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Educause 2023 Students and Tech Report Emphasizes Choice and Accessibility

Educause recently released its "2023 Students and Technology Report: Flexibility, Choice, and Equity in the Student Experience," which looks at findings in three key areas: how to support students living on- and off-campus, how students shape their higher education based on market pressures, and how accessibility impacts student education choices.

The report asks what it means to be a student now in light of emerging from a global pandemic and uncertainties around how worldwide political and economic factors affect student choices. It also focuses on where technology comes into those choices to help students move forward in their career plans.

Data is based on responses from 1,953 students across 10 United States institutions. Three main themes emerged: educational location (i.e., on- versus off-campus residence); how much choice students have in their educational path; and accessibility of education for students with disabilities and other impediments.

Key findings around these considerations include:

  • Students' technology experiences relate to internet accessibility;
  • Off-campus students prefer more online and hybrid education modalities, while those on-campus prefer those onsite;
  • Ethical considerations of various modalities and the ability to choose are important to students;
  • Hybrid courses are more satisfying to students when they get to choose them; and
  • Students with disabilities need more technology supports from their institutions, based on the type of disability.

Roughly the same number of on- and off-campus students were "satisfied," "very satisfied" or "neutral" about technology supports (85% on-campus versus 91% off-campus). But surprisingly, the number varies dramatically with regard to internet service quality for on-campus versus off-campus students. Those on-campus (68%) are "dissatisfied" or "very dissatisfied" (with many complaints about wi-fi service), while those off-campus (72%) are "satisfied" or "very satisfied."

The report recommends that higher education institutions take the following steps:

  • Listen to students;
  • Develop a hybrid learning policy if there isn't one already; and
  • Create a plan with short-, mid-, and long-term actions to prepare for future trends and changes in higher education, especially regarding how technology may shape it.

The report can be found at this Educause publications page.

About the Author

Kate Lucariello is a former newspaper editor, EAST Lab high school teacher and college English teacher.

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