ECAR

2018 Students’ Use of Technology Research Study via EDUCAUSE

Each year, EDUCAUSE conducts research on students and their use of technology through the EDUCAUSE Center for Analysis and Research (ECAR). GVSU has participated in this survey in the past. (See this post from 2015: ECAR Study of Students and Technology at GVSU)

This year, the ECAR study included 130 institutions and responses were collected from nearly 65,000 students. The goal of this study is to monitor trends and to determine technology usage patterns among students.

Here are few highlights:

1 – More than 75% of Students indicate that an LMS (Blackboard) was used for Most or All of their Courses

“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.

Consistent and widespread use of the LMS and ensured access to it in public institutions can benefit students. Even the basic functions of the LMS, such as posting grades, have been found to contribute to a student’s academic performance; access to grades allows for real-time monitoring of their course progress and the ability to make mid-course adjustments as needed. And the convenience of the LMS offers off-campus students much needed flexibility in contacting instructors and classmates, accessing course content, or taking quizzes.” 1

GVSU uses Blackboard to support the delivery of content, provide live communication capabilities, and enable grading feedback in teaching and learning.

2 – Laptops are the most important Device for Students

studentsanddevices

“Continue providing students with access to the basic technologies
that are most important to their academic success. The maintenance of
desktop computer labs, laptop and tablet rental programs, and negotiated
discounts for personal academic devices enable nearly all students to have
access to the technologies they need to succeed. Avoid the creation of a new
digital divide by making bleeding-edge technologies such as AR and VR
headsets and 3D printers and scanners equally and publicly available to all
students in venues such as makerspaces and libraries.” 1

GVSU provides unique bleeding-edge technologies in the Atomic Object Technology Showcase.

3 – Accessibility remains a Concern

accessibility

“Overall, our data suggest that IT accessibility is an issue for many college students with both physical and learning disabilities. According to these students, institutions have a lot of room for improvement. Awareness may be especially challenging for the largest public DR institutions given the sheer number of students they serve, but resources to accommodate may be an issue.

To increase institutional awareness and provide better support to students with
disabilities, we recommend the following:

  • Be a collaborative partner in testing and implementing assistive/accessible technologies and the principles of universal design for learning.
  • Provide professional development to IT staff via accessibility workshops,conferences, and training; develop campus IT accessibility policies related to the development, procurement, and implementation of products.
  • Encourage the cultivation of an “accessible mind-set” across all campus stakeholders to better understand the needs of students with disabilities.
  • Offer training for faculty on implementing Web Content Accessibility Guidelines and other universal/inclusive instructional practices.
  • Educate faculty on the inequitable impacts and potential legal implications that bans on in-class use of personal devices can have on students with disabilities.
  • And stop us if you’ve heard this one before: Stop banning laptops.” 1

GVSU supports the use of Blackboard Ally (and Panopto for video captions) to provide accessibility awareness and to establish a pathway to inclusion.

4 – 62% of Students Favor Online and Hybrid Courses over Face to Face

blendedprefer

“Expand student awareness of the benefits, expectations, and demands of
blended learning environments. Students should receive consistent and
clear information from multiple campus sources so that they can make
well-informed decisions about the learning environments that are best
suited to their own learning and lives. Expose students to blended learning
early in their college careers and provide faculty who lack blended learning
experience with professional development and opportunities to teach in
these environments.” 1

GVSU offers instructional design support and assistance to faculty through IDeL (Instructional Design for eLearning).

5 – 67% of Students indicate that their Instructors use Technology to Enhance Learning, Engage Students, and Encourage use of Online Collaboration

technologyusebystudents

“Eliminate classroom bans of student devices important to their success. Although devices that can connect to the internet have the potential to distract students during class, many students—especially women, students of color, students with disabilities, first-generation students, students who are independent (with or without dependents of their own), and students from disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds—find these devices significantly more important to their academic success than do their counterparts. Classroom device bans have the potential to indiscriminately undermine students who may disproportionately rely on them, creating unnecessary (and possibly illegal) obstacles for those who may need them the most.” 1

GVSU offers support for the use of a wide array of instructional technologies such as (Blackboard, Panopto, Lightboards, etc.) through the eLearning team.


