EDUCAUSE Study of Faculty, Students, and Information Technology

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EDUCAUSE has recently released the “2019 Study of Undergraduate STUDENTS and Information Technology“, along with it’s pair the “2019 Study of FACULTY and Information Technology“.

These surveys provide insight into faculty and students – and their use of technology in education.  This research has been ongoing since 2004 with 40,000 students from 118 institutions and 9,500 faculty from 119 institutions participating in this year’s survey.

See also: GVSU participated in this research study in 2015, see: “ECAR Study of Students and Technology at GVSU


ECAR > Study Findings

While this report contains a wealth of information of value to higher ed, here are a few of the findings and recommendations from the FACULTY and STUDENT report through the lens of eLearning and Emerging Technologies at GVSU:


Key Findings

  • ECAR FACULTY > A majority (51%) of faculty prefer to teach in a blended environment that includes both face-to-face and online components.
  • ECAR STUDENT > While the majority of students (70%) prefer mostly or completely face-to-face learning environments, specific demographic factors influence these preferences. (Students who are married or in a domestic partnership, those who are independent with dependents, those who work 40 or more hours a week, students age 25 and older, and individuals who identified as having both a physical and a learning disability that require technology for their coursework all had a stronger preference for classes that are mostly or completely online.)
  • ECAR STUDENT > Labs and demonstrations, faculty/student conferences, and lectures were rated as the most preferred activities in completely face-to-face environments. (Students see in-class lectures as opportunities to engage with instructors, peers, and course content, and they see technology as a means to that engagement. The majority of students prefer some form of blended environment for collaborations or projects with peers, homework/assignment submission, peer reviewing/peer grading, exams, quizzes or tests, and asking questions.)

CZnzUuCt_400x400The eLearning team at GVSU provides support for faculty teaching online, hybrid and traditional classes. Our goal is to assist faculty in finding the correct balance of leveraging online tools and activities through Blackboard to save time and increase effectiveness. A few examples include: online content, pre-class quizzes, and communicating live or asynchronously.

At GVSU, 24.1% of students were enrolled in at least one online or hybrid course in the Fall 2019 semester. This is up from 20.4% in 2018. In addition, in the spring/summer semester, 57.8% of students were taking at least one distance education course in 2019, up from 49.7% in 2018.

See also: “Enrollments Grow in Online Learning while Enhancing Teaching Effectiveness

  • ECAR FACULTY > Many faculty aren’t using online student success tools, but when they do use them, a majority find them at least moderately useful. (This year we found that, for each tool we asked about, between 27% and 39% of faculty didn’t use student success tools, while between 15% and 27% of faculty told us that these tools were not available to them.)

CZnzUuCt_400x400While GVSU does not currently offer an enterprise early alert tool that takes advantage of data in the Blackboard learning management system such as Starfish Retention Solutions, there are tools that can be used at GVSU to monitor students.

For example, faculty can focus on student success and retention with existing  Blackboard features, such as proactively contacting inactive students, students with missing deadlines, or poor performance. Specifically, the Blackboard Grade Center shows the date of last course access for students and gradebook colors can be set to trigger alerts for faculty based on student performance.

The Retention CenterPerformance Dashboard and Item Statistics provide faculty with information about student activity as well as the ability to monitor students at-risk. Using these tools can assist faculty in determining whether students in classees are falling behind or neglecting to check Blackboard regularly. The goal is always to intervene early on, so they get back on track quickly.

  • ECAR FACULTY > Faculty’s receiving training on integrating technology in the classroom is associated with increased use of mobile technology in the classroom. (Among faculty who received professional development training on integrating technology in their classroom, fewer than half (47%) reported banning smartphones in their classrooms. Among faculty who did not receive such training, 63% banned these devices.)
  • ECAR STUDENT > Two-thirds of students agreed that their instructors use technology to engage them in class, but it is not always with the devices students already own. (Significantly fewer students said they are encouraged to use their personal technology as tools to deepen their learning. Half of the respondents said their instructors ask them to use their laptops in class, and only a quarter reported they were encouraged to use their smartphones.)

CZnzUuCt_400x400The eLearning team at GVSU provides over 20 seminars on a variety of technologies and pedagogical strategies and guidance designed to support student success each semester. Further, our team offers a yearly “Teaching and Learning with Technology Symposium“, faculty consultations, Online and Hybrid Faculty Learning Communitiesweekly open office hours, and digital studio spaces are offered to faculty so that the eLearning team can “Support faculty pursuing innovation in teaching and learning”. To zero in on emerging technologies, we offer a dedicated space (Atomic Object Technology Showcase) to explore extended reality experiences.

  • ECAR FACULTY > Faculty give high ratings to support services for accessibility technology, when they use them.
  • ECAR STUDENT > Only half of the students who have physical and/or learning disabilities and who need accessible technologies or accommodations rated their institution’s support positively. (Nearly a quarter said their institution’s support (21%) and awareness (24%) was poor or fair. Of particular concern is the 11% of students with disabilities who said their institution was not aware at all of their technology needs, which suggests many may experience barriers to disclosing their disability, including stigma and their own lack of awareness of available support services.)

