IT Services survey 2017/18

Thank you to those who completed the IT Services survey in November 2017, your feedback and comments form an important part of developing our services. We received almost 2,500 responses to the survey which is the most we’ve had since running the TechQual survey.

The survey prizes, £100 and £50 vouchers of their choice, was won by Margot Miltenberger (£100) & Demi Allen (£50). 

Overall, 92 % of respondents rated the service as good or very good, up 2% from the last survey.

The three areas that respondents were most happy with are:

  • Having IT spaces with my preferred choice of operating system and software
  • Having IT classrooms and study areas in the areas that are important to me
  • Receiving communications regarding technology services that I can understand

The three areas that respondents were least happy with are:

  • Having a system that allows me to easily access and manage student records
  • Having a VLE (virtual learning environment) that is easy to use on any device
  • Having tools to support common administrative functions (eg leave management, expenses, HR and finance processes)

In order to improve our services further, we have developed the following action plan based upon your free text comments and feedback. 

Response from IT Services

You saidOur plan
WiFi coverage has improved but there are still some areas for improvement We have a rolling programme of improvements to the WiFi network as we recognise that this is key to all our customers and visitors.

We are focusing on improving coverage in areas where there are gaps. We have recently surveyed and improved the WiFi in Heslington Hall & Halifax Court and will be working on other key areas such as academic departments in old CLASP buildings on Heslington West next.

External Wifi coverage is being further extended to new areas and campus bus stops

I’d like to see improvements to the Printing Service Printing, like WiFi, is a service which all our customers use regularly and we received lots of comments regarding price, faults and printer availability.

We are currently in the middle of a phased project to install brand new devices across campus to replace our aging fleet. This will give access to faster devices and allow us to provide more student printers, especially in the library to allow quick access during assignment deadlines.

Our new printing contract comes with an onsite engineer which we hope will reduce the amount of time that printers are unavailable due to faults.

Once the new fleet is installed, we will review current charges for staff and student printing, provide improvements to ePrint and introduce Google cloud printing and AirPrint

As a member of staff, I would prefer to use a different email tool to Google Mail and would like better access to training. Since we moved to Google Apps, the feedback on the mail client has been very positive from the majority of students and staff. We appreciate that some people prefer other clients such as Outlook, but we encourage all staff to use the native Google tools for the best experience.

Our Teaching & Learning Team provide bespoke training on the use of Google Applications, including Email, Drive, Docs and Sheets. Training can be requested via the IT Support Office.

You can also access our online support materials via the IT Training Webpage:

Some people would prefer that everyone should have an open calendar to enable easy booking of meetings. However, not everyone wants this but we have made it easier to have your full timetable, including your academic timetable, in Google for all staff.

More Mac and Linux classrooms and support for Non-Windows devices In response to feedback received we've added Linux to the 57 PCs in the ground floor IT study area in the Fairhurst Building (LFA/015).

This brings the number of IT rooms with dual boot Windows/Linux PCs to 7, with a total of 488 dual boot machines between them.

We are currently investing in new technology to help us manage Mac OS and will use this to improve the Mac service in the Library. This Mac service is still under review and at this stage we don’t have anymore plans to increase the number of Macs in classrooms.

As a reminder, IT Services provides support for our services on all operating systems. Please see our support policy.

How do I get support for my IT research needs? You said you were unsure of what’s available and where to get help. Your Departmental Computing Officer can point you in the right direction, or contact our Research Support Team via IT Support.

We will talk through your individual needs and advise on the best way forward.

The High Performance Computing provision doesn’t meet my needs The University is investing £2.5 million in a new HPC facility. This is a significant investment and will enable us to purchase a system that meets the needs of academics for large scale HPC, along with specialist support to help researchers get started with the service. This should be available by October 2018.

We are also developing an ISO27001 Data Safe Haven for researchers who either need to handle secure data, or who wish to use common software such as Excel or SPSS. This system will provide a standard Microsoft Windows environment that is more powerful than a standard laptop or desktop, while keeping the familiar user interface and workflows.

Getting the right help, when and where I need it We received a number of comments regarding response time for the more involved queries that cannot be answered by the IT Support Office.
Our service standards state that we “supply at least an initial response to all incidents, feedback and complaints received via our enquiry service within three working days.” We review performance and targets against these each year.

You said that you were happy with friendly and helpful service provided by staff, however, we recognise that as our service grows we need to develop our support services. This year we plan to assess the following:

-IT Support presence at Hes East
-Review of IT Support opening hours
-Providing a chat service for IT queries

Response from other Professional Service areas

You saidOur plan

I’d like to see improvements to the University’s finance systems

Many of your complained that processes for handling Expenses and dealing with Casual Workers were clumsy. The University Finance and HR teams are reviewing both of these systems, and major implementation projects will start soon to improve the way they work

A major project to upgrade our Finance system, Agresso, is underway. Once this is completed, we will be rolling-out the more modern and user-friendly, web-based version of Agresso to as many users as possible.

Finance Systems and Financial Accounts are also looking at simplifying the Agresso reports that are emailed to staff in Excel format every month.

Financial Accounts office now provides an "Introduction to Finance" course, listed with other Finance courses on the LMS. Later this year we hope to provide a combined Financial Accounts and Systems course that will cover all of this area.


The VLE interface, particularly on mobile devices, could be improved.

Our top priority is improving the mobile experience as the usability of the VLE on mobile devices has been raised repeatedly by users.
Up till now the Blackboard software we use has not allowed us to deliver mobile services to the standard we want. This year we believe the situation has changed and we hope to have better mobile support as part of this summer’s upgrade.
Student services

SITS client being difficult to navigate for staff

We are no longer developing the SITS desktop client and over the past 5 years have been moving existing processes to web based systems such as e:vision. This not only improves the process and user experience, but also improves the quality and security of our data. We aim to move all remaining desktop users away from the client within the next 2 years. 
Student services

Student information is difficult to access for day to day use - as we have too many systems replicating data or processing data: SITS, e:vision, Student Enquiry Screen, Skillsforge, VLE etc and people are confused where to go for what. 

Accessing data for reporting is difficult - due to the sheer number of systems and reporting tools and the lack of training on some of these. 

We are starting to review the systems that are used for managing student information and associated processes. The long-term aim is make it simple to access relevant and up to date data across all systems. It is unlikely that there will be one system for every process, but where multiple systems are involved the aim is to make sure processes work as seamlessly as possible.
The same review of systems will involve changes to the way we manage data including improvements to end-user reporting.
Space Management: Audio Visual

There is a lack of interactive technology in teaching rooms to make the learning experience engaging

A lot of rooms aren't friendly to modern devices for projection.

Some rooms don't have HDMI, no rooms have a Thunderbolt cable, you can't project tablets easily etc.

We are aware that some of our facilities are now out of date. We have developed a fully costed strategy to rectify this backlog of work and introduce innovative new services. If this bid is approved, work would start from 2018/19 academic year.

We are installing HDMI connections as room upgrades allow, and will trial USB-C in the latest room upgrades.

We are looking at the possibilities of rolling out wireless connections for laptops to projectors​ as part of the our funding bid to increase the investment in ​technology for teaching and learning.

Space Management: Audio Visual

Lecture recording in all seminar and lecture rooms would be great.

Replay lecture capture is currently available in 190 teaching rooms (80%), and we will add an additional 30 rooms this summer.
Space Management: Audio Visual

It can be difficult to get hold of someone quickly if a key piece of technology is not working in a booked room.

We have provided phones in every room, and an option on the phones to get straight through to the AV team. To get help call x3036.

Our service level statement can be found here.