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Report: Digital Use Up Among College Students

A survey conducted by CourseSmart and fielded by Wakefield Research has found significant use of technology and social media by college students.

Five-hundred college students from ages 18 to 23 participated in the survey from April 30 to May 8. The students were invited by email and completed the survey online.

Survey results show that 98 percent of respondents have used their devices for school-related purposes, and 53 percent use e-books. In addition, 90 percent reported that it takes less time to study with the use of mobile devices, e-readers, and digital textbooks.

"The survey underscores the undeniable influence technology has on today's college experience. As technology continues to evolve and digital devices become integral to the evolution of higher education, it's encouraging to see the positive impact on learning outcomes as students utilize advanced devices and digital course materials to streamline and improve their learning environment," said Sean Devine, CEO of CourseSmart.

Other results of the survey include:

  • On average, most students surveyed said they use three devices on a daily basis;
  • Forty percent of respondents said they use digital technology at least every 10 minutes, and 67 percent said they use technology at least every hour;
  • When it comes to reading, fifty-one percent of students surveyed said they are more likely to bring a laptop, and 39 percent a print textbook;
  • Of those who said they save time with technology, 68 percent said they saved two or more hours daily, and 14 percent said they saved at least five hours;
  • Fifty-one percent said they were more likely to complete reading assignments on time if they used digital devices instead of print; and
  • Seventy-nine percent have speedily searched for information on a mobile device immediately before an exam.

Other survey findings include more respondents taking online courses at 58 percent, with 96 percent having taken traditional courses that include online elements. Seventy-nine percent have handed in assignments online, and 71 percent have taken Web-based tests and quizzes.

Students and teachers are also communicating more with the help of social media tools, according to the survey. Eighteen percent of students reported teachers sent them information through Facebook. In addition, 78 percent said they have received updates from professors via learning management systems or student portals. Eighty-four percent said they have had access to their class syllabuses online.

"As we look forward, we will continue to see technology incorporated into even the most traditional of college experiences and classes. Within this new digital learning environment, students will have access to their entire higher education network, including social, grades, quizzes, textbooks, and other course materials, in the palm of their hands," added Devine.

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About the Author

Tim Sohn is a 10-year veteran of the news business, having served in capacities from reporter to editor-in-chief of a variety of publications including Web sites, daily and weekly newspapers, consumer and trade magazines, and wire services. He can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @editortim.

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