UK universities are struggling to provide the technology environment undergraduates need to study as effectively as possible.
According to recent research conducted by VMware, only 12 per cent of universities said they were offering students the ability to use mobile devices for study, with even fewer offering the ability to attend lectures (six per cent) and connect with lecturers (seven per cent ) online.
The study also suggested that change is not imminent: only 13 per cent have plans in place to improve mobile study options.
Despite a near unanimous recognition of the value of IT, 20 per cent of university IT leaders said they didn’t think their institution was currently meeting student demands on IT.
The research also showed access to the internet in halls and across the campus still lags well behind student expectations; only 13 per cent of the institutions questioned said they offered Wi-Fi campus-wide and only 11 per cent are planning to introduce it over the next year.
The research findings contrast with the unaminous recognition of the importance of technology in attracting students: 95 per cent of universities said it would help to enhance the overall student experience and 89 per cent noted it would help to better meet the needs of students.
"While there are universities in the UK doing great things with their IT infrastructures, in many cases it’s clear that the technology offered continues to lag behind expectations of students and IT staff," said Andy Tait, Head of Public Sector strategy, VMware.
"With more competition than ever to entice students, there’s a massive opportunity for institutions to make themselves more attractive through better IT."
Simon Harrison, Chief Information Officer (CIO) at Kingston University, said: "It was quite shocking to see these results. Kingston University is one exception and has invested hugely in its IT infrastructure. Technology is absolutely essential for both attracting students and in providing them with the best possible academic experience.
"We strongly believe that universities have to constantly evolve their entire technology offerings, from infrastructure to networking, as well as the applications they make available, in order to remain competitive and to meet the expectations of new and prospective students.
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