Computer News No. 138  Mar.-Apr. 2009

Results of Computer Centre User Survey 2008-2009

  1. Introduction
  2. Importance and Satisfaction of Essential IT Services
  3. About Email Services
  4. About Network Services
  5. About Server Computers
  6. About PC Security
  7. About PC Laboratories, Centrally Administered Lecture Theatres and Classrooms
  8. About HKU Portal
  9. About Blackboard/WebCT Electronic Learning System
  10. About User Support Services
  11. Overall Remarks about the Survey
 

1. Introduction

Computer Centre has conducted a web-based user survey from December 2008 to January 2009 to obtain users' feedback on the services provided by Computer Centre . We would like to share with you the survey results and findings here.

A total of 515 valid respondents participated in this survey. They include academic, non-academic and technical staff members, postgraduate and undergraduate students. The respondents are grouped into 2 categories, staff and students, and the count and percentage of total respondents in each group are shown in Table 1.

Table 1: Status of Respondents 

Status of Respondents Count in Group % of Total Respondents
Staff Teaching and research 75 175 34%
Administrative 63
Technical 37
Students Postgraduate 81 340 66%
Undergraduate 259

2. Importance and Satisfaction of Essential IT Services

In the survey, users were asked to rate the importance and their satisfaction of the essential IT services. The rating scale used was from 1 to 5, with 5=most important/satisfied, 1=least important/satisfied.

Table 2 lists the essential IT services and the corresponding level of importance indicated by the respondents.  The 3 most important IT services ranked by both staff and students are HKU Portal, Network Service from Campus and Email Service.

Table 2: Importance of IT Services to Staff and Students

Importance of IT Services Total Rating=1 Rating=2 Rating=3 Rating=4 Rating=5 Rating=
(3 to 5)
Overall
Rating=
(3 to 5)
STAFF
only
Rating=
(3 to 5)
STUDENT
only
HKU Portal 503 0.6% 0.8% 6.6% 23.7% 68.3% 98.6% 98.8% 98.5%
Network  from campus 471 1.1% 1.3% 6.8% 13.2% 77.6% 97.6% 99.4% 96.8%
Email service 498 1.2% 1.4% 3.6% 14.7% 79.1% 97.4% 98.2% 97.0%
Network from outside campus 448 1.6% 4.2% 14.3% 23.2% 56.7% 94.2% 95.4% 93.5%
User support services 365 2.2% 4.1% 23.0% 31.0% 39.7% 93.7% 95.4% 92.8%
Using PC laboratories 340 5.3% 7.9% 18.2% 28.8% 39.8% 86.8% 66.6% 90.8%
Using server computers 256 6.6% 9.4% 28.1% 24.2% 31.7% 84.0% 90.7% 81.2%
User training courses 311 12.2% 18.0% 26.4% 24.1% 19.3% 69.8% 81.5% 63.9%


Table 3 lists the satisfaction levels of the IT services. Staff members are most satisfied with Using Server Computers, Network Service from Outside Campus and HKU Portal/Network Service from Campus whereas students are most satisfied with HKU Portal, User Support Service and Email Service. 

Table 3: Satisfaction of  IT services

Satisfaction of IT Services Total Rating=1 Rating=2 Rating=3 Rating=4 Rating=5 Rating=
(3 to 5)
Overall

Rating=
(3 to 5)
STAFF
only
Rating=
(3 to 5)
STUDENT
only
HKU Portal 503 3.4% 8.0% 27.4% 43.3% 17.9% 88.6% 90.0% 87.9%
Using server computers 230 3.0% 9.1% 39.1% 32.2% 16.6% 87.9% 95.4% 84.9%
Network from outside campus 438 4.3% 8.7 % 32.2 % 39.5 % 15.3% 87.0% 92.0% 84.3%
Email service 496     4.6% 8.9% 26.2% 39.7% 20.6% 86.5% 88.8% 85.2%
Network  from campus 467 4.7% 9.4 % 23.3 % 36.4 % 26.2% 85.9% 90.0% 83.7%
User support services 341 7.0% 9.7% 34.3% 35.5% 13.5% 83.3% 77.0% 86.8%
User training courses 260 6.5% 10.7% 38.5% 33.5% 10.8% 82.8% 79.1% 84.5%
Using PC laboratories 318 6.9% 16.4% 32.4% 33.0% 11.3% 76.7% 76.7% 76.7%


Among the 3 foremost important services, HKU Portal, Network and Email Services, we are happy to see that over 85% of the respondents are satisfied with these essential services who gave a score at 3 or above.   Of course, the results also reveal and identify various areas for improvement.  We would continue dedicating our efforts for continual service improvement so as to deliver better and quality IT services to  serve the University community.  In the following sections, we shall report the survey results of each service in details.


