2009 Student Technology Survey – Post 12

One of my goals with this survey is to inform students about services available as well as gather information from them. The final two questions on the survey fall into this category. Inside Desire2Learn we provide an optional tutorial titled “LSC Online Skills” that new students are encouraged to use to learn about course navigation, technology requirements, word processing expectations, and how to use various tools inside D2L. Question 24 is used to determine how many students have already used the tutorial or are planning to do so (the survey is given at the very beginning of the semester), and also to help inform students that this resource is available.

The survey indicates that only about 27% of the students have gone through the tutorial, that 36% are planning to use the tutorial, and that 36% DON’T plan to use the tutorial.

Question 25 is similar in that we also use a D2L course shell to provide information in each student’s account about academic dishonesty and plagiarism. The tutorial is titled “Academic Honesty at LSC.” Several instructors have included a requirement at the beginning of their courses for the students to go into the utorial and report back in some form about something they learned in there.

Only 25% of the students report that they are NOT planning to visit the academic honesty tutorial, and there are 35% that have already done so. I was initially a little surprised that more students were using this tutorial than the online skills tutorial. Most likely that is attributable to the directions that students are receiving from their faculty members.

That is the end of the questions for the LSC Student Technology Survey for 2009. Hallelujah.

2009 Student Technology Survey – Post 11

Question 22 was mainly interesting to me with regard to the percentage of our students who have never used some of the services that we provide them. Below is an approximation of what percentage of our online students have NEVER used these services:

  • Online library services = 59%
  • Online career services = 82%
  • Online tutoring services = 77%
  • e-Campus Help Desk = 76%
  • Student web portal = 33%
  • Online bookstore = 52%
  • Minnesota Online website = 69%

Click image to enlarge

2009 Student Technology Survey – Post 10

The results from question 18 indicate that about 30% of our students do not consistently protect their computers with anti-virus software. Granted, a small percentage are not using Windows-based machines and probably don’t have the same concerns as a Windows user, but that percentage is relatively small. This begs the question of how best the college should protect the networks and other users from the (potentially) virus-carrying student users. (Click screenshots to enlarge)

Question 19 indicates that over 94% of our online students have Internet access at home. Clearly, not having access at home would be a disadvantage for most students.

Question 20 below indicates that over 90% of our students access their online courses via a broadband connection. That may be closer to 95% depending on what the “Other” category might include for ways of accessing the Internet.

From question 21 above, you can see that 70% of our online students live within 30 miles from our main cmapus. The percentage of online students who live further away than 30 miles has actualy shrank in the past couple of years. I mainly attribute that shrinkage in the attendance of students at a distance to the greatly increased offerings in similar online learning opportunities from many of our sister institutions within Minnesota.

2009 Student Technology Survey – Post 9

Student Uses of Web 2.0 Tools

I added a new question for the first time this year in an effort to get at the level of usage of various Web 2.0 tools by students. Of course some students have used these tools because they were assigned to do so by one of their instructors, although that appears to be a fairly small phenomena at my school. This data helps debunk the theory that some people promote, thinking that all the students (or maybe all of Gen Y) are using these web tools all the time. Wrong again, Kemo Sabe.

This is a big chart, sorry about that. You probably want to view the chart full-size at Flickr so that you can read it better.

Out of 1,080 students, only 14 say they have used Delicious, and only 2 of them use it frequently. About 20% of our students use Gmail, but less than 20 people (17) use Meebo for instant messaging. About 3.5% of our students use Twitter. Only 6 of our students say they have used Second Life occasionally, frequently, or very frequently. By contrast, 73% say they use YouTube – so they’re clearly using some of these tools – butnot many of the tools that are considered more mainstream by the people I hang with. (click chart to enlarge)

The results here remind me of a poster I put together for use in workshops whenever people start thinking that everyone is using these Web 2.0 tools:

Original photo (CC) by ocean.flynn

2009 Student Technology Survey – Post 8

Question 14 asks the students about how much they use some of the various web services. I ask them which they use “regularly.” Blogs come in at less than 10%, wikis at 9%, Skype and similar at about 6% and podcasts at only 5%. Social networking sites such as FaceBook (59%) and MySpace (35%) are popular, but not as much as I would have expected. As soon as I can get the individual data report to run (if I can at all), I will be able to slice the data to look for age and gender differences in some of these sites. Instant messaging (28%) will probably also have some interesting data when broken down by age. (Click screenshot to enlarge)

Online shopping and online banking come in at lower percentages than when I ask the same questions of the educator audiences at presentations and workshops. Still, 64% engage in online banking.

For all the talk about electronic portfolios in higher education, our students come in at about 2% usage of this tool. Ouch.

Questions 15 & 16 aren’t interesting enough (to me, at least) to warrant inclusion in the blog. You can see the charts here. Question 15 asks about how many previous online courses they have taken: 28% are newbies but 36% have taken three or more previous online courses. Question 16 asks whether they intend to take more online courses: 14% don’t plan on it, but the majority do expect to.

