Research

Survey: Half of Faculty Have Used Digital Coursware, but Cost and Time Remain Obstacles

More than half, 54 percent, of faculty used digital courseware in the 2013-2014 school year, according to a new survey, "Faculty Perspectives on Courseware," from Tyton Partners. Almost as many, 52 percent, told researchers they value its potential impact.

The largest barrier to adoption of digital courseware was "additional time required for faculty," with 40 percent of respondents citing it as an obstacle. Among different types of institutions, additional time for faculty was still the top barrier for public and private four-year institutions. Faculty respondents at two-year institutions rated it the second biggest barrier to adoption, with "additional cost to students" grabbing the top spot. Worries about the efficacy of digital courseware was also a major barrier to adoption, cited by 26 percent of all respondents as a concern.

Other key findings of the report include:

  • 60 percent of faculty respondents said they are encouraged to use digital courseware;
  • Only 30 percent of those surveyed said they were trained and only 15 percent said they were incentivized to use digital courseware;
  • "In open-ended answers faculty members pointed to an institutional prioritization of research in their field over spending time on using new tools in the classroom," according to a news release;
  • The areas of greatest dissatisfaction with digital courseware were ease of customization, efficiency or impact on the instructor's time and the lack of interoperability with existing systems; and
  • The areas respondents were most likely to express satisfaction were grading functionality, content coverage and assessment tools.

"These results are a microcosm of the larger disconnect between campuses and companies serving the postsecondary market. The continued pursuit of increasing efficacy and delivering successful student outcomes is critical to the evolution of digital courseware, but it is also evident that faculty members want tools that are easier to implement and customize," said Gates Bryant, partner at Tyton Partners, in a prepared statement. "The channels of communication between faculty members, administrators, and suppliers should be open and clear; this is the most effective way to develop courseware tools and resources that better meet the needs of stakeholders in the classroom."

Compiled from surveys of more than 2,700 faculty and administration members, the report is the first of three. The full report is available at tytonpartners.com.

About the Author

Joshua Bolkan is contributing editor for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe. He can be reached at jbolkan@gmail.com.

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