ECAR has released a study, Students and Information Technology, 2005: Convenience, Connection, Control, and Learning, and while I think they use too many commas in their study title, the Key Findings and Roadmap provide good overviews of the study.
Among the more interesting findings in the study is that “most students prefer a moderate amount of technology in their courses.” The age breakdown for this preference is a bit interesting:
Surprisingly, the youngest students in the study (18- to 19-year olds) have the least preference for IT in courses (mean of 2.86 where 1 represents courses with no IT and 5 represents courses that use IT exclusively). The 30-39 age group has the strongest preference for the use of IT in courses (mean of 3.25). Seniors have a greater preference for IT in their courses than do freshman. (Roadmap, pages 2-3)
The other big takeaway from the study is that everybody loves course management systems. Well, 75%, which is close to everybody. What do students like most about CMS?
- Tracking of grades on assignments and tests, and accessing sample exams and quizes.
- Course administration – accessing course syllabi, turning in assignments online, getting assignments back from instructors, accessing online readings, and taking exams online. (Roadmap, page 3)
I guess I'm surprised at the way the study broke those two items down. It seems to read that students like CMS for 1) grades and 2) all the other features that a CMS might contain. But it is good to see these kinds of results in the survey.
We've been experiencing exponential use of Blackboard at Richmond this semester, with each week generating new highs in page view activity. We're experiencing almost twice as many page views this semester as we were in the spring. So somebody is enjoying something about CMS.