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Saturday, November 25, 2017

New Study Finds that Undergraduates Crave More Online Learning | ElearningInside News

Here's another very interesting article from ElearningInside News published by Cait Etherington. She says, there were no major surprises in Educause’s 2017 ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology.

Photo: ElearningInside News

For four years running, the number of students preferring a blended learning environment that includes “some to mostly online components” has increased and those preferring a face-to-face only learning environment has continued to decline. The report did find, however, that tablets, which were gaining popularity a few years ago, are now on their way out as a device of preference. 

In 2017, 43,559 students from 124 institutions in 10 countries and 40 U.S. states participated in the ECAR survey. The findings were compiled from 35,760 survey responses from 110 U.S. institutions. While by no means the final word on campus-based technology, the annual survey is one of the most comprehensive surveys on educational technologies and offers valuable insights into trends and best practices.

Major Findings in the 2017 Report
By and large, in 2017, students rated their “overall campus technology experiences” as favorable. Their only complaint was a lack of Wi-Fi in outdoor spaces. A somewhat surprising finding is that when it comes to meeting technological support needs, students’ tend to take a do-it-yourself approach. As stated in the report, “Students are more than twice as likely to figure out solutions to technology problems on their own, to search online sources, or to ask a friend than they are to use their campus help desk.” While this may not be good news for IT help desks, it certainly suggests that today’s undergraduates are arriving on campus with an increasingly high level of digital literacy.


Other key findings in the survey regarded security, device choice, and student perceptions of their instructors’ levels of digital literacy. As reported in the ECAR study, “Students are remarkably savvy about keeping their technology secure. An overwhelming majority tend to secure their devices with passwords and PINs, using complex password protocols.” The study also found that “Laptops are king, smartphones are queen, and tablets are on the way out.” One of the most critical insights regards students’ perceptions of their instructors’ approach to technology in the classroom. As stated, “A majority of students said most of their instructors have adequate technology skills, use technology to enhance learning, and encourage the use of collaborative technology tools. However, students said fewer faculty use technology for sophisticated learning tasks (e.g., engagement, creative and critical thinking), and relatively few faculty ask students to use their own devices for in-class work.”
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Additional resources

ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology, 2017 (PDF).

Photo: Mark McCormack, Ph.D.
Mark McCormack, EDUCAUSE writes in the foreword, "As in previous years, we see among students high levels of adoption of and satisfaction with personal and institutional technologies, as well as optimism about the benefits of technology-based instruction for their own learning."

Of course, as this report highlights, the perennial challenge for students in having meaningful plugged-in educational experiences lies in whether and how these technologies are incorporated into their institutions’ cultures, structures, and pedagogical methods. Students’ desire for more and better technologies in the classroom does not always result in meaningful adoption of those technologies, and this may be especially so if faculty and institutional leaders are not attuned to this desire. This is one of several important contributions of this report—it serves as an amplification of our students’oices as they call out for a more plugged-in and enriched learning experience. 

May you enjoy and benefit from this excellent report, as I know I have!

Source: ElearningInside News


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