CZnzUuCt_400x400The eLearning team at GVSU supports inclusive education through professional development for faculty in the adoption of Universal Design for Learning principles, along with specific support for accessibility with Blackboard Ally and Panopto video captioning.


Recommendations

  • ECAR FACULTY > Promote benefits and strategies for engaging in online teaching through mentoring and the creation of sustainable learning communities. Academic departments need to consider changes to their tenure requisites to reward faculty who choose to engage in course development and online instruction. (Faculty report strong preferences for face-to-face learning environments, but with increasing offerings and enrollments in online classes, institutions need to provide professional development to faculty who have the interest and skills to teach online.)
  • ECAR STUDENT > Continue to promote online success tools and provide training to students on their use through orientations and advisement sessions. (…explore the possibilities of predictive analytics with the use of success tools as a supplement to the personalized support of student advisors.)

CZnzUuCt_400x400While GVSU does not currently offer an enterprise early alert tool that takes advantage of data in the Blackboard learning management system such as Starfish Retention Solutions, there are tools that can be used at GVSU to monitor students.

For example, faculty can focus on student success and retention with existing  Blackboard features, such as proactively contacting inactive students, students with missing deadlines, or poor performance. Specifically, the Blackboard Grade Center shows the date of last course access for students and gradebook colors can be set to trigger alerts for faculty based on student performance.

The Retention CenterPerformance Dashboard and Item Statistics provide faculty with information about student activity as well as the ability to monitor students at-risk. Using these tools can assist faculty in determining whether students in classees are falling behind or neglecting to check Blackboard regularly. The goal is always to intervene early on, so they get back on track quickly.

Finally, the eLearning and Emerging Technologies team, along with the Office of the Provost, Pew Faculty Teaching and Learning Center, and University Libraries, collaborated on a new Online/Hybrid Orientation for students. This site is designed to take students through best practices in learning online, encouraging them to be mindful of time management techniques and skills for success.

  • ECAR FACULTY > Increase awareness among IT support services staff that quality services for faculty contribute to faculty’s overall ratings of their technology experiences. IT support staff are first responders to faculty technology issues and can make a real difference in faculty experiences.
  • ECAR FACULTY > Facilitate faculty professional development on integrating technology into teaching. (Promote professional development for faculty on effectively incorporating mobile technologies into their classrooms. Bans on all technology devices in the classroom will likely decrease student engagement. These bans disproportionately affect minority students and students with disabilities needing accommodations. Quash the “devices in the classroom” debate by leveraging mobile technologies in students’ hands to increase engagement and learning.)
  • ECAR STUDENT > Allow students to use the devices that are most important to their academic success in the classroom. (Provide training to faculty on the purposeful integration of student-owned technology for more inclusive, active, and engaged learning. Offer alternatives to in-class tech bans, such as involving students in the development of their class’s technology policy and designated seating for device users.)

CZnzUuCt_400x400Our eLearning and Emerging Technologies team provides a wide array of services and resources designed to facilitate digital learning at GVSU through supporting faculty in delivering high quality, innovative teaching.

We support faculty, contribute to teaching excellence, and enhance student success through:

Our eLearning team encourages faculty to review our website, follow and like us on  social media (GVSUeLearn on Twitter, GVSUeLearn on Facebook, listen in on our  teaching and technology podcast (T-Squared), read our email newsletters, and to stay up to date by viewing our gvsuelearn.wordpress.com blog highlights as well!

CZnzUuCt_400x400Tbe eLearning team facilitates 3 Online and Hybrid Faculty Learning Communities across all GVSU campus locations, designed to explore best practices and pedagogy in teaching at a distance, while encouraging learning from peers. Further our team provides over 20 seminars on a variety of technologies and pedagogical strategies and guidance designed to best support faculty. Finally, we offer a yearly “Teaching and Learning with Technology Symposium“, faculty consultations, weekly open office hours, and digital studio spaces are offered to faculty so that the eLearning team can “Support faculty pursuing innovation in teaching and learning”.

  • ECAR FACULTY > Increase faculty awareness of student needs and accessibility support services, particularly among non-AA institutions. (Disability disclosure rates remain low among students, limiting faculty awareness and ability to address accessibility needs in the classroom. When faculty use accessibility support services, however, they report high levels of satisfaction with those services.)
  • ECAR STUDENT > Establish a campus community to address accessibility issues and give “accessibility evangelists” a seat at the table. Colleagues and students with disabilities can be valuable consultants who offer perspectives on the barriers they experience with tech inaccessibility in their learning environments. Partner with units across campus such as disability services, advisement, health services, and admissions to educate all students on the available accessible technology services and how to request them. Tap the expertise of teaching and learning centers and instructional designers to train faculty on the universal design for learning (UDL) framework to promote inclusive strategies that benefit all learners.

CZnzUuCt_400x400The eLearning team at GVSU supports inclusive education through professional development for faculty in the adoption of Universal Design for Learning principles, along with specific support for accessibility with Blackboard Ally and Panopto video captioning.

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