2009 Student Technology Survey – Post 7

Question 13 looks at the technology devices that our students have and use. Digital still cameras top the list at over 78% ownership. Yes, most digital cameras also shoot video which means that the need to have a stand-alone digital video cam is decreasing all the time. Only a little over a quarter of the students report having a video camera. The biggest surprise to me is probably the less than a quarter of the students who have a webcam for their computer – either built-in or attached. Apparently the image of all the young people flirting on Stickam is not all that true. Of course, a lot of our students are not young, but still, a webcam is a great communication tool, IMO. (click screenshot to enlarge)

Laptop ownership exceeds desktop computer ownership, with a fair number of students having both. Less than half the students have a Wii, PS3, Xbox or similar gaming console. Makes a person question all the talk about how we need to develop all kinds of educational video games for our students. Cell phone ownership is high as would be expected, although not all students have one. Also, 16% have a cell phone but don’t have the capability of sending (or receiving, most likely) a text message. That also shows that we wouldn’t be ready to go to a service like Poll Everywhere (which I do like) on an exclusive basis, nor can we rely on text messaging as the major (or only) mode of communication in an emergency situation.

2009 Student Technology Survey – Post 6

Question 10 asked about which programs students were enrolled in. Nothing too exciting there.

Question 11 looks at Internet browser usage by students. Almost 90% of the students use either IE or Firefox, with IE still leading the way by more than a 2-to-1 margin. Still, the usage of Firefox has increased in the past couple of years; from 3% in 2005, to 9% in 2006 and now 21.6% in 2008 (no survey given in 2007). Me? I use IE only when I absolutely have to. Firefox first choice, use Chrome and Flock quite often as well. In fact, it’s not unusual for me to have all three of those browsers running at the same time. I also use Safari on a MacBook and I use Mozilla SeaMonkey. I also like ATT Pogo, but I’m not sure if it is going to continue or not. Maxthon and Avant Browser have some positive qualities as well. (Click screenshot to enlarge)

Nothing much different about question 11 where students indicate how many online courses they are taking during the current semester. We have lots of students who take only 1 or 2 online courses to fill in their on-ground schedule, plus we also have many students who are attending other colleges and taking one or two courses from us that count toward their degree programs at other schools.

2009 Student Technology Survey – Post 5

Question #9 in the 2009 LSC Student Technology Survey took a look at student uses of the LSC student e-mail system. Each student is assigned a student.lsc.edu address when they enroll at LSC. We have a college policy that makes e-mail an official means of communication for the college. We have the normal issues of getting students to read their e-mail when we send them out “important” messages – and yes, “importance” is definitely in the eye of the beholder. Our students think that much of the mail we send to them is SPAM. Of course the sender doesn’t think so. We are looking at several opt-in newsletters as ways of cutting down on the messages that not all students want to see. We’ll see how well that works. (Click image to enlarge)

As we saw in a previous post, most students (87%) have one or more additional e-mail accounts besides their LSC student account. We’ve often speculated that many of the students automatically forward their LSC message to another account. Mostly wrong – only 2.7% of the students report doing this.

About 80% of the students consider their school account to be a secondary e-mail account, not their primary account. That doesn’t surprise me at all. 11% say they will continue to use their LSC account after they leave the college. We have continuing conversations about whether we should give students a lifetime e-mail account in order to develop a more active alumni community and to keep some sort of tie to the college after they leave. Not sure how to read into the 11% figure. Not sure if that will be worth the effort. We may want to consider some sort of free option (Google, MS, etc) that allows them to keep an LSC e-mail addy without us having to manage their accounts on a regular basis. Again, we’ll see.

The most surprising news to me was the fact that 55% access their e-mail account through the student portal. The portal is less than two years old and I wasn’t sure how much traffic was going through the portal since they can still access all the services (including e-mail) without going into the portal. The portal is intended to be a single sign-on, one-stop-shop for all of our e-services. Quite frankly I didn’t think that this number of students were using it on a regular basis (at least not yet). So that’s a good thing.

2009 Student Technology Survey – Post 4

Question 6: During the current term, are you a part-time or full-time student? Full-time = 59%, part-time = 40%.

Question 7: Will you be employed during the upcoming (current) semester? No = 18.5%, Part-time = 55%, Full-time = 24.5% (Link to image of questions 6 & 7)

Question 8: How many hours each week, on average, do you normally spend using a computer or similar device (smart phone, etc) for each of the following activities? A) class assignments, B) playing computer games, C) online shopping and banking, D) e-communications, other than e-mail, E) reading and writing e-mail messages, F) listening to digital music, G) reading or writing blogs, H) Internet surfing for pleasure. (Click photo to enlarge)

  • Only a few students (3.5%) spend much time (6 hours or more) reading and writing blogs each week. This helps confirm my suspicions that blogs are for old people (not that there’s anything wrong with old people).
  • 32% say they don’t listen to digital music (or less than one hour weekly, anyway). That number is higher than I would expect.
  • 24% say they don’t surf the Net for pleasure (really, not any kind of pleasure?). What the heck do they do with their lives? We may need some sort of intervention here.
  • 55% say they spend time communicating online in ways other than e-mail. In a future post you’ll see the frequency with which they uses some of the other communications tools.
  • Curious as to why a significantly larger percentage (about 15%) chose not to answer the questions about playing computer games and also about reading/writing blogs. Poor wording, or what?

2009 Student Technology Survey – Post 3

The wording for this question is a bit long-winded, but I really wanted to find out about the students’ self-assessment of their computer skills and ALSO about whether they have concerns about whether their skills will be sufficient for taking online courses. Next time I will try to find a better layout for the question so that there is not so much text. (Click image to enlarge)

Basically, 2/3 believe that they are experienced computer users, and only 4% consider themselves to be inexperienced with computers.

69% have no concerns about having the computer skills needed for an online course, while 30% do have some concerns. Of course this survey questions really begs the next question: what ARE the computer skills needed for online courses? We’ve debated that one a lot. Seems to be a lawyerly answer to that question: “It Depends!!”