STUDENT EXPERIENCE OF UNIVERSITY EMAIL COMMUNICATION

L. Robson, L. Cook, N. Habgood

Open University (UNITED KINGDOM)
Since email access has become almost universal, Universities have increasingly used email as a key communication channel. This project investigated the number and origin of communications to students on 3 first year undergraduate STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) modules. The modules were: S142; Topics in Science, SDK125 Introducing Health Sciences and U116 Environment: Journeys through a changing World, which had 838, 824 and 494 students respectively on the February to October 2015 presentation.

A quantitative analysis of the number and type of emails sent to students on these modules revealed an average and maximum number of email communications per student on each module was S142: average 38, maximum 59, SDK125: average 67, maximum 82, U116: average 45, maximum 83. These figures are for students studying a single module over 31 weeks.

Qualitative analysis from interviews undertaken with 40 students from each module to find out how they felt about the number and type of communications they were receiving revealed that students appreciated email as the main form of communication from the university, although they underestimated quite significantly the number of emails they had received.