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Wednesday, October 25, 2017

College students want more technology, ECAR survey says | EdScoop News - Higher Education

Photo: Richard W. Walker
"But many faculty members remaining skeptical of blended learning" summarizes Richard W. Walker, freelance writer.

Photo: Getty Images

College students increasingly want more online technology in their learning environments, but many faculty members are wary of incorporating blended learning into their courses, according to the Educause Center for Analysis and Research’s (ECAR) 2017 separately published companion surveys of student and faculty trends in the use of information technology.

“The best things in life are free, but students want technology. And they want their instructors to use more of it in their courses,” the ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology 2017 reported. “Resistance is futile. Students’ preferences for courses that assimilate both face-to-face instructional components with technological features of the online environment continue to gain momentum across higher education.”

On the other hand, the ECAR Study of Faculty and Information Technology 2017 also found that faculty remain “unaware or unconvinced” by evidence that blended instruction generates stronger learning outcomes than either fully online or fully face-to-face instruction.

The study concluded that “by and large, faculty do not seem to have a very positive opinion of online learning,” though they do agree that online learning helps democratize higher education and make it available to more students.

“Faculty have a love-hate relationship with online teaching,” said Christopher Brooks, co-author with Jeffrey Pomerantz of both the student and faculty reports. “They don’t necessarily think that online learning is better than face-to-face learning.”

In the survey, almost half of faculty disagreed or strongly disagreed that online learning helps students learn more effectively. “Put differently, almost half of faculty believe that online learning has either no effect or a negative effect on student learning,” the report stated.

At the same time, most faculty members in the survey — more than 13,500 individuals from 157 institutions in seven countries, including the U.S., participated in the research — felt they could be more effective if they were better skilled at integrating various digital technologies into their courses, such as media-production software and open educational resources.

“Faculty are skeptical about [online learning’s] impact, yet most of the things they say that could make them better teachers are tied to these digital technologies that one might find in an online environment,” Brooks told EdScoop. 

Source: EdScoop News

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