Center for Teaching, Learning & Engagement

@ Glendale Community College, Glendale, Arizona, USA

How important is technology to your students?

  • Blended-learning environments are the norm; students say that these environments best support how they learn.
  • Students want to access academic progress information and course material via their mobile devices, and institutions deliver.
  • Technology training and skill development for students is more important than new, more, or “better” technology.
  • Students use social networks for interacting with friends more than for academic communication.

The ECAR report is clear that students are using technology (86% own a laptop and 62% own a smartphone) and that they feel technology is vital to their academic success, but it also differentiates what type of technology and methods students feel are most effective. Building on these findings, here are some of the recommendations from ECAR:

  • Look to emerging or established leaders for strategies to deliver instruction and curricular content to tablets and smartphones.
  • Prioritize the development of mobile-friendly resources and activities that students say are important: access to course websites and syllabi, course and learning management systems, and academic progress reports (i.e., grades).
  • Bridge the gap between the technologies that have seen the greatest growth (e-portfolios, e-books/e-textbooks, and web-based citation/bibliographic tools) and students’ attitudes about their importance. Focus training/skill-building opportunities for students, professional development opportunities for faculty, and support service opportunities on these emerging technologies.
  • Use e-mail and the course and learning management system for formal communication with students. Experiment with text messaging and instant messaging/online chatting, and don’t focus efforts on using social networks and telephone conversations to interact with students.

The ECAR report is a great way to better understand the technology needs and expectations of students. Read the report and review the accompanying infographic to understand what you can do to help connect and engage with students in the most effective way.

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