them get a job at the end of their studies, whilst almost half (49%) do not think their chosen institution has good enough links with business.

96% of students identified ‘increasing their chances of employment’ as the number one reason behind their decision to go to university in the first place.

Of course these findings should be seen in the context of the company behind the survey – Adobe obviously has a vested interest in universities spending money on ‘industry standard’ (ie their) software. Also, the survey was conducted across the entire spectrum of subjects, not just art and design. And we might also query what level of ‘expectation’ students have – is it realistic in the first place? Are they making assumptions or are they basing their expectations on what was ‘sold’ to them by universities on open days/at interview etc?

All survey findings of this nature should be taken with a pinch of salt but what perhaps this report does further underline is the changing nature of the relationship between student and university which the advent of tuition fees is fostering. Tutors up and down the country have told CR that students now view themselves very much as consumers – as do their parents. They come to open days armed with specific questions about what they will get for their money – including technological provision and employability.

Perhaps readers could let us know of their experiences – are universities providing adequate technology provision on creative courses? Tutors, are students coming with unrealistic expectations of the kind of support they will receive? And what about the wider question of the changing relationship between student and university – what has been your experience of that?


Infographic supplied by Adobe:

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