Latest ECAR Study Highlights Students’ Perspectives on Technology
When it comes to college learning environments, the majority of students (55%) prefer some form of blended learning over either purely face-to-face or fully online courses. This is one of several findings in the 2018 ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology, released just last week.
Now in its 15th year, the report provides a detailed look at students’ perspectives on how technology impacts their academic experiences and how they are using technology to enhance their academic success.
Despite its primary focus on issues related to the work of IT professionals, the report has important implications for faculty and administrators when it comes to course delivery methods, teaching with technology, accessibility, and tools for student success. For the 2018 report, 64,536 students from 130 institutions in nine countries and 36 US states participated in the research.
Some key findings taken from the report:
Although a majority of students said their instructors use technology to enhance their pedagogy, improve communication, and carry out course tasks, there are limitations when it comes to personal device use. Instructors encourage students to use their laptops more than smartphones, but nearly a third of students are not encouraged to use their own devices as learning tools in class, suggesting that many students take courses in which faculty discourage or ban the in-class use of students’ technology.
Seven percent of student respondents self-identified as having a physical and/or learning disability requiring accessible or adaptive technologies for their coursework in 2018. Of those students, 27 percent rated their institution’s awareness of their needs as poor. That’s an increase of 16 percent over the past three years.
Students continue to view student success tools as at least moderately useful. Students view success tools that help with transactional tasks related to the work of being students (e.g., conducting business, tracking credits, planning degrees, conducting degree audits) as slightly more useful than those that help them academically (e.g., early-alert systems, academic resources, course recommendations, improvement of academic performance).
LMS use remains prevalent across higher education institutions, with continued high rates of use and student satisfaction. Three-quarters of all students reported being either satisfied or very satisfied with their institution’s LMS, and more than three-quarters of students reported their LMS was used for most or all of their courses. This likely reflects satisfaction primarily with the functional aspects of their institution’s LMS.
The full report is available for download from the EDUCAUSE Center for Analysis and Research (ECAR) website.
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