Title of service: Digital experience research and evaluation service

Status of Document: This document lists and describes the services offered by Academic IT Services in May 2013

1. Introduction

The Education Enhancement Team in IT Services offer support to the collegiate University in evaluating the effectiveness and usability of technology offered to students and staff. This service is available on a consultancy basis subject to resource availability. We work closely with departments, divisions and colleges to ensure value for money in the services, tools and websites you provide.

We offer professional expertise in:

  • Evaluation of the impact of introducing new digital technologies into teaching and learning.
  • Research into aspects of teaching and learning with digital technologies.
  • Usability reviews of websites and online tools.
  • Facilitating user focus groups and surveys for clients.
  • Advising on the use of digital technologies in teaching and learning
  • Advising on the design of surveys, interviews, focus groups and other data collection methods on behalf of clients wishing to conduct their own investigations.
  • Evaluating the student digital experience.
  • Facilitating staff engagement with digital technologies.
  • Open practices in teaching, learning and research e.g. the role of open educational resources and attitudes towards open access publishing.

Our approach is both research-informed, in that it takes into account existing research, and research-informing, in that the outputs can be disseminated more widely where they are of interest to the academic and learning technology communities beyond Oxford.

2. Summary of IT Services’ responsibilities

2.1. Hours of Service

The service operates 9.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. Monday to Friday excluding University holidays.

Email queries sent to eet@it.ox.ac.uk will usually receive an initial response within five working days. An initial consultancy meeting will be offered free of charge. Requests for detailed advice or consultancy will be responded to on a reasonable efforts basis.

2.2. Our approach

Research and evaluation methods include both quantitative and qualitative approaches. Data can be collected through face-to-face interviews, extended email interviews, online surveys, ‘digital diaries’, workshops, focus groups and web analytics.

We follow ethical guidelines in our treatment of participants and the data they contribute, even if we are not required to obtain approval from the Central University Research Ethics Committee (CUREC).

Where an individual project is likely to make a contribution to knowledge in the field of technology-enhanced learning and teaching beyond the University, we will work with the client to establish an appropriate dissemination route. This may include a journal article (published via ‘Green’ open access), conference paper and/or ‘social’ outlets such as blogging and Twitter.

2.3. Charges

Initial advisory meetings and follow-up correspondence are free of charge. After this any research and evaluation activities undertaken are charged as a premium service in line with IT services standard consultancy rates.

Dissemination activities undertaken by the project team, including conference registration and related expenses, can be costed as an optional extra.

Travel costs incurred for journeys outside Oxford will be charged to the client, as per the University’s standard regulations. Such journeys will be agreed in advance and will be allowed for in the project budget.

2.4. Availability

We are available for consultation throughout the year between 9am and 5pm. Service outside these times is negotiable: for example, if it is infeasible to hold a data collection event during the normal teaching day.

We aim to respond to all enquiries within two working days of receipt.

3. Summary of clients’ responsibilities

  • Work with the service team to produce a clear definition of requirements.
  • Agree and sign off agreed costings in advance of work being done.
  • Provide regular input during the design and data collection phases, and be responsive to requests from the service team for information, data or assistance in recruiting participants.
  • Where an evaluation is investigating an initiative that takes place for several months, involve the service team as early as possible, both to ensure that the evaluation is designed appropriately and to maximise the period over which data can be collected.
  • Respect the service team’s commitment to the confidentiality and anonymity of project participants. This holds true even for projects that do not require ethical approval from CUREC.
  • Be willing to contribute case studies or examples to the ACIT website where a project yields evidence of good practice that is more widely applicable within the University.