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ICT plays key role in improving student satisfaction

3rd November 2014

With spiraling tuition fees, higher education institutions are under more pressure than ever to satisfy their students. While satisfaction with teaching is relatively high, students are less happy with the administration. According to a new report from Kable, ICT plays a key role in improving student satisfaction.

The report finds that teaching institutions will spend more of their yearly ICT budget, lying at £1.17 billion, on improving the flow of information. Institutions will divert more money to integrate key systems, provide more flexible access to their staff and students, enable wider use of business intelligence tools and upgrade to faster, more resilient networks. This means institutions will increase investment in software, related services and communications – all of which support access to key data. 

Daniel Ashdown, senior analyst at Kable, says: “Higher education is a very competitive field, making student satisfaction extremely important. On the one hand, increased tuition fees are making institutions more directly accountable to students; on the other hand, there is less government funding for teaching, often meaning universities have less money overall. A more efficient flow of information will improve student satisfaction, while enabling the savings many universities will need to make."

However, greater investments in these areas of ICT will mean cuts in other areas. Staff costs account for the largest expenditure, and while universities have been reluctant to outsource in the past, momentum is growing. Hardware costs are the second largest, and with often tech-savvy students and staff starting to bring multiple devices onto campus, BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) will enable the streamlining of PC clusters in universities. This will further underline the importance of investment in flexible access and faster, more resilient networks.

These tech-savvy students will also expect less emphasis on traditional lectures and seminars, with more multimedia content. The report reveals increased investment in lecture capture systems, Virtual Learning Environments and other areas to support production of multimedia content. Furthermore, this will provide the basis for more MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses). These free ‘taster’ courses are the key to institutions building global brands, as constraints on domestic funding and tighter immigration controls make attracting international students more important.

Editor’s notes

All information used in this text is based on the Kable report 'ICT in a more competitive higher education sector to 2018/19', available to subscribers of the Kable UK service.

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