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Making Concordia more digital-friendly

by Mina Mazumder October 16, 2018
Making Concordia more digital-friendly

Survey findings show a need for digital literacy and data privacy.

Digital literacy and data privacy are of the utmost importance to the Concordia community, said Guylaine Beaudry, Concordia’s vice-provost of digital strategy and university librarian, at a public event on Oct. 12.

Beaudry recommitted to the university’s goals when presenting the results of a public consultation and survey conducted in the spring of 2018, which are available on the Concordia website. The digital strategy project team gathered feedback from the university’s students, staff and faculty on the renovated Webster Library and Concordia’s digital system, which include the university’s website, myConcordia portal and Moodle.

According to Beaudry, the survey results showed that 84 per cent of 115 respondents can access reliable university WiFi on campus whenever they need it. Additionally, 34 per cent of respondents agreed that Concordia protects their data privacy, and only 15 per cent said the university keeps them informed on how their personal data is stored and used.

Students “don’t know what Concordia is doing with their data,” Beaudry said. “This is something we need to work on and transmit to our students.”

The survey also found that 49 per cent of students would like to see more use of technology in their courses; five per cent want to see less, and 46 per cent are comfortable with what they have now. Beaudry said her team will conduct further research on the issues raised in the survey results.

The survey was sent to students through email and given out at the Webster Library entrance. One of the issues highlighted in it was digital communication between students and professors. “Younger students find emails to be too formal, and they don’t look at their email every day,” Beaudry said. “When they do use email, they have varying success in getting a response in a timely manner.”

According to the survey, some students felt several professors were not using Moodle as much as they would like. On the other hand, professors who responded to the survey preferred face-to-face interactions with their students over virtual ones. Many professors found Moodle to be too rigid, Beaudry said. “It explains the reason why students are confused, because they are going from one platform to another,” she said.

To prove students were comfortable with digital technology, Beaudry mentioned many students also rely on third-party platforms, such as Facebook and Google Docs.

Recorded lectures and online videos were highly requested by many Concordia students. Respondents found “pre-recorded content to be a good complement to their courses, such as recordings of past lectures,” Beaudry said. “It is something students told us over and over again.” Beaudry said the administration is looking at how they can make that a viable option.

Beaudry said they should not only see Concordia as somewhere to get a good education, but a place where they can expand on their digital literacy.

“As a community, we need to take charge and seize every opportunity to contribute to the new digital landscape,” Beaudry said. She hopes that, by being more people-oriented and focusing on developing its community’s digital skills, Concordia will become a more technologically-advanced institution.  

Graphic by Ana Bilokin.

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