‘Your Education, Your Voice, Your Vision’: What Do Students Want?

By Steven Galvin - Last update

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The IUA Enhancing Digital Teaching and Learning in Irish Universities project ‘Your Education, Your Voice, Your Vision’ asked 3rd-level students across Ireland to project themselves into a post-COVID future and imagine their ideal learning experience. 

The campaign ran from the 17th April – 10th May 2021 via Instagram, TikTok and Facebook.

According to the IUA the goal is “to use students’ remote learning and assessment experiences to help create a better and brighter future for third-level education in Ireland. We want to imagine a future that caters for every student in Ireland, where no one is left behind.”

Below we go through the questions asked and the poll results and we discuss the take-aways from the project.

 ‘Your Education, Your Voice, Your Vision’: What Do Students Want?

In an ideal world what does your learning in a lecture look like?

56% in-person, on campus 

44% online, live or recorded

In an ideal world where will you study for assessments?

58% at home 

42% on campus

In an ideal world how much time will you spend on campus?

76% 1-3 days per week 

24% 4-5 days per week

In an ideal world what does your assessment look like?

19% mostly end of year exams 

81% mostly continuous or open book

In an ideal world how do you interact and engage with other students?

15% online 

85% face to face

In an ideal world which of the two scenarios would work best for you?

39% Lectures on campus, tutorials online 

61% lectures online, tutorials on campus

In an ideal world how do you interact and engage with staff?

82% face to face 

18% online

In an ideal world which of the two scenarios would work best for you?

31% all lectures and tutorials online 

69% all lectures and tutorials on campus

After two academic years interrupted by Covid-19, it is clear that students are clamouring for a return to campus and all that comes with it. 

It’s interesting to note that this fact is not necessarily prompted by a desire to return to physical lectures per say but overwhelmingly driven by the social connections campus life offers. The clearest majority and stand out percentage in the poll taken among 3rd-level students across Ireland is that 85% of students polled replied that they would prefer to interact and engage with other students face to face rather than online.  A large percentage responded similarly when asked about interacting and engaging with staff. Both of these high figures point to a desire to return to people, a desire to connect with others. No other question saw such large majorities in favour of one option over the other.

When it comes to the act of learning there was nowhere near such a vast difference in the choice between a return to campus or being online. This would suggest that students have become quite comfortable and have adapted well to the world of learning online. Of course many would prefer a return to lecture learning on campus but just under half of those asked expressed their comfort with learning online (live or recorded). 

Pressed further the majority of students foresaw a future of lectures being held online while tutorials would take place on campus. This makes sense, as for many the tutorial provides a much more active place for learning and provides an environment to engage in discourse and discuss ideas with other students and lecturers – whereas traditional lectures don’t always provide this space and are a much more passive model of learning and can be replicated online.

It’s interesting to note how, after a period of remote learning, students feel that it is here to stay in some shape or form. Many expressed a preference for a college week that would be made up of 1-3 days on campus over a 4-5 day week on campus.   

In conclusion, it is clear that students want a return to campus but maybe not first and foremost for the reasons we would have thought. It is the human factor rather than the learning factor that emerges from this project as being the leading factor in shaping many students’ ideal learning experience. 

Ultimately, like so much in life, it’s all about human connection.


Whichcollege.ie is a national database of universities, colleges, institutes and providers of third level, CAO and PLC courses in Ireland. We operate a national search database of courses and colleges.

Steven Galvin

Economics and History
Accounting and Finance


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