Tuesday, November 10, 2009

ECAR Key Findings

The ECAR (Educause Center for Applied Research) Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology, 2009 report was released last month. Below are some of the notes I took while reading the key findings. You can view the report here.

What I noticed most:

  • communication via social networks and phone/text messaging are still on the rise while use of instant messaging is declining.
  • we need to work on using technology more effectively for learning
  • instructors need to improve their technology skills for learning
  • only half of students feel that the IT skills they gain in school will adequately prepare them for work
  • institutions will need to provide more student services and access to academic and administrative systems via mobile Internet devices
  • students still appreciate the "human touch" and want a moderate use of IT balanced with human interaction

Who are the typical respondents?

  • Traditional undergraduate students
  • Majority under age 25

Students' Use of IT

98% own computers, mostly laptops
94% use university & library websites weekly
95% use presentation software monthly
87% use spreadsheet software monthly
84% download music and videos weekly

Use of Web 2.0 Tools
45% contribute content to video websites
42% contribute to wikis
37% contribute to blogs
35% use podcasts

38% use VOIP (Skype, etc.) for phone calls
90% use social networking websites daily
90% use text-messaging (phone) daily (a 33% increase since 2006)
74% use instant messaging several times a week (a 23% decrease since 2006)

ECAR data corroborates other study findings that older users (aged 30-39 and 40+) are using Social Networking Sites more and more.

IT and Learning
89% have taken a course that used an LMS such as Blackboard
63% of students who have used an LMS said their experience with them was either positive or very positive
45% report that most or almost all of their instructors use IT effectively in their courses
46% said most or almost all instructors have adequate IT skills for carrying out course instruction
34% said that most or almost all of their instructors provide them with adequate training for the IT in their courses

When presented with these statements:

“The use of IT in my courses improves my learning.”

49% agree or strongly agree

39% were neutral

12% disagreed or strongly disagreed

“IT makes doing my course activities more convenient.”

70% agree

“By the time I graduate, the IT I have used in my courses will have adequately prepared me for the workplace.”

47% agree

Internet Capable Handheld Devices

51% own such a device (yet 35% don’t use the Internet feature)

12% plan to purchase one

Why don’t more have these phones or use Internet features? Cost. Availability of other ways to access the Internet. Find no compelling reason to. Yet, 44.5% agreed or strongly agreed that in the next three years they expect to do many things on their Internet devices that they currently do on a laptop or desktop computer.

What Students Want to Be Able to Access on Mobile Devices
  1. e-mail system (63.4%)
  2. student administrative services (official grades, registration, etc.) (46.8%)
  3. course or learning management system (45.7%)

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