2008 Surveys on Learning and Scholarly Technologies: Final Report

Research Research Projects 2008 Surveys on Learning and Scholarly Technologies: Final Report

The Executive Summary of the report is reproduced below.

Resources

2008 Surveys on Learning and Scholarly Technologies: Final Report
2008 Survey on Learning and Scholarly Technologies: Faculty
2008 Survey on Learning and Scholarly Technologies: Teaching Assistants
2008 Survey on Learning and Scholarly Technologies: Students
2008 Survey Data Summary: Faculty
2008 Survey Data Summary: Teaching Assistants
2008 Survey Data Summary: Students

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

In order for the University of Washington (UW) to provide essential technology resources and services that meet the changing needs of the UW community, it is vital to gather reliable information about evolving trends. To this end Learning & Scholarly Technologies partnered with other UW Technology units, UW Libraries, UW Teaching Academy, the Office of Information Management, the Faculty Council on Educational Technology, the School of Medicine, and the Office of Educational Assessment (OEA) to survey faculty, teaching assistants (TAs), and students in spring 2008 about their technology use and needs. This is our third triennial survey on this topic.

The data we share in this report reveal the complexities of technology and support needs at the UW, going beyond the personal anecdotes which can often dominate technology discussions. This report will be valuable to anyone who wishes to increase their understanding of technology use and users’ needs. We summarize key findings below.

  • Uniformity of Current Technology Use—We specifically designed the survey to help us capture differences in technology use. We found that technology use was much more uniform than we had anticipated: a few technologies were widely used across contexts and goals, while others were seldom used.

  • The Need for Infrastructure Improvements—The highest priorities for faculty, TAs, and students involved infrastructure. Improvements to classroom equipment and wireless access were at the top of the list for all populations. Students also prioritized enhancements to campus computer labs. 

  • Point-of-Need Support—Faculty, TAs, and students all relied on sources of support that were available at the point of need. They first looked to knowledgeable peers for support then to online resources. These sources of support were among the most consistently used by all respondents and the sources rated as the most helpful.

  • Integrated and Flexible Online Technology—Faculty and TAs desired greater integration of online tools and aggregation of information about available tools and resources.  Technologies supported centrally at the UW need to integrate easily with each other, as well as with other online tools or department-created solutions—since there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution to meeting faculty, TAs, and students’ technology needs.

  • Unique Needs of Faculty, TAs, and Students—There were specific areas where faculty, TAs, and students had unique needs and support challenges. The main challenge going forward in supporting faculty in their use of learning and scholarly technologies is how to help them better understand their options and opportunities with the technologies available to them. For TAs, it is important to support them while they are at the UW, while simultaneously helping them develop technological knowledge that can transfer to other settings.  The main challenge in student support involves understanding how they are using technologies, particularly emerging ones, to support their learning.

The data we share in the final report both confirm and challenge conventional beliefs about technology use. Our discussion reveals the complexities of technology and support needs at the UW, going beyond the personal anecdotes which can often dominate technology discussions. We briefly outline the history of the surveys, describe our methods, share key findings, and discuss the implications of this data for the UW. We not only compare faculty, TA, and students’ responses across all three surveys, but also explore differences in technology use based on discipline, technological expertise, demographics, and experience. In our conclusion, we identify unmet needs, highlight trends in the data that go against conventional wisdom, and point out needs for centralized or departmental services. This report will be valuable to anyone who wishes to increase their understanding of technology use and users’ needs.











2008 Surveys Report

 

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