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.
When faculty at GVSU were asked in the ECAR study about their use of the LMS, they reported the following:
When faculty were asked how often they typically use Blackboard, they indicated the following:
Over 81% of faculty surveyed in the ECAR study at GVSU indicated the Blackboard was a very useful tool to enhance their teaching.
Similarly, when faculty were asked if the LMS is a very useful tool to enhance student learning, more than 74% agreed.
Also asked in the study, was the use of online collaboration tools in courses. Here are the results from the study:
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?