3. About Email Services 

The bar charts below show users' responses to the questions on email services.  The questions are recapped in the chart titles.  For Chart 3.1-3.6, the annotation "n=..." is the number of respondents to this question.  Each bar is also labeled with the frequency count. 

From Chart 3.1, we see that accessing emails via Webmail is by far the most popular.  From Chart 3.2, we can see that Webmail is used by 311 students and 151 staff.  Other email programs include Outlook, Eudora and others.  Respondents may choose more than 1 email program.

Chart 3.3 shows email servers used by respondents to access their HKU email accounts.  HKUCC and HKUCC1 are email servers for staff whereas HKSUA and HKUSUC are emails servers for students.

Charts 3.4-3.6 show that our users are in general satisfied with the use of Webmail and the virus-filtering and spam-filtering measures implemented on these central email servers. 

Chart 3.1
Chart 3.1

Chart 3.2
Chart 3-2

Chart 3.3
Chart 3.3

Chart 3.4
Chart 3.4

Chart 3.5
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Chart 3.6
Chart 3.6

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4. About Network Services

This section reports the results related to network services including office/laboratory network, hall network, network in centrally administered classrooms, ACEnet and wireless networks.  

Chart 4.1-4.3 show the overall response, types of network used by the staff/student groups and usage of network services on campus per week respectively.  Respondents might choose more than 1 network service. The satisfactory level of the users in using these campus networks was high as shown in Chart 4.4-4.7.

Chart 4.1
Chart 4-1

Chart 4.2
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Chart 4.3
Chart 4.3

Chart 4.4
Chart 4.4

Chart 4.5
Chart 4.5

Chart 4.6

Chart 4.7


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4.1.  About Network Services Outside Campus

The network services outside campus were surveyed and the ratings of the external WiFi networks, HKUVPN and HKUPPP services are shown below.  External WiFi networks include eduroam, "Universities via PCCW" and "Universities via Y5ZONE".  The overall responses are shown in Chart 4.8 and the usage pattern of staff/student groups is shown in Chart 4.9.  Respondents might choose more than 1 network service.  We can see that most users were connected from home directly via ISP broadband.  The satisfaction level of the external WiFi networks and HKUVPN services were high. 

Chart 4.8
Chart 4-8

Chart 4.9
Chart 4.9

Chart 4.10
Chart 4.10

Chart 4.11
Chart 4.11

Chart 4.12

Chart 4-12

 
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5. About Server Computers

Server computers refer to the University's web servers www.hku.hk for departments and web.hku.hk for individual users, Unix server HKUSUA for general-purpose computing, HPCPOWER server for high-performance computing and Unix server BIOINFO for bioinformatics research.   Chart 5.2-5.9 show the satisfactory levels on using the server facilities, in terms of hardware and software, which are in general good. 

Chart 5.1
Chart 5.1

Chart 5.2
Chart 5.2

Chart 5.3

Chart 5.4
Chart 5.4

Chart 5.5
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Chart 5.6
Chart 5.6

Chart 5.7
Chart 5.7

Chart 5.8
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Chart 5.9
Chart 5.9

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6. About PC Security

This section focused on PC security and network abuse due to computer viruses or Trojan horses (including spyware) attacks and how users managed to clean up their infected computers.  From Chart 6.1, we can see that the virus/Trojan horse attack rate is about 50% which is considered high.  It is an ongoing task of Computer Centre to keep on working to promote information security awareness through seminars, web sites and email alerts. 

  Chart 6.1

How do you protect your PC against computer viruses?

% Total Respondents

Install anti-virus program 80.4%
Install anti-spyware program 37.3%
Perform Windows updates 42.7%
Install local firewall 58.8%

7. About PC Laboratories, Centrally Administered Lecture Theatres and Classrooms

7.1.  PC Laboratories

Chart 7.1-7.2 show that the majority of the users spend 1-10 hours/week in using our PC laboratories.  The PC laboratories at Run Run Shaw Building and at the Library Building Old Wing were equally popular.  The respondents are satisfied with the hardware and software facilities, laser printing service and facilities to purchase laser printing units, in particular through Octopus card.

