Skip to main content
Centre for Online and Distance Education

UK Digital readiness?


Written by
Stephen Brown

Attending a presentation by Ruth Drysdale JISC on ‘Digital skills for students and staff in distance education’ at the RIDE 2020 conference I picked up some remarkable insights. Over a million digitally skilled people will be needed in the UK according to the Office for Students. So if that is the challenge, what has been the response from UK universities? 

Ruth Drysdale speaking at the RIDE 2020 conference

According to the JISC digital insights survey:

  • Around a quarter (24%) of HE students never work online with others.
  • 3.8% of universities’ annual budget is allocated to supporting the digital environment.
  • Less than a third of HE staff (27%) agree they receive guidance about the digital skills they are expected to have as a teacher.
  • A third of HE staff rely most on their colleagues for support in using digital technologies.
  • Another third rely most on online videos and resources.
  • Only 13% agree they have time and support to innovate.
  • And only 9% of HE staff agree that they receive reward or recognition when they develop digital aspects of their role.

In a week when many UK universities have announced plans for wholesale replacement of face to face teaching by online distance learning, these are sobering figures.