Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology, 2009

Each year since 2004, ECAR (EduCause Center for Applied Research) has surveyed college and university freshmen and sophomores on their use of technology. This is the 13-page key findings of "ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology, 2009". Good number of charts.

Highlights for me include:
  • Use of instant messages has declined, while text messaging and social networks have increased. See chart on page 5.
  • Use of social networking software (SNS) has increased the most by older students. See chart on page 6. Use by students age 30-39 tripled, use by students age 40 and above quadrupled.
  • Use of course management software (CMS) has increased significantly since 2004. In 2009, about 70.4% of students surveyed were in a class that used course management software (CMS) that quarter; an additional 18.5% have experienced CSM.
  • Study identified and described 4 types of users of mobile Internet: power users, ocassional users, potential users, and non-users. Potential users (11.8%) indicated they probably would purchase a mobile device within the next 12 months. See page 10. Of note: about 35.4% of students who owned an Internet-capable handheld device said they never use that feature.
  • Handhelds were used in class by about 32.2% of students for non-course use; 11% for course-related use.
  • The study no longer asks about use of e-mail, assuming it is well-entrenched -- yet my college student rarely checks her e-mail and as a result has missed some important deadlines or communications from her college!
  • Students like the use of technology, but want their academic experience balanced with the human touch. Apparently some professors overuse technology, while others avoid it.

The authors provide a proper citation for the longitudinal study:
Citation for this work: Smith, Shannon, Gail Salaway, and Judith Borreson Caruso, with an Introduction by Richard N. Katz. The ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology, 2009 (Research Study, Vol. 6). Boulder, CO: EDUCAUSE Center for Applied Research, 2009, available from http://www.educause.edu/ecar.

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