Access the full report, view an infographic, and learn more about the 2018 Students and Technology Research Study on the EDUCAUSE website.


[1] Galanek, Joseph D., Dana C. Gierdowski, and D. Christopher Brooks. ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology, 2018.  Research report. Louisville, CO: ECAR, October 2018. Retrieved from: https://library.educause.edu/~/media/files/library/2018/10/studentitstudy2018.pdf

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ECAR Study of Students and Technology @ GVSU

EDUCAUSE has recently released the 2015 “ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology” that provides insight into students and their use of technology in education.  This research has been ongoing since 2004 with 970,000 students from 161 institutions participating in this year’s survey.

This was the first year for GVSU to participate in this research study. In fact, there were 50,274 respondents from 11 countries and 43 states that participated in the 2015 ECAR survey.

The following is a summary of the key study areas with the resulting key findings:

  • Technology Experiences – More than ever, students are using technology and are generally positive in reporting their experiences. Technology has had a moderate influence in the students’ active involvement in classes.
  • Technology Ownership and the Campus Environment – More students than ever own devices that are web enabled.
  • Mobile Devices and Student Learning – While mobile devices carry a high level of interest, the use of these in education is low.
  • Technology Resources and Tools – There is evidence that technologies are not integrated for their full potential in education.
  • Analytics and Data Privacy – The majority of students see the institutional use of data as important in tracking their academic progress.
  • New Models for Education – MOOCs and competency-based education haven’t yet impacted undergraduates while:

“The majority of students say they learn best with a blend of online and face-to-face work.”


Here are a few highlights from the report, along with GVSU’s results that include benchmarks.

FACULTY USE OF TECHNOLOGY

For comparison, at GVSU, the results included the following:


USE OF LMS and COLLABORATION TOOLS

The follow graphs highlight the use of the Blackboard (LMS) and Collaboration Tools (eg. Blackboard Collaborate, etc.).

When students were surveyed as part of the ECAR study, 94% indicated that Blackboard was used in at least one of their courses with 54% reporting that all of their classes used an LMS.

BbUse

UseBbWish

When faculty at GVSU were asked in the ECAR study about their use of the LMS, they reported the following:

BbUsebyFaculty

When faculty were asked how often they typically use Blackboard, they indicated the following:BbOftenUse

Over 81% of faculty surveyed in the ECAR study at GVSU indicated the Blackboard was a very useful tool to enhance their teaching.BbValue.jpg

Similarly, when faculty were asked if the LMS is a very useful tool to enhance student learning, more than 74% agreed.

UseBbStudentLearning.jpg

Also asked in the study, was the use of online collaboration tools in courses.  Here are the results from the study:

UseCollab.jpg

UseCollabWish.jpg


MOBILE

In addition to the use of the LMS and online collaboration tools, the importance of mobile access to campus resources was highlighted in the report.  Most notable was the importance of checking grades, content, and accessing the LMS (eg. Blackboard).


EXPECTATIONS AND USE OF TECHNOLOGY

Importance of using technology and expectations for use by students was another highlight.  The top 4 included: search tools, LMS use (eg. Blackboard), online collaboration tools, and the use of laptops during class.


EXPERIENCE TAKING ONLINE COURSES

Finally, students were asked if they have taken a completely online class in the past year, and if they have ever taken and online course before.  The results are revealed in the charts below:

Related to these data above, GVSU currently offers a wide array of courses and degree programs in the online and hybrid format.  There are approximately 150 courses and just over 3,500 total student enrollments in distance education courses as of the Fall semester 2015.  In fact, this represents a 91% increase in enrollment since 2011 with 12% of students at GVSU taking at least 1 online/hybrid course.  In addition, over 500 faculty have been certified to teach online/hybrid courses through the Foundations course that is offered through IDeL and the FTLC. Finally, online and hybrid learning connects to GVSU’s 2021 Strategic Plan in objectives 3.D.2 and 3.D.3.


What are your thoughts about these results and the opportunities that are provided by leveraging technology in teaching and learning?