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.
- Learn more about the 2018 Students and Technology Research Study on the EDUCAUSE website.
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
“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
3 – Accessibility remains a Concern
“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
“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
“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.
 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