Chart 7.1
Chart 7.1

Chart 7.2
Chart 7.2

Chart 7.3
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Chart 7.4
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Chart 7.5
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Chart 7.6
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Chart 7.7
Chart 7.7
Chart 7.8
Chart 7-8

7.2.  PC in Centrally Administered Lecture Theatres and Classrooms

Chart 7.9-7.10 show that among the respondents, about 2/3 have used the PCs in classrooms. The respondents are in general satisfied with the hardware and software facilities in the centrally administered lecture theatres and classrooms.

Chart 7.9

Chart 7.10

Chart 7.11

Chart 7.12


8. About HKU Portal

Chart 8.1-8.2 show that HKU Portal is the most popular vehicle for accessing the University information and applications and the majority of them are accessing it on daily basis.  The majority of the respondents found that the ease of use, response time and functionalities of HKU Portal are good.

Chart 8.1
Chart 8.1

Chart 8.2
Chart 8.2

Chart 8.3
Chart 8.3

Chart 8.4
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Chart 8.5
Chart 8-5

 
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9. About Blackboard/WebCT Electronic Learning System

Students and instructors were asked to answer different sets of questions on using the Blackboard (formerly known as WebCT) electronic learning system. Their responses to the questions are shown in the charts below.

Student Responses:  

About 41% respondents had 1-3 courses and 41% respondents have 4 or more courses on the Blackboard system.  The majority will access their electronic courses several times a week.  68% of respondents found the Blackboard system easy to use.

Chart 9.1
Chart 9.1

Chart 9.2

Chart 9.3
Chart 9-3

 
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Instructor Responses:  49 respondents (58%) had one or more Blackboard courses.  The respondents found that Blackboard was useful in supporting their teaching activities and user training and support were important and are considered good in general. 

Chart 9.4
Chart 9.4

Chart 9.5
Chart 9.5

Chart 9.6
Chart 9.6

Chart 9.7
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Chart 9.8
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Chart 9.9
Chart 9.9

Table 5 lists the useful features of the Blackboard system in descending order of usefulness as rated by a total of 49 instructors. 

Table 5: Useful features of Blackboard

Which features of Blackboard do you find most useful? Responds %  Blackboard Instructors
Posting course notes 34 69.4%
Assignment and assessments 33 67.3%
Sending email to class 28 57.1%
Automatic account creation 19 38.8%
Discussion forums 19 38.8%
Student Grades 12 24.5%
Group projects    8 16.3%
Others    2    4.1%
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10. About User Support Services

Table 6 shows the usage pattern of different user support channels supported by Computer Centre .  These channels include FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions posted on the web), CCBOX (enquiry via email), Help Desk at Room RRS-104, Enquiry Hotlines (Help Desk 2859 2480 and Computer Room 2859 2496) and General Office at Room RRS-223.  Respondents might choose more than one channel.  Among these channels, FAQ is the most popular one.  More staff enquired by sending emails to CCBOX and calling the Help Desk enquiry hotline.

Table 6: Where users go for help for IT problems 

Where do you go for help for IT problems? See FAQ CCBOX Helpdesk RRS-104 Call Helpdesk 2859-2480 Call Computer Room
2859-2496
CC Office RRS-223
Staff 54.3% 52.0% 32.0% 51.4% 37.7% 29.7%
Student  33.2% 22.7% 27.9% 13.8% 13.2% 16.5%

Chart 10.1 to 1.6 show the satisfaction levels of using the above channels which are in general good. Chart 10.7 and 10.8 show the satisfaction levels of the Computer News and training courses respectively.

Chart 10.1
Chart 10.1

Chart 10.2

Chart 10.3
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Chart 10.5Chart 10.5

Chart 10.6
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Chart 10.8
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11. Overall Remarks about the Survey

    This user survey has provided us with very useful feedback which allows us to stay tune on users' needs and expectations on the IT services that we support, give a review on our works done and identify the possible areas for improvement.  

    Same as those revealed in the past surveys, HKU Portal, network and email and services remain to be the foremost important IT services to both staff and student groups and continue to be focal development areas of Computer Centre .  Recent related enhancements include the introduction of email archive service for staff, an extension of the integrated email/calendar services which was launched last year for staff and will offer to students in the coming summer, and additional WiFi access points across the campus to provide a wider coverage. 

    Another area that we would work on is to further promote information security among University members to increase their awareness in this subject in view of their growing reliance on the use of IT e.g. through the organization of more information security awareness seminars.   

    On behalf of Computer Centre , I would like to thank those for their time and valuable comments given in this survey.  All the collected inputs are important catalysts to assist in driving for improvement in the right directions and adding new types of services to meet users' changing IT needs.